Welcome to my journey!
“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” Matthew 14:27
Pink has always been my favorite color. I have always been a HUGE advocate to all my friends to stay current with their mammograms and self breast exams. And now I know why!
This post is the detail of my journey so far and I will continue to update throughout the days.
Last summer, I found a lump in my breast. Now let me reiterate, I am ALWAYS on time with mammograms. In fact I have a mammogram every February, my birthday month.
Due to insurance concerns, I had to be referred to a breast specialist. I saw Dr. Liu in October and she examined me and was not overly concerned and thought this lump was a harmless cyst. So I quit obsessing about it. She sent me to get a 3D mammogram/mammogram/ultrasound. I waited to do this until January, yes, again for insurance purposes. On January 15th, I went for all my testing. After 2 hours of fun boob squishing, the radiologist came into the room and told me I have a small solid mass that needed a biopsy. On January 19th I had a core needle biopsy where the radiologist removed three specimens to test. The next week of waiting was very stressful. I went from knowing that God is control and I will be fine to the extremes of what will I do if I have cancer? Why me? This continued back and forth for the entire week until January 25th when I received the call from Dr. Liu.
And then she said the words. I have invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 2, stage I. I was immediately sick to my stomach. I have no history of breast cancer in my family. How am I going to tell Dennis? And even more worrisome, how was I going to tell my children? Ugh! The worst feeling ever!
Dr. Liu explained to me that if you were going to get cancer, this is the best one to get. Huh?? I DON’T WANT TO HAVE CANCER AT ALL!!!
I immediately went that day to give blood to have my BRCA genes tested. The BRCA is a genetic mutation in genes that help control normal cell growth. Changes in these genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 can help determine your chance of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. These tests take three weeks to return, so once again, I am in the middle of a waiting game. My tumor is a hormone hungry tumor and feeds on estrogen and progesterone. I will be on a hormone blocker the rest of my life. When I start this, it will immediately throw me into menopause. At 47. Oh yay.
On January 29th, I had a breast MRI to make sure the cancer has not spread. Thank God it has not spread and there is just one tumor! On January 31st, we met with a Tumor Board. The Tumor Board is comprised of a radiologist, radiation oncologist, oncologist, plastic surgeon, and general surgeon. Dr. Liu presented my case to the board and they discussed the findings to determine my best plan of care. We had the opportunity to meet each of the physicians and ask any questions we had. What a stressful day this was!
On February 2nd, we met yet again with Dr. Liu to discuss everything. As we walked into the Arizona Center for Cancer Care, all I could think of is why the HE** am I here?? This is all just a bad dream, right? I am too young to have cancer! I just want to go back to my normal life! I am too healthy for this! I workout 4-5 days per week! I play tennis 3-4 days per week! And I run! I eat healthy (for the most part), I drink lots of water, I drink red wine (good for your heart, right?!). Cancer doesn’t care. Cancer does not discriminate and pick unhealthy people.
We spent 1-1/2 hours with Dr. Liu and Dr. Chen (my radiation oncologist) to discuss everything and we have a tentative plan!
On March 8th, I am scheduled for a lumpectomy and lymph node dissection. She will sample the sentinel nodes in my armpit to make sure the cancer has not spread. The tumor will be removed and sent to pathology to make sure the margins are clear, along with the lymph nodes to make sure there are no signs of cancer under the microscope. Approximately 2-3 weeks after surgery, I will undergo brachytherapy, which will be radiation that will be administered from the inside out. I will receive radiation twice daily for 5 days.
As long as my BRCA testing is negative, my tumor has clean edges, and my lymph nodes are negative, I should not need chemotherapy! Hallelujah! I get to keep my hair!
I am feeling fine physically. Mentally a million thoughts go through my head, but I have to remember to focus on my faith in God. My prognosis is great and I will fully recover and survive to help others. I FULLY believe that God will use this trial for good. Already this past week five friends have gotten or scheduled their mammograms. How awesome is that?! All because of my story!
I am sharing this with you to ask for prayers as I believe there is immense power in friends and family and those you don’t even know who are praying for you! So please, share my story, go get your mammogram if you are due, and pay attention to your body. This is what saved me and brought me to where I am today!
Thank God for the support of my rock, Dennis, and the amazing love I feel surrounded by my family friends. I know God’s got my back and I will fully recover! Best thing is…I can wear pink every day now and wear it proud!
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Love you all!
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28