Archive | April, 2012

Things floating around in my head…

27 Apr

I’m supposed to journal for therapy.  So, I’m going to journal tonight.  Forgive me if I seem a little emotional today.

I want to write a little bit about what is going on in my head so that later after this is over I can look back and see how God worked it all out.  Also, so I may be able to answer questions that someone going through the same thing might also have.

Unfortunately, I broke down a little and cried for awhile today.  I was by myself so I didn’t subject Kevan to my outburst.  I know it is okay to cry, but I don’t like to if I can help it.  lol!  I’m not sure if it is knowing that I have bilateral breast cancer (cancer in both breasts) or if it is just getting closer to my surgery date and I’m getting scared.  It could also be that I’m just emotional today because I’m a girl and some days we just cry for no reason.  Being a girl is no fun sometimes.  I also made the mistake of “researching” and saw some pictures of “after” photos that I wish I could erase from my brain.  Then, I followed that up by reading about the prognosis of those with bilateral breast cancer and it is not so good.  I haven’t been able to meet with my doctor yet to talk to him about it.  My appointment is Monday morning.  I prayed and Kevan prayed for me too.  I’m feeling a little better.

Questions in my head:

  1. Will I have to have a sentinel node biopsy on both sides now that there is cancer on both sides?
  2. I read (I know…stop researching) that if they have to take lymph nodes out of both sides that I will have to have my blood pressure and blood drawn out of my leg/foot!  REALLY????  Um….no!
  3. What am I going to look like when I wake up from surgery?
  4. What am I going to look like 6 weeks post surgery?
  5. Will Kevan be okay with my new look?
  6. How bad will my scarring be?
  7. Will I have withdrawal from the drugs they give me for pain relief?
  8. How long will I have to take pain meds?  Anyone that knows me knows I HATE taking medication. Even for a headache.
  9. Does my staging change since I have it on both sides?
I had to create a calendar in Word today just so I can keep track of all of my appointments.  I can’t believe how many trips I’m going to have to take to Nashville. I meet with my surgeon again on Monday, followed by the physical therapist.  The PT wants to measure my arms and my range of motion to make sure that post-op I can get back to where I was before.  I’m glad they are so thorough.
Also, Baptist Hospital has a pre-op breast cancer class that we will be attending next Friday.  I’m taking Kevan and my mom with me.  The class will go over what to expect after surgery, how to take care of my drains, exercises and explain any community services that are available.  Afterward, they will even measure me for my free post-op garment that I will wear home (insurance will pay for it!  Blessing!).  I guess it even has pockets to hold my drains.  I can’t wait to have drains.  NOT!  I am dreading it.
I had a very sweet friend call me today from Florida just to pray with me.  She said she doesn’t know why God gave me cancer in both breasts, but she knows that He has a plan and it is a good plan.  I agree.  I know He has a plan and even though I need to go through this and at times it is scary He is with me.  It is comforting to know that I am part of His plan.  Whatever it might be.  2 verses that are giving me comfort tonight.

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
 
Jeremiah 17:14 – Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

While I’m typing this…this is what my kitty is doing.  Do you know how hard it is to type when you have a cat laying on one of your arms.  lol!  Isn’t he so sweet?  His name is Partly.  Long story on his name….maybe I’ll go into it in another post.  We took him home from Lowes way back when he was a kitten.  Yup, Lowes, the Home Improvement store.  The guys that worked there helped us catch him.  He had been living under the wood pallets outside.  Now, he is spoiled rotten and pretty chubby.


PET Scan Results! The Good and the Bad News.

