Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I don't need a new hobby!

I told Zac recently  that I don't need a new hobby!  It seems that all my free time is devoted to cancer now.  All I do is talk to people about cancer, search online for cancer stuff, and today I even went to the library and got some book - guess what subject - YEP cancer! "Sigh"  

I so want to just crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and make this all go away.  Unfortunately, its not going away so I have to do what I can to become informed and fight this!

I am still at such a loss as to what to ask the drs.  Its like being stuck in a foreign country where you don't speak the language.  
What?  HUH?  Uhhh - No habla cancera!?!?!
What should I be doing right now?  How do I  ensure that the decisions that I make now are the best ones to ensure we don't have to go thru all this again in a few years?  Will I still feel feminine with fake boobs? 

I obviously don't "WANT" to lose my boobs - I am a girl after all.  But at the same time, they are just boobs and don't really serve a function (anymore).  
Right now, I am all for doing a mastectomy, and really would like to do both breasts. Especially if I can get reconstruction done, (again the whole girl thing)  I  don't want to be selfish about this and not make the best medical decisions based on my emotions and body image.   I feel that making the most radical decisions NOW will help ensure we don't have to go down this road again in the future.  

Last week, I had coffee with  my friend Deb.  Last year, she was diagnosed with breast cancer - (her situation is scary similar to mine - same kind same size etc...) she told me that I should demand a Breast MRI be done prior to surgery. She also gave me a bunch of literature.   Its all so overwhelming - but like she said I have to be my own advocate. They wanted to put me on stronger antibiotics when I asked for the biopsy to be done - had I not they wouldn't have found the cancer. 

I talked to my dr on Friday and asked him:
If they were going to do a CT scan, Breast MRI and Bone scan?
-He said that there wasn't a rush to do those until after the surgery and they knew better what they were dealing with.  The results wouldn't change what they did surgery wise only the treatment afterward.  
Deb however, told me that the Breast MRI shows if there is any additional cancer they need to remove and if it is present in the other breast as well.

I also asked him if they were doing both breast why or why not? 
- He said that he didn't think it would be beneficial at this point to do both. Again, they don't know what the heck they are dealing with yet. Most women choose to have both done to reduce the chance of reoccurrence but he said even if you do remove the breast tissue, it could still come back in the chest wall or sternum area.

Another question I asked him was if I could have a port for chemo put in during surgery? (so I don't have to have it done later) 
-He said based on the size of my mass, he didn't think I would have to have chemo - Again, when I told Deb this she totally disagreed. Her cancer is stage two and was just over 2cm - mine is already 2cm and they know that they didn't get all of it - so I don't see how I wouldn't have to have chemo also - not that I want it mind you but what the heck??? I have no clue what to think or do about all this!

So, I read and ask questions- find others who have been thru this and talk to them on the phone for hours.  I spend all my free time searching the web - wow there is a lot of stuff out there.  One of my favorites that adds humor to a not so funny subject is: It opens with a video of the grim reaper going into the cancer ward of a hospital and ends with a cancer patient chasing him out. Dying has never been an option in my mind with all this but something about the video makes me feel empowered.
Another site has a video about a girl named Anne.
~ "Anne is lonely. She lives with her mother, has no friends, and is fighting cancer. Her escape from reality exists in the form of The Aviatrix, an intergalactic superhero alter ego who rockets through space to fight the powers of evil on distant planets". It ends with her riding off in her bathrobe (the official uniform of the U. S. cancer team - standard issue) with the lawn man - Cheezy- true but fun none the less! So, while doing all this research isn't my first choice, its where I am now and what I need to be doing - so - I've got a new hobby! Who knows maybe someday I'l make my own short movie! :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Today I had my follow up appt  and unfortunately despite all the prayers, hugs, office supplies, candles etc, I DO have cancer :(

Here is what I remember from the whirlwind of thoughts and decisions that I faced this afternoon:

Its called invasive ductal cancer. Even the dr was shocked that the test came back positive. I have no factors that would indicate a possibility. So, because we hadn't expected it to be cancer, my last operation wasn't to the degree it should have been - basically, they were just doing a biopsy - what they did see concerned them so they took as much as they could see but when the tested it, it came back positive to the edges. Had they know that they were dealing with cancer to begin with they would have taken a much larger sample so the the edges (or margins) would have tested negative. 

In order to assign a stage to it, they also need more information. There are 3 factors the T - N - M. I forget what they all are - I got so much info today my heads swimming. But we only have the T which is the diameter (2cm) which will be more than that since they didn't get it all. One of the other factors is whether it has spread to the lymph nodes or not and I think the third is depth but i'm not sure on that. As far as the lymph nodes, there are 2 options in removing and testing them - one would be to remove several at different levels (close to the breast, a bit deeper, and close to the muscle wall) the second option is to inject radiation and dye to track where the drainage is and then remove the infected lymph nodes based on what "lights up" 

So at this point, I have 3 options to remove the rest of the mass (by following x-ray, and mammogram findings) plus one of the two lymph node options or option 3, to remove the entire breast (mastectomy) 
After weighing our options, recovery, chance of reoccurrence etc... Zac and I decided to go with the mastectomy. "sigh" While its not my first choice, we DO believe that it is the best option to make sure that we remove all of the cancer in 1 surgery and severely lessen my chance of reoccurrence. 

