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8/8/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I am using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. I really appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement on my journey. Thank you for visiting. Please check in often and become part of my "Team VWills." VWills is the nick-name which my CATF colleague Gaby gave me earlier this year.
DISCOVERY. On Monday, July 24, 2017, following a sequence of appointments involving mammograms, diagnostic ultrasounds, and two types of breast biopsies (ultrasound-guided needle biopsy, right breast, and a stereotactic breast biopsy, left breast) which took place between July 7 and July 20, I was informed that I have breast cancer: the type, carcinoma. The medical jargon: Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) of left breast, and a Malignant neoplasm (10 mm tumor/lump) infiltrating mammary carcinoma with lobular features, grade 2, of right breast. As I have described this time in conversations, while the amazing make-believe drama was taking place on the stages of the Contemporary American Theater Festival during our 2017 Season, the Summer of Six, during the month of July, I had some 'real-life drama' taking place behind the scenes. Having the support and concern of family, my co-workers, and my duties at the Festival, I was able to live in day-tight compartments and take all of the steps necessary to make the discovery of my diagnosis.
CARE. What does this mean? The cancer has been found early; Stage 2 in right breast and Stage Zero (contained area) in my left breast. However, with the size of the tumor in my right breast, and the large calcification area in my left, I must have a bi-lateral mastectomy (or, double mastectomy) possibly followed by radiation treatments. The scary unknown part is whether or not any of the microscopic cancer cells have found their way out of my right breast into other areas of my body i.e. lymph nodes. One lymph node is slightly enlarged, however the complete answer to this question can only be known during the surgery through biopsy samples will be taken and tested during the procedure. If more needs to be done, I have complete and total trust in my surgeon to do what she believes is best for me based on her many years of experience. "Prayer Warriors" are already lifting me, my doctors, and my family, up during this time. I appreciate all of this care and concern for me, for Sue, my mom and our boys "Mattie" and "Scooter" (our Dachshund pups).
BELIEVE. Following my surgery, a period of recovery and healing over several months, and an ongoing care plan, I am going to be fine. I am going to live! I am so blessed! My survival rate is basically 100%. I'm going to be around for years and years. My Care Team will be helping me with medications, along with diet, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. And, the prayers, positive thoughts, and concern which you have for me will also play a huge part in my healing and recovery as I live through this time and in the months and years to come.