25 Apr

Well, the doctor already called me with my PET scan results.  He was on his way to the airport so I REALLY appreciate that he took the time to call me.  I’m praying God blesses him today for being so kind to me.
The good news is that he didn’t see anything “light up” in my lymph nodes, organs or bones!  Hallelujah!  I am so happy to hear this.  Thank you all for your prayers!  This is wonderful news!  I will still have to have the sentinel node biopsy because the PET scan only shows a certain amount of cancer cells so they still need to make sure there are NO cancer cells in my lymph nodes.  Even a small amount.
The bad news is that the new lump I found in my other breast lit up on the test.  So, he believes it is also cancer.  He said this is VERY strange and that this rarely happens that someone will have cancer in both breasts.  It confirms our decision to have the bilateral mastectomy though.  He also said that they will want to determine if it is the same type of cancer or a different form.  Also, I may have to have a sentinel node biopsy on the left side too.  They are going to test the new lump tissue first though to make sure it is cancer before they remove any lymph nodes on that side too.  I am really anxious about having my lymph nodes removed, but he said because I’m thin I shouldn’t have any issues.  But, there are still a few lifestyle changes that will have to be introduced once they remove them (wearing a compression sleeve when I fly, arm exercises, wearing gloves when working outside, etc).
Also, the right breast (the one that they initially found cancer in) also lit up.  So, some cancer may have been left behind after my lumpectomy or it could be from the healing process.  He wasn’t sure.  They will be biopsying all tissue though so we will know for sure after my surgery on 5/8.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR PRAYERS!!  God answered them!!  I am VERY happy that no other cancer “lit up” on the scan.  I barely slept last night thinking about it.  Tonight, I will sleep well.  God is so good to me!

Oncologist and PET Scan Day!

24 Apr
We went to visit the oncologist today.  He answered all of the questions I had written down.  Which was great.  He said the reason he wanted to meet with me before the surgery was to talk over why I chose the bilateral mastectomy instead of the lumpectomy.  It was nice that he wanted to make sure I chose this option after a lot of thought and not flippantly because of fear.  He has some patients that do it (that are my age) and do not opt for reconstruction.  I can’t imagine not having reconstruction and in his opinion this was a really bad idea.  I told him that Kevan and I discussed it and prayed about it quite a bit.  We also talked it over with my surgeon.  Due to my age and the chance of getting breast cancer again we all thought it was the best choice.  I think for my sanity it is good too.  I don’t want to worry about every little lump I find!
He said if the PET scan comes back okay and the surgery doesn’t reveal anything else then he recommends doing a 2 drug chemo regimen (cytoxan and taxotere) – 6 cycles – once every 3 weeks.  Also, he is recommending Tamoxifen (hormone therapy) for at least 2 years after.  He normally recommends 5 years, but because Kevan and I still want to “try” to have children I will stop after 2 so we can try to have a family.  Although, chemo can sometimes make a woman go into premature menopause, but we will pray that doesn’t happen.  
I want to go read about all the side affects to my potential chemo drugs, but I better leave that to someone else.  It might freak me out.  Also, I asked him how long I would be bald.  I was thinking a month or so.  I can deal with that.  Nope!!  He said 9 months!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, you read that correctly.  I will be without hair and eyebrows for 9 months!  lol!!  I am trying to laugh it off because if I really think about it….I might let my vanity get to me.  All those mornings that I complained about having to straighten my hair….I’m sorry.  I am thankful I have hair.  Kevan was very sweet and told me how he is sad too because he really loves my hair.  I was glad to hear he likes my hair.  :o)  Hopefully, it will grow back just as nice and I will be more thankful for what I have….even for the bad hair days.
A couple of days ago Kevan and I were watching a movie and I felt a little tingle in my “other” breast (not the one that I know has cancer).  Well, it is a new lump and it is pretty large already.  Kevan and I thought it might just be a swollen lymph node, but the doctor felt it today and thought it was another lipoma.  Which was what they kept telling me the cancer in my other breast was.  So, this also confirmed the bilateral mastectomy.  I can’t believe I found another lump and that he even looked concerned.  Glad it will only be there for 2 more weeks and then it will be out of there!
The PET Scan…..was not that fun.  I couldn’t eat or drink before the test and the test wasn’t until 1pm.  So, I was STARVING by the time I got there.  I thought I would just go in, drink some stuff, lay on a table and it would be easy.  Not so easy.  I had to drink 32 ounces (that is a lot of ounces to someone that does not drink much) of this nastiness.  At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it within the hour time frame, but I downed it within an hour, but not without some funny faces and gagging.  lol!  I was quite proud of myself.  Then, they called me into a room with a recliner and hooked up an IV line.  They wouldn’t let my mother-in-law back with me.  (Judy, thank you for going with me and being so patient – I needed you there and it meant a lot to me)  I asked the guy if he could take a picture of me in the recliner and he said, “No.  I would rather not, but maybe one of the others might do it for you.”  So, that is why I only have the picture below.  
This is what my feet looked like while I laid in the recliner.  lol!  I was freezing so I was glad they gave me a blanket.  Anyway, once he added the IV line he injected the radioactive chemical into my body.  Then, I had to lay there for a whole hour.  Doing nothing.  It is hard for me to do NOTHING.  Once my hour was up they had me empty my bladder and then it was time for the scan.
They did a CAT scan first.  Which meant that they had to inject the contrast dye into my IV.  It does it automatically at a certain point and they did not give me any warning.  I didn’t appreciate this at all.  It made me feel sick all of a sudden  and then I felt warm all over like I wet my pants.  lol!  Don’t you love how I explain things.  lol!  If you’ve had this procedure you will know exactly what I’m talking about.  Then, they finally did the actual PET scan.  I had to put my arms over my head, which meant they were not under the blanket.  I was FREEZING!  I couldn’t move so my arms were just out there cold as ice and I couldn’t even rub my hands together.  Next time, she said I should ask for a blanket for my arms.  I really hope there isn’t a next time.  I didn’t enjoy the process.
Now we are just waiting on the results.  She said my doctor would receive the results tonight, but that she didn’t know when he would call me to discuss them with me.  I’ll update the blog once I hear something.

