I’m going to jump right into this because that’s really the only way I know how to do things.
On February 16th I found a lump in my right breast, nothing huge but it was noticeable. About one week later I had an appointment for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. During that week I figured this was nothing to worry about, lots of women have little lumps and bumps that turn out to be of no concern. While I was at the appointment things went along normally, I was told that depending on what the radiologist saw I might just talk to a nurse about the findings. I knew things took a different turn when the ultrasound tech said that the radiologist would talk with me about what they were seeing; the turn became even bigger when I was brought to the really nice waiting room; I knew that we had changed roads when the radiologist came into the room with a “Nurse Care Coordinator”. “Crap” was my thought when she introduced herself. We spoke about my need to have a biopsy to determine the exact nature of the lump.
From there time sped up and stood still. We met with a surgeon and had a biopsy later in the week. Our surgeon gave us a good picture of the different options we would have depending on the biopsy results. I think this made a big difference for us when we received the call on Tuesday telling us that the biopsy showed that the mass is cancerous. I felt somewhat prepared by already knowing some of the options I have and some of the next steps in the process.
Yesterday (Fri 3/7) we met with the surgeon again to discuss specifics. The cancer that I have is invasive ductal carcinoma; it is a MSBR grade 3 (this is different from the stage) which means it is an aggressive form of cancer. It tested positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors, we are waiting to see if it is also positive for another receptor, receptors can impact treatment and provide me with more options for care. My lymph nodes appear clear and the tumor is 2.4cm so I have stage 2 cancer. This is considered highly treatable and curable.
The next steps involve screening for the BRCA gene, I had the blood drawn yesterday so that is in process and will take a few weeks. I will also have an MRI to get a better picture of the tumor and lymph nodes to confirm size and status a bit more clearly. We will be meeting with an oncologist and plastic surgeon in the next 2 weeks, as well as a geneticist to discuss the BRCA results. As of now I will be having surgery in the next month or so, depending on how quickly we can schedule appointments and follow-ups.
I feel pretty much the same as I always have so I have good energy levels and I’m not sick at all… well aside from the cancer. 😉 I feel very comfortable with the surgeon that I have, she is young and understands my perspective and is very competent. I’m scared to be facing cancer at 36 and I’m definitely nervous about surgery and treatment, especially since I am fairly squeamish; as in I fainted before the biopsy, but that’s a story for another post; and there will be incisions, drains, spacers, and all sorts of other “squeam” inducing things. (UGH) I’m pretty sure that we have a bit of shock going on and I think things will sink in as we get closer to surgery. I will keep living and having fun with life, for example I fully intend to have a wicked fun haircut before surgery and beginning chemo. I am comforted by the care, prayers, and support that we are already receiving from family and friends. Finally and most importantly I have a peace from God that he is carrying us through this, that this will be a chapter of my/our story that will have a positive impact on my/our life and for those around us. The passage Romans 5:1-5 keeps coming to mind, here’s verses 2-5 from The Message “There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!”
When 2014 began I sort of ‘claimed’ Oceans by Hillsong UNITED as my hope for the year, it’s pretty much perfect for where I am now. Here’s the song in case you aren’t familiar with it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m_sWJQm2fs
Please pray for wisdom for the Doctors involved and for us as we face decisions regarding treatment and care.
Love, hope, and laughter to you all!!