Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When I Found Out....

When I found out that I had breast cancer, it didn't really come as a shock to me the way that it does to some people. I had suspected it for about a year, but the previous year's mammogram had come back negative, so no one took my suspicions seriously.

Last year was a different story,however. I saw my primary care 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 had invasive ductal carcinoma...which means the cancer started in one of the ducts, but spread beyond that, creating a tumor that was approximately 3 cm by 2 cm in the right breast.  From there, it was a roller-coaster of appointments, tests, and emotions. 

On April 23rd, I met with a plastic surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Tran. Before that appointment, I was leaning toward NOT having 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 changed my mind and decided it was something I DID want to do after all.

On April 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 didn't know at that point if it was something I'd be doing. At that time, we thought surgery would be first, and that we'd decide on chemo vs. radiation after getting the pathology report.

The following week was my first meeting with my medical oncologist, Dr. Brandon Cutler. That appointment was a discussion of potential chemo therapy, and where it would fall in the schedule of treatment.  Yet again, I had a doctor who was friendly, open, and caring....the whole team was amazing!

Even though I was scared, and had no idea what the outcome was going to be, I did everything I could to stay positive and not give in to my fears. Some days it wasn't that easy, but most days it was, with the support and encouragement of my family and friends.  Here we are nearly a year later, after chemo, surgery and radiation...and unless something should show up in a mammogram in the future, I'm free to actually plan a future!!  :)

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