A few updates…

18 Apr

I had an appointment with a hematologist today because I had some blood work come back with a few abnormalities and my primary doctor wanted it checked out.  When I arrived they drew my blood and before I left we found out that all my counts were normal.  So, no problems there!  Thanks to everyone’s prayers!  While I was there we talked over a few symptoms I’ve been having with my lymph nodes so he also ordered a PET/CT scan.  I’m glad.  I think the PET scan will help relieve my anxiety that I might have cancer somewhere else.  The scan will be next Tuesday the 24th.  

We also discussed chemo a little bit (even though he is not my oncologist) and due to my age it is a given that I will have to have chemo.  He believes I will have 4-6 rounds of chemo and maybe hormone therapy of some kind.  I asked him about whether I will lose my hair and he said that I will probably lose my hair.  He also said, “You know it will grow back, right?”  LOL!  Yes, I know it will grow back.  Duh!  lol!

I think it is finally starting to sink in though.  I’ve been telling myself that it is okay if I lose my hair, but the reality is going to be really hard I think.  For Kevan too.  I’m not looking forward to losing my eyebrows, eyelashes and nose hairs either.  But, I  guess I can draw my eyebrows on.  Can you get eyebrow wigs?  ;o)  I guess a plus is that it will save me a lot of time getting ready in the morning.  I grabbed a little pamphlet in the office.  It recommends going wig shopping before treatment and purchasing one before treatment starts.  I can feel the itchy-ness already!  It is a blessing I work from home.  At least I won’t have to wear a wig everyday if I don’t leave the house.  Kevan said he is going to make me watch the first Star Trek movie so I can see the girl with the bald head.  lol!  I’ve never watched Star Trek in my life and I’m not sure I’m going to give in.  We’ll see.

I also found out that I am HER2 negative and the BRAC1 and BRAC2 tests also came back negative.  They said this was good.  :o)  Now, we are just waiting on one more to come back.  The Oncotype test.  Also, when they called they said that my surgery may not be on 4/30, but might be pushed out another week or so due to scheduling.  I’m pretty sad about it.  I just want to start this already!  It is hard sitting around thinking about it and not being able to do anything.

