Andrea’s Story

Site created on April 29, 2018

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Journal entry by Casey Linn

Looking back on the weeks and days that have brought us to the point of the Breast Cancer Diagnosis, it seems like a life time ago, but yet seems so recent as well, what a very mind boggling time to say the least.

Here is the back story to the past month of our life:

End of March, I was preparing to return to work on April 9th following my extended maternity leave due to Grace's premature birth at 34 weeks. That is a whole other story, but we are thankful she is thriving and up to 14lbs already! :)

When this whole thing began:

Cody found a lump in my left breast on March 19, 2018. We immediately called the doctor's office and had an appointment two days later. At that time they believed it was mastitis due to breastfeeding Grace. That same day, I was sent to the breast diagnostic center to have an ultrasound, which came back as "just dense breast tissue." After that, I was on antibiotics for 10 days. After the course of antibiotics was over, the lump continues to grow. We called the doctor's office back, they put me on ten more days of antibiotics. I had a second follow up appointment on April 23rd and the following day they sent me to Parkview Breast Cancer Center, where they did a biopsy of my lump. On April 26th at 4:00 pm Cody received the call confirming that I had breast cancer. That evening we were surrounded by our parents and sat in disbelief as to how this could happen to our family.

The following day, I went to work. I had a field trip planned for my students and I did not want to miss it. We had a wonderful day. I spent the afternoon at the ad building talking to HR and filling out necessary paperwork to be off the remainder of the school year.

Cody went to work on that Saturday and I went to dinner with students and staff for Prom. Sunday was spent as a family at the zoo and trying to wrap our brain around this new path our family has been put on.

Monday April 30th, 2018 in the morning I had an MRI and in the evening our sweet baby Grace was baptized in our home surrounded by family, friends, and our Pastor Jim. We also received communion. Pastor Jim and those who attended prayed over me for God to heal my body from this cancer. What an amazing experience it was.

Tuesday May 1st we had a PET scan and met with Stephanie our Nurse Practitioner with the breast center to discuss the findings of the MRI and PET scan. We found out that the cancer was contained to the left side of my body and was possibly in my lymph nodes as well. A future biopsy would give us those answers.

Wednesday May 2nd we met with Dr. Szwed the oncologist to find out the plan of action. The plan is chemo for 20 weeks, surgery to remove my left breast, then radiation to follow. After that appointment we had our genetic testing done to decide a better course of treatment for myself and our girls. Those results won't be back for 3-4 weeks. That evening I hosted my very own hair cutting party. I made the decision to cut my hair off and have it made into a wig before it fell out on its own. It was a wonderful but emotional evening surrounded by so many amazing women. Three words came to my mind when I thought about the night and they were Happy, Honored, and Humbled. It was such a blessing to be surrounded by so many amazing women during this very difficult first physical change, this was the first outwardly sign of my cancer diagnosis. When I saw myself for the first time, it was a lot to take in. Thankfully Cody and Claire love the new cut and it is slowly growing on me as well. :)

Thursday May 3rd, I had my port placed. It was a lot more painful than I expected, but praise God we made it through.

Friday May 4th, I had an ECHO of my heart to make sure it was strong enough to start chemo. I passed with flying colors and was able to start chemo that same day. Little did I know that I would have to attend chemo school. I am used to teaching and not being taught. There was a lot of information to take in, but we feel that we have a good grasp on things, so far!

Saturday & Sunday were spent at home relaxing. The fatigue and nausea started to set in, but staying up on medications has proven to be the key to feeling a little better. Tomorrow we go for our next biopsy to see if the cancer has spread into my lymph nodes, please pray it has not moved too far up into my left side.

Love you all,

The Brooks'
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