As some of you may or may not know...my sister Tammy Paar has been through a whirlwind lately being very recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Read on- love life and stay positive! She has 2 amazing young daughters! I gloat i have 2 amazing nieces! We ask that nobody places donations by this website as it at times prompts you to.
To keep everybody in the loop and bring people up to speed this is where we are at. This is to help give her time to digest everything and me time to set up a caring bridge. We have good-ish news!
On august 8th Tammy received her official diagnosis. She has stage 3a invasive ductal carcinoma. What does this mean? It means there are 4 stages of cancer with sub stages. Stage 3 has lymph node involvement. Invasive means its not contained and it grows and spreads. Her cancer tumour is in her left breast and many lymph nodes in her under arm are also affected. The news we wanted to hear was presented to us. Tammy had a PET scan on Friday. Thiswas to see if the cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes to her organs. Her cancer according to the PET scan has not reached her organs. This was very good news. And as scary her diagnosis is already- was the news we wanted to hear.
Tammy cancer is her2 positive. This means it grows aggressively with the estrogen that is produced in her body. Tammy's body is very good at producing estrogen- so good that her cancer will do to rapidly grow and invade other parts of her body without treatment.
There are many treatment drugs out there. We are confident at this point in her doctors care plan. They are treating her cancer aggressively. This week Tammy will have a port put in and will start chemo next week. She will receive 8 weeks of chemo - 1 session every other week. This is called neoadjuvant (before surgery)she will receive adriamycin and cytoxan and some other items. After that she will then move into phase 2 of her treatment which consit of 3 cycles of anti her2 agents.That portion will be 9 weeks. After the final chemo infusion she will then have surgery to remove what is left of her tumour. She will also have the cancer invaded lymph nodes removed- she has many enlarged amd invaded (only on 1 side). No we do not know if just the mass or her breast will be removed. We are focusing on how she reacts to treatment before that road is crossed or the doctors make that decision.
After surgery Tammy will start radiation therapy. From there she will have cycles of additional treatment every 3 weeks for a year and then will need to take a medication for the next 10 years (antiestrogen) to keep her body safe from potential reoccurance.
Our largest risk is making sure she remains healthy while doing her chemo. Chemo can lower blood counts which makes your immune system weakened. Then of coarse the scare and risk of immediate or later reinsurance and the whole 1% chance of the chemo causing leukemia afterwards.
We are very hopeful of the news as scary as it sounds. The outlook suggests good news! This process will take at least a year. As great as this news was and as scary it has been Tammy is defiantly taking time to digest everything. As her sister I am looking forward to drawing a smiley face on her bald head as she will start losing her hair after the 1st-2nd treatment. I already have my marker ready. We had many many laughs yesterday even after all of this.
I will start a caring bridge soon so family and friends can follow her journey towards being a breast cancer survivor. Although the news was much better then expected (even her doctor stated he was surprised it wasn't in her organs or stage 4) we are not out of the woods yet- future does look good though due to great medical treatment and our own and her own outlook on the diagnosis. Of coarse prayers are welcome, however we also encourage positivity and laughter. So keep tears to a minimum- there isn't a need as they at times hinder Positivity. Positivity and laughter makes a person strong along with prayer and inner peace and acceptance.
Here's to the next year!!!!
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