I can’t end this post without mentioning a HUGE blessing.  We have our wonderful Sleep Number bed all setup in our bedroom here in Tennessee.  FINALLY!  I have missed my bed!  I can’t wait to go to sleep tonight.  Thanks again Joyce and Paul for helping us load it all up and Gerry for helping us get it setup tonight.  I am one happy girl!  Even the cats were excited and Aubie rolled around on it when we turned on the massage option.  Happy kitties and happy Jayde.  :o)

A Huge Blessing Among The Storm

17 Apr
God’s timing is perfect.  About 2 years ago I started the treatment to have my teeth straightened.  I had too many teeth which were so crammed into my mouth that I had an overbite, my bottom teeth were very crooked and one of my two front teeth stuck out more than the other one.  I was teased quite a bit about my teeth growing up and did not have much confidence. The orthodontist told me I would need 8 teeth removed in order to “fix it”.  I will admit that I thought the orthodontist was crazy and I thought, “God gave me extra teeth for a reason…why would I remove them?”. But, I gave in because God did give us doctors too and on July 1, 2010 I had all 8 removed.  It went smoothly with no issues.  2 weeks later I had braces put on.  Braces are rough!  I will admit that I did not enjoy them, but those I knew that had them told me it would all be worth it in the end.  They were right.

God knew that I would get my braces off about 2 weeks after I was told I had breast cancer and 2 weeks before my surgery.  Perfect timing.  I am rejoicing and had one of the best days of my life between what will probably be 2 of my hardest days.  I have always been ashamed or embarrassed to smile, but not now.  I am no longer ashamed to show my teeth and no longer feel bad for Kevan when he has to introduce his wife.  Kevan assures me that was never the case.  During a time that should probably be a sad time for me…..I can’t stop smiling!

I want to say “thank you” to the wonderful staff at Lawton Orthodontics.  Everyone, from doctor Lawton to each of the staff members, made me feel like someone special and not like just another “orthodontic client”.  They knew my name when I came in and always seemed interested in how I was doing.  I’m sure they are like this with everyone and it is a great way to run an office and a great testimony.  When I came in yesterday one of the staff ladies came over to me and gave me a hug and told me she was sorry that I had cancer.  It was so sweet and it meant a lot to me.  Dr. Lawton was also sweet in how he responded and we talked over my different options.  God didn’t just bless me with perfect teeth, but also provided the best doctor and staff to go through the process with.  I highly recommend them.  If you are in the Orlando area and need an orthodontist they are the best!  I cannot imagine the joy they give to so many people when they smile their perfect smile for their first time.  It must be such a fulfilling job to give confidence and joy to so many.  If you are reading this, “THANK YOU!”

If I lose my hair due to chemotherapy at least people will be looking at my bald head and not my crooked teeth.  Lol!  Hair grows back.

God is so good to me!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” – James 1:17

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC)

12 Apr
It was confirmed yesterday that I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC), Stage 1-2, Grade 2-3 (Intermediate to High). The stage may change after the surgery because they will have more information from the biopsies and will know if there is lymph node involvement. It is my understanding that the grade is based on the aggressiveness of the cancer. A few of you have asked me about whether it has spread. We do not know right now, but should know more after the surgery. The path report says that the tumor suggests vascular invasion, but it is difficult to say with certainty. 
Also, for those that didn’t read my previous post…I will not meet with an oncologist until several weeks after my surgery. Treatment (chemo, hormone drugs, etc) would not start until about 6 weeks after the surgery. 
Tentatively, the surgery is set for Monday, 4/30.

