April 15, 2017
Dear Family and Friends,
Today TW and I had an appointment in the radiology department. In the very beginning of my appointments at MDA and before they had biopsied the “suspicious” lymph node, my team of doctors thought that I was Stage 0. They were basing it off of information from my previous mammogram from another hospital. At that time, my team of doctors thought that I was Stage O – DCIS with large amounts of calcifications, meaning noninvasive cancer. I briefly met the radiologist at my first appointment, but I did not think I would be meeting with him again due to information from my first mammogram.
So my appointment was called radiologist “consultation”. In my mind, I was thinking are we going to talk with the doctor about radiation being a possibility or has the decision already been made? According from what I was told in the beginning, radiation is not needed unless 4 lymph nodes or more are involved. I had 2 lymph nodes that were involved.
TW and I are sitting in the waiting area and are called back to meet with the nurse. She asks me the standard questions to see how I am doing and proceeds to say that she is going to show us the radiation video. After she leaves the room, I ask TW for a tissue. In my mind, I was thinking that this “consultation” was where a decision would be made, not that the decision had already been made. Guess I was HOPEFUL, that radiation was not necessary. Continue reading “The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 7”
April 13, 2017
Dear Friends and Family,
TW and I attended appointments yesterday at MDA. When you are at an MDA, consider it a “Most of the Day” event going from appointment to appointment, seeing one doctor after another and doing one test after another. Yesterday was not different…. I started my morning off with an echocardiogram to check my heart to make sure that it is ok to receive chemo treatments. I also went to the Infusion Therapy Center where I learned all about the port that I will be having surgery for to receive chemo from. When the PA saw that I still had all of my drains in from surgery, she said that my port surgery and chemo would be delayed. I need to have all of my drains out before they will do anything. Next, I headed over to the plastic surgery department “plastics” (as MDA calls it) to talk to them about my drains and a problem that I was having with one of them leaking. The last appointment of the day was with my oncologist. I really love my oncologist, she is so positive and does a great job explaining things. I have the most common type of breast cancer, 100% estrogen-receptor- positive. I am progesterone-receptor-negative, and HER2-negative. I will receive Taxol weekly for 12 weeks and AC every 2 weeks for 4 treatments. My port operation and first chemo treatment will now be on April 28th. I am HOPEFULE that the drains will be out soon, considering I have had them for over 3 weeks.
DRAINS, DRAINS, GO AWAY!!!
Anchored in HOPE,
Pictured above: The beautiful red roses are from my friend, LB and her family. She knows me well, red roses are my favorite flower!
It is important to take one day at a time when you are diagnosed with breast cancer. Learn about the diagnosis. Find doctors and medical facilities that suite your needs and get second or third opinions. You are going to be spending time with the doctors and you need to find a good fit between you and your doctors.
Also, surround yourself with positivity. When you are surrounded with positive people in your life, they can help you when facing your breast cancer diagnosis and treatments. You may find yourself going through many different emotions that are similar to the grieving process when first being diagnosed and throughout treatment. Continue reading “Tip #2 Take One Day at a Time and Tip #3 Surround Yourself with Positivity”
One of the most important things that I can tell anyone going through breast cancer or any hardship in life is that a Support System is KEY. It is important to develop your support system and lean on them when needed. If you know someone that is experiencing breast cancer, offer to help in anyway that you can, it will be greatly appreciated. Even sending a simple text message to the person lets them know that you are thinking about them. Sending cards in the mail is also very thoughtful. Gift cards to restaurants, flowers, balloons, etc. are all nice gestures that show someone that you are there for them during this difficult time in their life.
Continue reading “TIP #1 Anchored in Support”
March 30, 2017
Dear Friends & Family,
I’ve been recovering for about 1 week, after a successful surgery. I had my first doctor’s appointment yesterday. During surgery, the doctors tested a “suspicious” lymph node (that they originally identified during my mammogram), which they confirmed was cancerous. They only tested the suspicious node during surgery, and over the next 7 days, ran pathology on the other lymph nodes that were removed during surgery. The result was 2 out of the 29 lymph nodes that were removed contained cancer.
The pathology was also run on the removed breast tissue, and the doctors found 2 small invasive tumors (~1 cm each). The tumors in the breast can best be described as “ground zero”, before getting into the 2 lymph nodes. Having this confirmation is a huge relief, because going into surgery the doctors were not able to see invasive cancer in the breast, therefore they weren’t able to explain how it could have gotten into the “suspicious” lymph node.
Continue reading “The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 5”
This BLOG is about BREAST CANCER AWARENESS UNDER THE AGE OF 40 and advocating for yourself to get a baseline mammogram. Early detection is crucial especially for women under the age of 40. Fewer than 5 percent of women in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer under the age of 40. Yes, it is a small percentage, but YOU could be part of that percentage, I am. Often times, women under the age of 40 may have false positives or dense breast tissue, but it is better to know that in advance and monitor changes when you receive a mammogram again when you are 40 years old. If you are over the age of 40, please get a mammogram.
My whole breast cancer diagnosis is somewhat surreal and I still cannot believe that I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36 with no signs or symptoms. Breast cancer does not run in my family. The reason that I had my first baseline mammogram was because a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 36. I thought to myself, I should probably get my baseline mammogram to check things out on my own.
My husband was going to be out of town on Saturday, January 12, 2017, so I thought, that sounds like a great day to get a mammogram! I scheduled my appointment online and that was that, so I thought… I needed to get my gynocologist to sign off on the papers for my scheduled mammogram. I spoke with the Nurse Practitioner and she asked, “Have you noticed any lumps or changes in your breasts.” and my answer was “NO.” She also asked, “Does breast cancer run in your family.” and my answer was “NO.” The Nurse Practitioner said that the Gyncologist doesn’t usually recommend a patient getting a mammogram unless they have answered yes to the questions that she had asked me.
Continue reading “The Three Words You Never Want To Hear…”
The surgery was a success! The surgery lasted about 5 hours with reconstruction surgery being the last portion. The anesthesia took awhile to wear off. In the meantime as my anesthesia wore off, I would bound and determined to see my friend TM who was at MDA receiving chemotherapy. My mom and husband came to my bedside, but all I kept saying was, “I want to see TM! Where is TM?” TM did eventually come in the room after her chemo treatment to visit me and I know that we had a great conversation. 😉
Because I was still feeling the effects of the anesthesia, my husband wrote an email to update everyone on how things went…
Continue reading “The Anchor 💗⚓️💗 – Edition 4”