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.

One thought on “first step on an unexpected journey

  1. Sue –
    I JUST got done reading your book and what an amazing journey it has been for you! My neighbor lent me the book to read. My neighbor is my Aunt Carol Murphy – of course Mother to Sue, Deb and Mary. Over the last few years Carol has kept me informed of your journey but I was excited when she told me that you had written a book so I would be able to fill in the gaps. You are an amazing woman but as you said many times what other choice did you – or anyone else dealing with cancer – have. Take it on or be taken!

    I’m sure that you know that we live on Easy St (literally!) here in Fremont. My life is great right now – just got married for the third time on May 29, 2015 to the one – FINALLY!!! We both have good jobs, have a weekend place in Wild Rose but I’m not obviously to the fact that at any moment, for any reason, that could all change. Cancer isn’t prevalent in our family, mostly heart issues, except for Cousin Sue, and we are truly thankful for how minimal that was, as far as cancer goes. She’s had her share of health issues and didn’t need another one on top of those but as they say God only gives you what you can handle but enough already!

    One question about the book that I do have is is this – is Cousin Mary getting royalties from it? Numerous mentions of her and pictures too – she’s probably looking for a cut….

    Thanks again for sharing your story. And I sincerely mean this – TAKE CARE!!

    Sister cousin of the Murphy girls,
    Shawn Kalbus

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