Plastic Surgeon Visit – Misconceptions

12 Apr
This post is for those that want to have a better understanding of what this part of the journey is like.  I tried to be as discreet as possible because this is a personal subject, but in order for others to understand what a woman goes through at this point I had to dig in a little in order to describe it.  It is very hard for me to even type the word “implant” because it is embarrassing to me….I even tried to figure out a different word to use, but couldn’t come up with anything.  So, here goes.  If you are a man and your wife is going through breast reconstruction you need to read my post before you go to your appointment. If you are just reading this because you are curious I ask that you stop reading when it gets to the more detailed section (below the picture of the flower) as this was hard for me to write and I only wrote it to help others who are going through this.
Yesterday Kevan and I had our visit with the Plastic Surgeon.  She is only a little older than me so it did seem a little strange, but I realize I’m getting older and doctors will start getting younger.  :o)  Before the visit, I thought we would go to her office, feel the different implant options and then choose the “size” we want.  I thought it would be an easy visit because isn’t it every women’s dream to be able to choose her chest size?  NOT!  That is not at all how it was.   I don’t know if it is just me or if this would be the case for any woman that is having reconstruction surgery.  It was a hard visit.
I was already exhausted by the time we arrived there so I know that didn’t help.  It took us about 2 hours to drive to Nashville due to the traffic, we only had time to eat a little snack before we arrived and I have not been able to sleep past about 4am lately.  So, I’m sure all of this contributed to my emotions.  
It was a VERY nice office.  They gave me a plush robe to wear instead of the paper or hospital gowns the doctor’s offices normally give me.  The atmosphere was totally different than a doctor’s office.  It seemed more like a spa.  I’m sure it is because they have high paying clientele having various plastic surgeries and they need to cater to them.  I was happy about that aspect of it.
During our 1 hour visit we probably spoke about the size and implant type for about 5 minutes.  This actually won’t be discussed again until several weeks/months after my mastectomy/reconstruction surgery.  I am not going to go into detail here about our discussion.  This is very personal to me, but if you are a woman that is going through this and you would like to discuss I would be happy to talk to you about it.  Just comment or send me a text and I will contact you to go into more detail with you one-on-one. 
Yesterday, I had to keep reminding myself of the verses below….

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11: 28

“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” – Psalm 56:8

He knows my pain and is with me through it.  I can cast all my sorrow and burdens on Him who gives me strength.  He will give me what I need to endure this.

This next paragraph was pretty hard for me to write because everyone will know my “business”, but I’m trying to be helpful for anyone that may have to go through this or to give a husband an idea of what his wife is about to go through. I want you to be able to prepare yourself before your visit since I didn’t realize what it was going to be about.

DSC_0253

During the reconstruction there will not be much left for the surgeon to work with.  It isn’t like a normal augmentation.  Because so much is lost during the mastectomy she will be doing a tissue expander technique that requires her to use human skin graphs (from donors – ewww!), temporary spacers (the actual expander) and will need to use the pectoral muscle since there will be no tissue left to hold the spacer (or implant) in place.  Here is a good page to read about it that is not too graphic.  Most sites have real pictures so I tried to find one that was less graphic.

She gave us a little background on how the surgery would go. My oncological surgeon will start the surgery by doing the mastectomy and sentinel node biopsy (they remove the main lymph node to see if it reveals cancer).  The biopsy will give immediate results that will let him know if anything else will need to be done during the surgery (i.e. other nodes will need to be removed due to the cancer spreading).  I did learn that the scar will need to be a lot larger than if it was an augmentation so this was sad to me.  Once he is finished it will be my plastic surgeon’s job to try to reconstruct what was there.  I am very thankful that this is an option and even though this is hard for me I know it is a blessing to even have this as an available option.  I know women many years ago did not have this option nor did they have the skin grafting options available that they do now.

Once this surgery is finished I will be in the hospital for 2 days.  I will be put on pain medication to help manage the pain from surgery and I will start arm exercises the following day to help with arm mobility and lessen scar tissue.  I told her that I do not like taking medication (I know….I am an odd one) and she said she understood but I would have to take it for at least the first few days or I would be in too much pain to do the exercises and I MUST do the exercises.  I will have 2 drains in on each side that I will have to measure and empty throughout the day.  I believe I remember her saying I will have these for about 2 weeks following the surgery.  I will have to see her weekly to be “expanded”.  Once I am healed from the initial surgery I will start my treatment (chemo, etc).  This will be about 6 weeks post-op.  This was really hard for me to accept because I want the cancer gone NOW, but I know I need to be patient.  I will not even meet with an oncologist until several weeks after my surgery which is understandable since they will know a lot more after the various biopsies of tissue and lymph nodes.  Only after my treatment will they be able to finish my reconstruction.  So, I will have to go back at some point to have it completed.  She said it will be an outpatient procedure and will only take about 2 hours.
A few more things.  After the surgery I will not be able to lift more than 2-3 pounds.  Which is good and bad.  I won’t have to do any vacuuming, laundry or kitty litter (my favorite restriction.  lol), but I also won’t be able to lift my kitties and hold them either which will be hard to do since they are so sweet.
Below are a few more links that might be helpful if you are going to be going through this:
I am a candidate for this and you may be too.  This is a good site with a good explanation of the procedure.

