Friday, April 26, 2013

Starting Another Journey

At this point in my life, I wasn't really expecting to be starting anything new, but God has other plans for me, as usual.  This new journey is one that no one ever wants to take, but I hope that by blogging about it, and sharing it with the world, I'll be able to help others who may find themselves on the same road.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on April 18, 2013. That was actually just the official acknowledgment of something I had suspected for a little while on my own, thanks to some changes. I saw my primary doctor in March, and then got a mammogram scheduled for April 10th. Because of what they saw there, I went immediately for an ultrasound. After that, the radiologist came in to see me about having a biopsy....which we scheduled for April 12th.  That was also done in the ultrasound exam room, with the benefit of a couple of Valium and some Lidocaine. 

My next trip to the hospital was on April 18th, when I had my first appointment with Dr. Bryce Nattier, my general surgeon. He broke the news that I have invasive ductal carcinoma...which means the cancer started in one of the ducts, but has spread beyond that, creating a tumor that is approximate 3 cm by 2 cm in the right breast. Until we do the mastectomy, which will be on May 10th, we won't know much more about what we're fighting, or whether any of the lymph nodes are involved.

This past week, I had two more trips to the hospital, to meet two more members of my treatment team. On Tuesday, the 23rd, I met with a plastic surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Tran. Before that appointment, I was leaning toward NOT have any reconstruction. I just didn't want to think about it, deal with it...I just didn't care, honestly.  After hearing her explain the procedure, and just getting to know her, I'm all in, and actually looking forward to the results and the "after" pictures.   :)

On Wednesday, the 24th, I met with my radiation oncologist, Dr. Borislav Hristoff. For the third time, I was impressed with his friendliness and openness. We discussed the radiation process, even though we don't know yet if it's something I'll be doing. We won't know anything about a treatment plan, beyond the surgery, until AFTER the surgery, which is a little unsettling for someone like me who likes to plan ahead as much as possible.

Should radiation be necessary, when it happens depends on whether or not chemo is necessary. (I meet with the medical oncologist, Dr. Brandon Cutler, next week, to go over all that stuff.).  If I need chemo, that will be first, and that will take 6 to 7 months, after which we will have a six week round of radiation, for five days a week. If there's no chemo, we'll go right to the radiation first thing, if needed.  At this point, there is still a possibility they will be able to just remove the tumor and be done, except for the reconstruction. That's the outcome I'm praying for, and claiming!!!

So far, I'm keeping a very positive attitude, and feeling really good about things. I hope I'll be able to keep that up, but it's good to know that I'm surrounded by people who care and will encourage and support me at every turn. I have at least three different church congregations holding me in prayer, family members, and friends both near and far. I am blessed, and I realize it more each day.

Will continue to update as the journey continues, with doctor appointments, treatment decisions, highs and lows....whatever comes to mind.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll stick with me on this wild ride!!

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