test, scan, poke, prod

After hearing the words “breast cancer” late on a Friday afternoon at the end of January, I spent a long weekend with thoughts racing around in my head.  Surely, I can’t handle one more challenge. I’ve had enough!  2014 was going to be my year to fly.  By far, the hardest first step of this journey has been the waiting; sleepless nights with my wild imagination getting away from me.  I’ve had to remind myself to pause, wait for the facts, don’t let the emotions get me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my breakdowns in dealing with the news of my breast cancer.  It gets overwhelming at times, but I have to remind myself that this is one of those journeys best taken one step at a time.  Looking too far ahead is an unnecessary burden.  Tons of tests and scans, pokes and prods took place over the past two weeks.  A dizzying number of appointments, in fact.  Results are coming in and decisions need to be made.  The bone scan, which revealed suspicious spots, necessitated a PET scan. Another Friday test, and another long weekend full of fears of metastasized cancer invaded my overactive brain.  Monday’s call brought good news and one small victory.  No additional malignancies were found on any of the scans!

I am finding myself in an odd sort of time warp.  It is all happening really fast, yet time is barely creeping along.  There is so much to think about, yet not much time to process it all.  I am ready to move forward towards my cure, whatever that entails.  The goal is simple – get the C word out of my life so I can get back to living it.  I have so many wonderful adventures on my horizon, and I can’t wait to get on with it.

I am thankful for all of the love and support flooding in from my family and friends.  And margaritas; margaritas help…

first step on an unexpected journey

2014 was my year to reclaim myself.  Simplify.  Move forward with new adventures.  My goals were simple.  Shed toxic forces that were holding me back and the feeling that I was losing myself.   Slow down.  Reduce stress!  Rediscover the things in life that give me joy.  Claim more time with my children, more time to travel, play, explore.  My travel bug was itchin’ for new adventures.  Time to break FREE!

What I didn’t anticipate for 2014 were the words I heard on the phone on January 31st.  “you have breast cancer.”  Shock.

It is a less common type of breast cancer, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma, which, unfortunately, is not easily detected by mammography.  I had concerns in August, but my Mammogram came back normal, so I put it in the back of my mind.  By January, I knew I needed to go back.

The last 2 weeks have been a blur of tests and consultations.  I don’t have the full picture yet.  What I do know is that the tumor is large, at least 5 cm (golf ball size).  They suspect it may be in the lymph nodes, and there are spots on my ribs and shoulder blade, but we need further tests to determine if these are malignancies.  Also, based on my strong family history of breast cancer, they highly suspect the BRCA 1/2 gene mutation, so I did genetic testing.

Even without all the tests completed, we have started to develop a treatment plan.  I have met with a multidisciplinary team of doctors.  I am facing a total mastectomy, and possibly will opt for bilateral mastectomy based on the family history.  If I do surgery first, I will recover for a month and then go through 3-6 months of Chemotherapy.  Another month to recover and then 6 weeks of radiation followed by reconstruction surgery.

 Clearly, this was not the journey I was craving in my dreams when thinking about rebuilding a simpler, happier me for 2014…

But, as they say, “be careful what you wish for”.   I may have found myself taking the first step on an unexpected journey.  Scary as it may be, I am going to take this journey, one step at a time, and do what I can with it to grow as a person, and gain perspective and strength.

Wish me luck, or as I’ve learned to say lately, wish my doctors luck.