Questions

10 Apr
Several friends have asked me some questions that I thought I would reply to here instead of responding to everyone personally.  That way if others are wondering the same thing they will know as well.
1.  Are you being treated in Florida or Tennessee?
We will be staying in Tennessee for my treatment.  Some of you don’t know, but we still have a house in Florida (unfortunately) so we travel back and forth quite a bit.  We love our friends there though so it is sort of a blessing too even though we would love to sell our house.  Nashville has great medical care and I am confident in the doctor that I have.  Especially because he was the first one that didn’t act like I was making a big deal out of nothing (and diagnosed my cancer).  It is closer to my family in Michigan so my parents (and siblings…please visit sometime!) can travel down in much less time.  Also, this is where Kevan’s family is.  I want to be here at the “farm” during my recuperation.  I love it here.  I mean….who wouldn’t want to watch the “wild horses” travel through their property on their many adventures?  It has been about 6 months and they are still running wild.  My father-in-law and husband are building a deck off our back porch so that on my good days I will be able to enjoy the weather outside.  The deck was already in our plans for the future so they thought it would be good to do it now instead of waiting.  I’m pretty excited about it!
2.  What will happen to your foster parenting goals?
As many of you know, Kevan and I have been going through the process of becoming foster parents.  This will, of course, be put on hold for now.  I did speak with our TN worker and she said that once I am cancer free they will still allow us to become foster parents.  I was scared that this door might close due to having cancer previously, but she said that wouldn’t be a problem.  Praise God!  We had two boys in mind already that we wanted to provide a home for (1 for fostering and 1 to adopt).  Please pray for these anonymous boys.  I am sad that Kevan and I won’t be able to provide for them (and love on them!), but I know God will.  Also, pray for the boy that we were thinking about adopting.  He hadn’t met us yet…he was only in our heart.  He is 17 and wanted a forever family.  Pray that God provides him one before he ages out of the system.  You don’t need his name to pray for him…God knows it!
3.  Will you still be seeing the Hematologist?
Yes.  For those that don’t know I had to have a physical for our foster parenting approval and some of my blood work was suspicious for something else.  So, I was referred to a hematologist.  My oncological surgeon does not believe it is related to the breast cancer so he wants me to see him to see if I have anything else going on.  That appointment is next Tuesday (4/17).  I am hoping (and praying) that it IS because of the breast cancer and not something else or that when they rerun the blood work again it comes back normal.

