Saturday, January 28, 2012

week one down many more to go

You are going to think I am crazy for saying this but I feel very lucky to be diagnosed with grade 2 invasive ductile cancer. Now I will explain why.

November 11, 2011
I had my annual obgyn checkup. Dr. Costa performed all of the usual tests including a breast exam. All tests came back completely normal.

January 7, 2012
A dull pain in my left breast woke me up at 3am. I am a hypochondriac so I was immediately concerned. I ran downstairs, jumped on the Internet and started research. I had myself convinced it was a fibrous cyst. Fibrous cysts are common for a 31 year old.

January 9th
I called Dr Costa's office and talked with the nurse. She suggested I see the doctor.

January 18th
I saw Dr Costa for a breast exam. She seemed surprised to find the mass. Dr. Costa said she wasn't sure what the mass was. I asked her "Do you think it's cancer?" She said "I would be shocked if it is cancer."

January 19
I had my first mammogram followed by a long ultrasound. The radiologist came in and told me to make an appointment with a breast specialist for a breast exam and a biopsy. At this point I was starting to get nervous but I still felt optimistic that everything was going to be fine.

January 24
I had my first appointment to see the breast specialist Dr. Lilly. Joe offered to come with me to my appointment. I told him to take off when i had the biopsy the next day. I thought he was going to do a breast exam like Dr. Costa. I called my friend Kate to see if she could come with me. As I said before I'm a hypochondriac and I don't do well with medical terms. Kate is in Nurse Practitioner School at OSU and has been my friend since I was in first grade. So we went to lunch with friends before the appointment. I was still feeling very confident that things were going to be alright.
Dr. Lilly came into the exam room, did some routine doctor things like listen to my heart and lungs then did a breast exam. I was scared. I am still shaking as I am typing this right now. After Dr. Lilly finished he told me he was pretty certain I had breast cancer. I was shocked. A million things started running though my head. How am I going to be a good mom to my kids? How are we going to afford expensive medical care? How am I going to be a good mom to my kids? I repeated that one in my mind a lot. Am I going to die? How am I going to tell Joe. It was hard. Kate seemed in shock too. We sat in the office and hugged. At that moment I wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. I didn't want to put my family and friends though anything sad or hard. I didn't want them to see me upset.
Dr. Lilly came back in the room and did a fine needle aspiration so he could confirm cancer. Once cancer was confirmed Dr. Lilly could order more test to be done. The aspiration was done around 1pm. Cancer was confirmed at 4:00. Joe I went back to the hospital and I was in an MRI machine at 4:30.
We came home and put the kids to bed and started to call close family and friends. It was a hard long night. At 3am Joe and I were both wide awake.

January 25
Dr. Lilly called at 8am with the MRI results. They had seen cancer in my limphnodes on my left side. On my right breast they saw two suspicious areas that needed to be biopsied. I was due to be back at Riverside Women's center at 1pm.
Joe and I took the kids to school and made their teachers and guidance counselor aware of what was going on. I could not calm myself down. I was fearing the worst. I had myself convinced I was going to have cancer throughout my whole body and I would be dead in 3 months. Lucky for me Dr. Lilly had given me some Zanax (an anti anxiety drug) to calm me down. Joe and I both took one.
Joe and I went to the Riverside Women's Center. I had the biopsy's of my limphnodes done first. They were unable to biopsy the right breast because the suspicious tissue was too deep in the breast. They scheduled me for a MRI guided biopsy. The radiologist took Joe and I back to her office to look at the MRI and ultrasound imaging. The mass on my left side looked SO big. It was freaking me out. Thank goodness for Zanax. She also showed me the cancer in the lymphnodes. She removed about 5 of the largest cancer filled suckers.
On my way home I e-mailed a friend who had breast cancer. She came over and we talked for about 2 hours. It was very calming for me to talk to someone who had been though and survived breast cancer. She was very honest with me about chemo and radiation treatment details. I appreciated that. I was so scared of the unknown.

January 26
I usually volunteer one day in Jacob's classroom so I decided to start the day with some normalcy and go to the school. It was so nice to not feel like a cancer patient and just be a mom. I had fun playing puzzles, reading books and enjoying Jacob and his little friends. It was so strange to spend the whole day without my kids. I kept reminding myself that these testing days will soon be over. I was sick of going to the hospital.

Kate came with me for the MRI guided biopsy of my right breast. I was not looking forward to being pushed back into the MRI machine. They had to biopsy two different spots and put markers on the masses so they could be identified later. It was painful. The masses were deep in my breast tissue. The doctor numbed the area but it wasn't enough. To make matters worse I was stuck in the MRI table and I couldn't move. I was so glad when it was over. Once I arrived home I was exhausted. Kate went to pick up Jacob and I went to take a nap. I needed it. I had not slept since Monday.

January 27th
I had to be at the hospital at 7am for the last day of testing. I had to have a bone scan and a CT scan to make sure cancer had not spread anywhere else in my body. I had to wait 3 hours for the radioactive medicine to circulate though my body. My friend bought me a Kindle Fire so I curled up on the hospital bed with a warm blanket and played with my new toy. It is a pretty cool device and it will be perfect to take with me for hospital visits. It was great to have my mind occupied with Pinterest and a good book.
I spent the rest of the day at home with my mom and Jacob. It was a fun afternoon. We ate lunch, played games, and watched TV. I knew doctor Lilly would call sometime with test results. At 7 Dr. Lilly called. I was so scared of more bad news. Dr. Lilly said I have a very common and treatable form of cancer. I felt relieved, almost like I won the lottery. I slept better Friday night.

January 28
I am an assistant wedding photographer. I love my job. I shot my first and last wedding of 2012. I told Steve (my boss) I will be available next year. It was hard to leave knowing that I had to give up something that I love. I cried as I walked back to my car.

January 29
Today I feel thankful. I have felt love and support from family and friends. I am thankful for my supportive husband and healthy beautiful children. Joe is an amazing person. I am lucky to have him in my life. I feel so blessed to live in a great community with wonderful caring people. I'm thankful for modren medicine to cure my cancer. I know I have a loving heavenly father who knows me and knows my needs. I have felt his spirit has been with me, caalming me and telling me that things are going to be ok.
It is hard for me to sit and talk about having cancer. A note on my blog, a text, an email, or a prayer on my behalf is always welcome. My hope is that we can have normal conversations like we did before. If I feel like talking to you about my cancer, I will bring it up. If not please do not feel offended. We will choose an oncologist next week. I will update when we know more. Here are a few awesome notes I received this week. They were the highlights of my week.