Saturday, December 6, 2008


So much has happened so fast that I can't keep up with who I've told what to.  So, here is all the latest info:

On Monday (Dec 1st)  I paged my dr about getting an MRI and a different dr answered and said that she had taken over for him - she reviewed my info and called me back and wanted to see me to talk in person. So, the next day (Tue Dec 2nd), I met with plastic surgery and then with her - it was a long day with lots of info and questions and decisions - It left me exhausted mentally and physically! 

Here is what we decided 
- Next week (Dec 9th) I will have a modified radical mastectomy (on my left side) - this removes all the breast tissue except for the skin - they do remove an oval shaped portion including the nipple and then they will sew the skin back together (sort of like a football). They will also remove lymph nodes from my arm pit area to test and insert a drain to make sure I don't have any blood or fluid build up. About a week later, they will remove the drain and I should also be getting my test results back to determine the staging and how to proceed from there. At this point, I will be referred to oncology and they will make the decision on the chemo and radiation treatments. Once radiation is completed (about 6-12 months out) I will go back for the breast reconstruction. After talking with plastic surgery, we feel that it would be best to wait to do the reconstruction. They said that I would have better results if I waited till after radiation treatments. Radiation destroys tissue and that isn't a good thing for "new" healing tissue - they said they would do it now but most likely I would have to have further surgeries to repair and "fine tune" the breast - so, not what I wanted to hear - I don't really want to be breast-less for up to a year but what do you do - its the best option for the most realistic outcome. We did decide to go with the tummy tuck method over implants - so at least I have on good thing to look forward to :) -  we have time to figure out all those details later.   

Other questions I have been asked - and the answers :)
Are you positive you know what type of cancer it is? 
Dr Turner (my 1st dr) made them double check there findings so yes - when I spoke with Dr Diesen (the new dr), she said that it was invasive ductal carcinoma - which means that it started in the duct and moved beyond them. The section that they took was 2cm and tested negative on the top but the bottom was positive to the edge meaning that they didn't not get all of it out. She also said that the surrounding area was precancerous -meaning that if  I left alone, it would become cancer.

Do you know what stage its in?
NO - and they won't know until they remove the lymph nodes. Staging is based on 3 factors - the T (tumor), N (node), and M (metastasis) - currently the T is a T2 which means the mass is larger than 2cm but not larger than 5cm. The N, is whether or not the tumor has spread to the lymph nodes - which they will removed to test during the surgery. The last factor the M -which is if the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body - again the lymph nodes would tell them this. If the lymph nodes come back negative for cancer then it has NOT spread anywhere else - they always go there first. So if they test positive, then they will do additional tests to see where. I forget the order they "drain" to but the cancer could spread to the brain, liver, lungs, and bones. All of these would not be treated with surgery but with chemo and radiation - so that doesn't change the surgery aspect either way - as for the other breast, they already know it doesn't have cancer in it because the mammogram shows that it doesn't. 

Can you positively say its nowhere else in your body?
NO, not yet until we get the lymph node testing back.

Why did you get it? What caused it? Was it job related? Hormones? Bad Genes? Hereditary?
No one knows the answer to this one. I don't have any risk factors that would be an indication that I was a risk for cancer:

You can check out the following link for a list of the risk factors:

Was the lab wrong?
Always possibe but he dr DID have them double check the results because he didn't think it was possible based on factors and what he saw and felt.

Was a proper cancer biopsy done?
Partly yes - they should have removed a larger section as well as lymph nodes - had they know it was cancer.  I could go back and have the larger portion and lymph nodes removed and tested then have additional surgery as needed - but essentially, that is what we are doing in the mastectomy (at least I know they will be getting it all) :)

Emotionally, how am I doing?
SIGH - I'm a mess - I think - I'm not really sure on this - all I want to do is sleep and cry, neither of which I have time to do.  Two little men require all my time and energy so I have to be there for them.  So, I'm just kind of ignoring everything else.  I really don't want to lose a boob, I think it will make me feel less of a woman.  I already have enough self conscious issues I don't really need this added on top of it.  I don't want to be "helpless"  I'm really bad and asking for help and letting anyone do things for me.  I'm tired of people telling Zac that he is going to have to step up and be my crutch.  I hate that he feels like he is going to have to quit his photography (which he loves) and get a traditional job.  It breaks my heart that I can't pick up my kids - they don't get that mommy is sick and it hurts to hold them.  I so don't want to be - see now I'm crying - enough of that!

I am so thankful that my MIL - Ann is willing and able to come out and help.  She gets here tomorrow and will be staying for a month.  We don't see eye to eye on everything but I know she loves me and my MEN and always has our best interest in mind.  We have always had a good relationship which isn't common in Mother and Daughter in laws :)  I am truly blessed that I got Ann as mine!

I am also thankful for all my friends who have been there for me.  My church - Underground ( is already putting together meals for us and countless people have offered to help however they can - childcare, cleaning , hanging out etc...

God has truly blessed me with family and friends that love me  -  I have every intention of beating this dumb cancer and living a long healthy life!


Jolene said...

ignore all the color changes - I cut and pasted a lot of info and I don't feel like going back and trying to figure out how to make it all the same color :)

Ingram Family said...

I can't figure out how to leave a comment on the blog about your update with cancer, so hopefully you will read this. It sounds so scary, and I am so sad you guys are going through this, but you are a tough strong woman and I don't doubt you are going to kick it's butt. When is the surgery exactly so we can be praying for you during it?

Ingram Family said...

Never mind, I see it now. Chris and I will be praying. We love you! I will be looking for an update.

Jolene said...

My surgery is tomorrow at 6am (on Tuesday Dec 9th)!