I am in AWE (and an update)…

9 Apr
I have been so OVERWHELMED by everyone’s encouragement today.  I am in awe actually.  I have never really had a lot of friends and today I feel so blessed.  I have more friends than I ever imagined.  I just can’t even believe the love that has been poured out to me today.  You ALL are so special to me.  My heart is full!  I know it will sounds strange, but God is blessing me so much already through this cancer journey!  Every time I receive a message or a text I feel so joyful.  I’ve received at least 50 emails or texts today.  Can you believe that this little blog received 318 hits today?  That is 318 prayers (I hope) for Kevan and I!  Thank you everyone.  It is amazing!
I have my first update.  I’m sorry in advance if this is a little technical, but it might provide some insight to women that are going through this in the future.  I found out that my hormone receptor test came back E+/P- (estrogen positive/progesterone negative).  The estrogen positive result was only 20%.  From what I understand it is good that it is positive, but a little bad that it is only 20%.  I believe this helps the doctor decide if the cancer will respond to hormone therapy vs. other treatments.  When we were in his office he mentioned that if it was positive (and the BRCA test was also – still waiting to hear on this one) that we may need to consider having my ovaries removed.  If you know me and know about my fertility issues you will not be surprised that I broke down when he said this.  I shed only a few small tears when he said “cancer”, but when he mentioned my “ovaries” it was too much for me and they had to find me some Kleenex.  I’m sure that it has to do with the percentage so I have hope that 20% is good.  So, this is another prayer opportunity (please!).
I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon on Wednesday to discuss my reconstruction.  I will be having a bilateral (double) mastectomy followed by the reconstruction the same day.  I’m okay with our decision to have the bilateral mastectomy and I think it is what is best for my sanity.  I was able to talk to 2 other women that chose the same thing and they are very happy with the results.  It is strange that women joke about implants all the time because we are so unhappy with our bodies, but now that I am at this point and I am having to choose this as an option it is really hard to accept.  I now realize that I love the body that God gave me…imperfect as I think it is.  My husband does too.  So, I’m having a little bit of anxiety over this.  But, I know that God is with me and will guide the surgeon’s hands.  Please pray that Kevan and I will make the right decisions as there are many different options when it comes to reconstruction.  It is pretty stressful.  Also, pray that God will speak to us through the doctors so we know that the decisions they are making for my treatment and reconstruction are what God would have for me and that I will be happy (or content) with the results.
God is so good!
“…the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.”  James 5:15
I am waiting on the following tests that will help determine treatment (chemo/radiation/other):
BRCA (gene test)
HER2 (growth factor test)
OncoType DX (a test that can indicate whether a women has a higher percentage of reoccurrence)

You Have Cancer

9 Apr
“You have cancer”.  Three words I thought I would never hear.  Maybe when I am old and gray, but not while I’m in my 30’s.  I have breast cancer.  Typing the words even seems strange to me.  Hearing Kevan say, “my wife has cancer.” makes me think he is talking about someone else.  But, he isn’t.  He’s talking about me.  One of the worries when I found out was that someone might be hurt because I forgot to tell them before it came out on Facebook.  If you are one of those people please forgive me.  It wasn’t on purpose.  I have a lot in my head right now.  This blog will now serve as the tool to let everyone know how I am doing.  Kevan is going to update it when I can’t or when I don’t feel like it and he is also going to do a few posts so he can journal a bit on how he feels as well so that if someone else goes through this in the future there is a “husband” perspective.

I do not know the extent of the cancer yet.  So, until I do I will give everyone a little background on the last few months.  In October I felt a lump in  my breast while I was taking a bath.  Of course, it freaked me out a little, but it was so tiny I had a hard time finding it each time.  I made an appointment with my gynecologist and then beat myself up about why I was even going when I couldn’t even find the lump half the time I looked for it.  I went to my appointment (10/28) and she told me that she couldn’t feel it, but that she would request an ultrasound just to ease my worry.  I had the ultrasound on 11/1 and the results came back that it was “fatty tissue” and that it was benign.  Nothing to worry about.

Below is a picture of my ultrasound.  I always requests any films or test results for my own personal archive.  I like to see/read what they receive.  When I Google “breast cancer” my lump doesn’t look anything like what Google images showed me as malignant lumps.  So, I thought that was great.

I still didn’t feel right about it still so she ordered a mammogram on 11/17.  I had the mammogram and it didn’t show anything abnormal.  It was my very first mammogram.  It will be fine with me if I NEVER have one again.  lol!  It was not fun.  If you are a man….thank God right now that you don’t have to have mammograms.  ;o)

By January, I knew that the lump had increased in size.  I could find the lump easily and it also “tingled” so it wasn’t hard to locate.  In my mind I associated the “tingle” with it growing…so it freaked me out.  Of course, I don’t know if that is true.  If I pressed on it, it hurt.  Everyone (and Google) told me that cancer doesn’t hurt so that is a great sign.  I felt like I was making a big deal out of nothing so I waited until I felt like it had doubled in size before I called the doctor.  I had another ultrasound on 2/23 and it revealed again that there was nothing to worry about.  Even though the images showed a larger mass of 2.41cm the radiologist noted in her comments that it “had not changed since the last ultrasound”.

