First I must thank everyone for reading this and adding me to their prayer lists or reaching out to me. I am amazed at how much love I feel towards my entire family all from a blog! Let me start by saying I have read other blogs and have always thought wow, what their going through sucks, how does this happen, etc. I'll pray for them and think often about them, but never would I have thought I would be writing my own. Tons of people whether I knew their story or not have approached me with themselves or someone they know that has fought cancer. This is very helpful as the next weeks, I will need the support of survivors to get me through this.
Yesterday we met with Dr. Hansen who is an Oncologist at Edwards Hospital in Naperville. Great guy and great staff. We met him at the Cancer Center. I had my first peek into a cancer center and let me tell you it is terrifying, but also calming. Everyone is over the top nice and CALM! I needed some calmness. To them, this is their every day life and on top of it, I'm sure they are told if you show emotion, you are out the door! I definitely could not do this job, I would cry or be scared daily and diagnosing myself with every illness out there! Dr. Hansen spent well over an hour examining me and informing us of the cancer and the next steps. He was happy to know the lump in my breast has not attached to the chest wall. I am new at this so I do not know if this is something to celebrate or not, but from his explanation, if it had, it is more serious. He did believe he felt 2 swollen lymph nodes in my right arm pit. This could mean it has spread to those or it could just mean they are swollen. We won't know until further testing. As far as explaining the cancer to us, he was very helpful in taking notes for Don and I so we didn't have to try to write as he talked. He explained that my full pathology shows this is not an Estrogen Receptor Cancer and due to the size of the tumor, it is classified as T3. This is not good, but we still have some unanswered questions that will make it either better or worse.
Next week I have a battery of tests:
Monday: Breast MRI to get a starting point for the treatments. It will also take a look at my lymph nodes and their involvement.
Tuesday: Echo gram. This is necessary to ensure my heart is strong enough since chemo can be harmful if you have a weak heart. Also a chemo class.
Wednesday: Nothing so far, but there is a possibility that this will include the installation of a Port under the chest wall for easier access to chemo treatments. If this does not happen, I may come to work to my work buddies! I have never wished so badly to come to work!!
Thursday: Bone Scan and CT Scan-Please pray everyone! This is the scariest of all of them. This cancer can not have spread!! Please pray hard as this is what is keeping me up at night!
Friday: Start round one of Chemo if all goes well during the week.
The current chemo plan is a treatment every 2 weeks 4 times for 1 drug and then every 2 weeks for 4 times for another drug. So a total of 16 weeks of Chemo. I am told, they strongly recommend working so I plan to do that. They said usually nausea can be controlled through other medications. The only side effect they can do nothing for is hair loss. This was quite hard for me to take. Who wants to lose their hair and watch others stare at you and wonder what cancer struck you. But they have told me their is a shop that have very natural wigs and also make up artists who can help with make up to make me look as normal as possible. I know some of you expect me to take this time and be funny and get a platinum blond wig or something like that.....Not yet guys! I'll let you know when I think I could do that.
After 16 weeks of treatment, I will then need surgery. They will not know if this surgery will be to remove any remains (lumpectomy) or full Mastectomy of both breasts. My current plan is to have them removed completely so I can put this all behind me. But further research is needed for that. They are going to run some genetics tests too and if one comes back positive, I may have no other choice but the mastectomy. Either way, I am okay with this. Some women I think have a hard time, but I'm okay with losing them. After surgery would come radiation therapy.
My dad is driving up today, please pray for his safe arrival. He will take over parent duty for me while mom goes home to arrange for some FMLA time. My mother in law has been with us every step of the way as well and has been a huge support system since her and my father in law unfortunately just went through cancer treatment with Don's aunt.
We see a plan, it will be long and hard, but there are plans falling into place. Please continue the prayers for all of us, but most of all this week I need the prayers for my bone and CT scan.
Thank you all again for thinking and praying for us!
Love to all!