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Dates and Details

February 25-Mammogram
March 15-MRI
March 19-Core Biopsy
March 23-Cancer Diagnosis
April 14-Double Mastectomy
May 24-Oncologist Meeting
June 7 - Starting Tamoxifen Therapy
August 25 - Reconstruction Surgery
August 27 -Yale Second Opinion
August 31 - "Reconstruction" Complete

It has been confirmed:
No Chemo or Radiation is required

Feb.1 The Story Starts
February 2010
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    Archive for February, 2010

    Beauty of Cancer – Time

    Quickly I was almost seeing too much beauty in cancer…beauty in the spring blooming time of year that it came to me, my age and health, my non stop will to fight —and overall, I just feel lucky to have these “10 days” and more to plan, do a mental check, drop to the lows to deal and overall, to not just “be taken”. 

    If I had to go right into the hospital for some reason, I would have worried about everything from the bills being paid on time, to meeting business commitments, to the closets not clean enough, to that often laughed about worry – will you have a good bra and underwear on when such a tragic day hits!!  

    I by no means want to make light of a looming cancer diagnosis and the hell you go through in that waiting for results, but my advice is only tied to how I dealt with it – I faced it as a fact.  If I have cancer, I’m in control because of the planning I did in advance…I WILL NOT be taken off guard.  In fact, I started to thrive on my ability to gain control mentally, emotionally and even physically over cancer….before I had to face it.

    And rest assured, I love that I get the chance to go in for less than ideal hospital stay – but my nails and toes will be wonderfully manicured, eyebrows perfectly shaped, face freshly facialed and my hair…well, in a state as if I was born blonde :)

    Again, those that know me don’t doubt my approach…for visitors that are looking to help themselves or others by reading my journing…look beyond the disgust, see beauty in preparedness, and take time to feel your BEST before you even step foot to any doctors appt or to the hospital procedures or to chemo or to raditation.  A simple swipe of lipstick or a set of high heels can change your day but changing your mindset.  Again, perhaps just a distraction techinique, but it worked for me…albeit one person, but I want to share if it only helps one other person (…and hope it helps more of course!)

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    My First “10 Days”

    As part of the planning, I jumped right into the segmentation of time I had on hand.  So between the mammogram and the appointment with my breast specialist / surgeon, I had 10 days.  I mentally earmarked that time to do the deep dive into “life housekeeping”.  I looked at my to do list … and anyone that’s even worked with me know that my lists are endless, partitioned by the must-do deadline drive, the important to do, the nice to do, the personal do…and the dreamer to do aspirations. 

    The list served again a new purpose.  In 10 days, where was my priority to lay? Where do you focus first knowing you may receive a cancer diagnosis in 10 days?  What do you not only need to do, but what do you want to do?  — TEN DAYS, a finite plan for the consummate planner, it was a new map. A road map that did not look ahead decades, but one set of 10 days.  The new plan, the new beginning started to take shape.

    These days were filled with everything from sorting the file cabinet, to changing documents / accounts from my maiden name,   …it’s been over 10 years, time to really be Sue Ennis everywhere, no doubt.  It went on to looking into what’s sat on the to-do list for just too long, and what was there that just went to the trash…a new found sense of what’s most important made the process quite robotic. 

    I share this first “10 days” as a way to help hopefully another.  It was a wonderful distraction from the obvious looming cancer diagnosis.  It was no time to feel sorry for myself, but rather, to prepare myself for a undertaking like no other.  How does Sue Ennis replace her existence for 12 months or longer if it was necessary?  Tough to swallow for sure, and I don’t share and type not feeling like these were the WORST days of it all.  BUT, this exercise put me in control of everything that I knew I had no control over.  The terrible thoughts kept coming, and I only would counteract them with the beauty I could see in it.  When the beauty was tough to find, I did not stop.  Each and every thought was added to the plan.

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    The Optimal Mammogram Center Experience

    Never having had a mammogram, I had no idea what to expect –other than the “flatten your boobs like pancakes” description we as women hear often enough.  So my morning routine changed a bit as I was sure to not put any powder, lotions, deodorants or perfumes on.  Having read that those can interfere with the images taken, I wanted to make sure my films were not tainted in any way. 

    So, I walked into the Woman’s Advanced Radiology Center in Trumbull, CT and was warmly greeted by the team.  They explained the procedures and already cautioned me that additional testing might be needed, and that was past the diagnostic referral my doctor has submitted.  They were informing me in advance, and assured me that would be done to get the best accuracy of imaging because of my dense breast tissue.  They added in, “It further tests need to be done, it’s nothing that should scare you”.  I did start to feel the nerves set in.  But in true Sue Ennis style, I brushed the emotions to one side, and focused on the nicely appointed waiting room and became engrossed in the days news on the TV.  Then it was my turn to step behind the waiting room door.

    The door opened to what I can only describe was the closest spa feeling that a mammogram center could deliver.  I changed into my soft robe,  had my own locker and changing room with magazines, brochures on the procedures and even a lovely gift sachet with trinkets – a nice touch!  —and immediately soothing and my nerves calmed.  Quickly went from there to the “tea room” where the assortment of beverages and snacks, again made me forget the reason I was really there for. 

    My name was called and for the next nearly two hours, I went from radiology room to radiology room…with a stop in the tea room in between – such a treat and a moment for me to recollect before the next step.  My diagnostic mammogram, went to the digital mammogram and then to the ultrasound.  Each person that ran my tested equally as great as the prior, a team seeped in compassion, trained and skilled, and with a mission statement on the screen savers, I could not stop seeing it from a business perspective…they deliver what the patient needs, above and beyond the incredible technology.

    Why all the details on this center delivery of ”my experience”?   The little things from this day onward became big to me and I started to just find the beauty in everthing.   Feb 23 could go down one of the worst days for me, but rather, I look back on it as a lovely experience!

    I went through every test…trying to keep control which I did just up until 5 minutes before I left with the “films”.  The breast specialist was clear that needed to get into see a breast surgeon as soon as possible.  I knew then in my heart, I was in for an ordeal and the possibility of breast cancer was imminent.

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    Live Your Life Like A Story Worth Telling

    In our kitchen, big and bold printed on the wall is “Live Your Life Like A Story Worth Telling” — always my motto and now with greater, new meaning. 

    Rather than ask, “Why me?” – I started to think, why would I be given this…what’s the story? 

    Well, hindsight is now 20/20 already as I try to fill in the pieces from the start.  But stay tuned and watch what I know will be one story worth telling!  A New Beginning.

    Privacy – Mission Critical

    As one mind does, you immediately have the most awful thoughts pop into your head.  To me, at this point, no one other than my husband knew anything.  Privacy was the utmost top priority for me.  Until I received all the details, and until I was in control of the situation, no one was to know. 

    My husband was not surprised.  He knows that I’m also a “look at the bright side of things” person to the core.  This time was no different and this was the toughest one to see the beauty in. 

    Until I could feel in control, others needed not know.  In the back of my mind, I hoped this would have all turned around differently, but I had to prepare for the worst.  I’ve always been a planner – my 5 year, 10 year, 30 year and 50 year plans never had the thought of cancer at the age of 37 in them. 

    So, in the darkness of privacy, I started my new plan, my new beginning.  As I continued to live life as normal and conduct business as usual…I was consumed by the stealth plan in development.

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