All is well, right?  No.  I wasn’t happy.  I wanted this “thing” out of my body.  Kevan wanted it out too just so I would quit making him feel it and so I would stop talking about it.  lol!  I waited another month while I tried to decide if I was crazy and should let it go or if I really should have it removed.  I spoke with my mother-in-law and she recommended I talk to her surgeon.  She has survived cancer twice and is an inspiration to me.  I love my mother-in-law!  She is such a blessing to me.  I saw the surgeon on 3/29.  He is one of the top oncological surgeons in Tennessee.  My mother-in-law went with me because Kevan wasn’t able to due to his work schedule.  The doctor did his own ultrasound and confirmed it was “fatty tissue” (or lipoma) and said he was 99% sure it was benign.  Nothing to worry about.  But, he did want to remove it and do a biopsy.  I had my lumpectomy/biopsy on 4/3.  2 days after my 36th birthday.  Kevan and I went back on 4/6 for my follow-up.  On the way there Kevan asked me if I was worried.  I told him I wasn’t worried AT ALL.  Everyone that saw the ultrasound told me it was nothing to be concerned about.  I believed them.  Kevan told me later that day that he WAS worried.  He said he just didn’t feel right about it.

As soon as the doctor walked into the room I knew something was wrong.  He had tears in his eyes.  This actually meant a lot to me.  He does this every day.  He has to tell women (and sometimes men) that they have breast cancer and he isn’t immune to it.  It still makes him sad to have to reveal the news.  He said that he couldn’t believe it when he read the biopsy results.  He called the lab to make sure it wasn’t a mistake and even met with some other medical professionals to go over the findings.  He said it was a very “unique” case.  Yes, well….God made me very unique.  lol!

The doctor wasn’t in a hurry.  He sat down and answered all of our questions and even gave me his cell number in case I forgot to ask something or I wanted to talk to him.  What doctor would give his patient his cell number??

We are waiting on several tests to find out what type of cancer, what stage, etc.  I will update this blog as I find out.  I know with all of my heart that God is with me.  I’m not alone in this.  He is my comforter and my healer.  I am not sorry this is happening.  God has given me this as a plan for my life.  He orchestrates all things, including cancer.  If I believed that God was not in this I wouldn’t have the strength to get through it.  But, I know He is here with me.  He is the Creator of ALL THINGS.  I love Him.

I also know that I have the best husband.  He has been so supportive.  He stops to give me hugs and tell me he is sorry.  He helped me take a bath and wash my hair last week when I had the lumpectomy and couldn’t get my incision wet or raise my arm.  I love him so much and he is such a blessing to me.  I wouldn’t want to go through this without him.  I love you Kev.  You are my best friend.

I have an awesome family and in-laws who I know will also be supporting me through this.  It seems that they are taking it harder than I am, but that is probably normal…I don’t know.  I also have TWO wonderful church families who have loved on me the last few days.  I’ve had several friends ask me what they can do.  Right now, instead of telling me you are sorry just tell me that you will pray for me.  Don’t just say it, but DO IT.  Even if you only remember to pray once.  Pray at the time you tell me you will pray.  If you put it off you might forget.  Also, if you are a friend that jokes with me and laughs with me (or even pokes fun at me) please don’t stop.  That is why I love you.  I know that cancer is serious, but please don’t look at me and pity me.  Just continue to laugh with me and make me smile.  I will need lots of laughter.

My prayer right now is that the cancer has not spread.  Please pray that I do not have lymph node involvement and that it is no where else except the breast.  Also, I will be having surgery in 3-4 weeks.  Most likely it will be a double mastectomy, but Kevan and I are thinking about my options still and will be meeting with the plastic surgeon next week to discuss everything.  So, please pray that we make the right decision regarding my surgery and treatment.  It is a huge decision and a little scary.  I HATE going under anesthesia.  Ugh!  Not again.

Lastly, I am so thankful that God chose Good Friday to reveal this to me.  It is a reminder of how much He loves me!  He died for me and suffered for me so that I may have eternal life with Him.  He has forgiven me for my sins and through his blood I am restored.  Praise God!