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12/7/2016 Latest post:
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I am using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. I appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Everyone wants to know how I discovered I have cancer. Sorry if parts of this feel like TMI, but it helps to understand my story!:
I'd been experiencing perio menopause with the usual irregular menstrual cycles, i.e. 9 months without one, then 6 with, etc. On the first day of getting my cycle after having gone without one for 7 months, I noticed that my breasts filled up with an unusual amount of lumps. I didn't worry about this because I'd always had fiber cystic breasts which basically means that my breasts would fill up each month with various sized lumps that would clear out each month when I got my cycle. This particular time I did notice that some of the lumps were unusually large and they were very tender. So I watched them over the next couple of months and all but one went away. The one left was quite large and was actually changing the appearance of my breast, which was ultimately what made me suspicious. So I made an appointment with my OBGYN on Oct. 28th. After her exam she made an immediate appointment for me on Nov. 2nd to have a 3D Mammography and any additional tests, such as a biopsy, if it was needed, and it was. On November 7, my OBGYN called me in to let me know it was cancer. By November 9th, I had my first meeting with my surgeon, Dr. Phillip Sutton, and he arranged for me to meet with my Oncologist, Dr. Anna Belcheva, the following week. On, November 22nd, I had my port put in and then the following week I had lots of tests run to make sure there was no cancer in my lungs, liver or bones. I'm glad to say, there is none! December 2nd was my first chemo treatment.
Here are some facts about my type of cancer:
- I have triple positive invasive ductile carcinoma. This means I tested positive to progesterone, estrogen and HER2 . According to the Drs., this is the most treatable type of cancer, and therefore, the best kind to have. TO GOD BE THE GLORY! Testing positive in any of these areas means that the cells will respond to the treatments they have available. A person can test triple negative, and still be treatable, but it is much more complex and can involve trying different treatments to see which one will work (IF any) vs. KNOWING which ones will work.
- I signed up to be in a clinical trial in which they are testing to see if a drug that has been given in the past to only patients with stage 4 cancer could also be beneficial to those with a lesser stage. My stage cancer is somewhere between a 2B-3A. There is absolutely no risk in this trial, only benefits. I'm thrilled that I was selected to be in this study. Again, praise to Him from whom ALL blessings flow. The selection is done randomly by a computer (and a little help from the man upstairs!). The test drug is known to be milder and less harsh when it comes to side effects (yea!). I'm even told I may get to keep my eyebrows and eyelashes (wahoo!) This drug also decreases my chances of ever getting this cancer again.
- I will have 2 rounds of chemo 3 weeks apart, then on the third treatment (week 6), I will begin getting treatment once a week for the next 12 weeks straight. Once I complete that, I will have my lumpectomy surgery. After that I will have 12 weeks straight of radiation and continue on with an oral pill of chemo for the next 9 months. At the end of this complete year I will continue on with an oral treatment for the next 10 years.
- Lastly, I have total peace about this. I have all faith in the Mighty Healer. Doesn't mean I won't have days that I would rather altogether skip, but I know He allowed this to happen to me for a reason.