When my dr went to consult with the other surgeon and check the schedule for a date, he found out that they may be able to do reconstruction at the same time - Which I am totally for! Hey if I can have one surgery instead of 2 and not have to go with out a boob for months waiting for the reconstruction, I'm all for that! They are checking with Plastic Surgery to see if that is an option and if the date will work. So right now we are looking at do the surgery in 3 weeks (Dec 9th)

As far as chemo and radiation, because they won't know until they remove it and test it what exactly they are dealing with, they can't tell me if or how much I will need. Most likely there will be some just as a preventive measure. 

On a somewhat positive note, a few people have told me that they can take the fat from your stomach and butt to do the reconstruction with - I SO hope that is the case! That would be the most amazing thing to happen for having to go thru all this crap! Although I'm sure the recovery would be hell. Heck of a diet plan - throw in some chemo and I'll have the body I've always wanted - Not sure I'm up for the price I have to pay for that though.  I'd much rather just stay fat!

For now, there are all sorts of test and stuff that need to be done prior to the surgery - so I'll have a busy few weeks ahead of me.  Thank you so much everyone who has been there for me already in all this.  Not feeling alone in all this is a huge deal to me.  I can't bear the thought of not being there for my Men - they are my world!  Although I don't know why this is happening - why me?  why now? etc..  I am confident that I am strong and I won't let this get me down.  Cancer won't win - I WILL!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Surgery Update

I just realized its been a long time since I updated my blog - things have been crazy the past few weeks!

If you are new to my blog, you may want to scroll down a few posts to the original post (Boobs!) to get the full story.

So last week, I went in and had surgery to remove the mass - I think they called it an biopsy extraction. The surgery went well and I went home the same day with pain medication. However, I never had any pain and didn't like the way the medicine made me feel - (everything was dream like all the time) so I only took it for a day and a half. Thankfully my MIL was able to come and stay with us to help with the boys - I mostly slept the first few days. Even after I quit taking the medicine, I still had a headache and felt nauseous all the time. That lasted for about a week - boy did that suck.

On Thursday afternoon (nov 13th) I received a phone call with my pathology report I'm not sure who I talked to because I was just leaving work at time and things were crazy around me. I think it was some guy from the lab because he kept saying that he probably shouldn't be the one telling me this???

What I do remember him saying was "I WILL need to have additional surgery because they didn't get it all out because the "margins weren't clearly defined" - (I could have told them that - I still can feel at least 1/2 of it in there) He also said something about it being precancerous or could be cancer - they weren't really sure at this point but was pointing toward cancer"

The following day, I called and spoke to the dr driectly who said -
He didn't have all the test results yet and couldn't give me a definitive answer - what he did know was, the part they did remove was 3 sections - the top palpable lesion, the middle part that appeared to be a cyst and deep margin that looked precancerous. They were still waiting on the final tests on that section. I have a follow up appt on tue (18th) where I should know all the findings and where to proceed from there.

I am quite anxious to know what this is and how to proceed from here - also a bit upset that the didn't' take the whole mass in the first surgery and wondering why?

Last night, I came down with the flu or food poisoning or something - that was so NOT fun - I'm not a big fan of puking! Thankfully Zac was able to take the boys today so that I could sleep. I don't know what I would do with out him - he is amazing! I just keep thinking that today was just a preview of the months to come. If this is cancer and I have to do chemo and all that, I have many more days like today in my future. I so don't want it to be cancer. I'm not scared that I can't fight it, I just can't bear not being there for my little men. I don't want them to have a sick mommy who stays in bed all the time. I'm trying to be brave and just take this one step at a time. I am so thankful that no matter what I won't have to go through this alone - God will be there every step of the way holding my hand and giving me strength when I don't have it and Zac will be there telling me that I CAN do this and to "suck it up" I know that sounds cruel and sometimes I don't appreciate it but Zac knows me and that I refuse to be sick - so sucking it up is what I do! It is his way of reassuring me that I can get through anything.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Our Halloween

I kind of forgot it was Halloween yesterday - we decided to save our money and skip it again this year. The men aren't old enough to know the difference so it would have been more for mom and dad anyway. I'm sure next year - Gryphyn at least will want to have a say in it and know all about the candy factor involved.

I filled in at the front desk at the gym yesterday afternoon - I was rushing to get out the door and was upset at zac - men just don't get girls feelings sometimes :( anyway - I was mad and running late so I blasted the music and was speeding along when I spot the cop up ahead - OH NO! I so deserved a ticket so what could I do - I was going over 80 in a 60 (he said it was 79) but dropped the charge to 75 so that I wouldn't have to go to court. Man I miss Germany and the no speed limits!

Zac called while I was at the gym and asked if we wanted to meet him for lunch so we met at Applebys and then took the men to a pumpkin patch to take pix and get some pumpkins. Here are a few of the pix from the patch: