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Dates and Details

2010:
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
May 2010
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    Archive for May, 2010

    6 Weeks Post Op

    As more time goes on, I realize such changes week to week in this recovery.  I know there are many visitors that are a few weeks ahead or behind me with their procedures .  So, with 6 weeks since surgery, I wanted to share some milestones and information that might be helpful.

    As of this week, I can comfortably reach the second shelf of our kitchen cabinets in terms of “stretch”.  The complete numbness in my chest is slowly starting to reset as the cut nerve network heals.  My incisions are just about completely converted now to ”scars”.   Many people don’t realize that the mastectomy incision runs straight across my chest from under one arm left straight across to the right — in two parts, with a three inch gap left uncut in the middle.  So, at this point,  I still am not able to twist my torso, for example looking over your should in your car while in reverse – not possible right now.   

    My energy level is going higher week by week, but I’m still so easily exhausted but a quick rest and I’m back for more.  Pain is gone which is great.  But, it’s been replaced by ongoing “discomfort” …..mainly just tied to being in the middle stages of the breast reconstruction.   But again, this is all temporary, and many have told me it’s just time and this all goes away.

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    Signs You Just Find

    In March as the cancer diagnosis hit, Bruce and I went to kiss our sleeping girls good night as part of our usual routine.

    Kristi, our 4 year old was fast asleep with a “set of wings” on to our surprise! An angelic sign to me.

    And last night, Kelli our 3 year old, must have found her “wings” after we tucked her in earlier just in pjs!…another sign that made us smile so I thought we’d share this sign with everyone else .

    Look for the signs, regardless of what you face, they are all around you!

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    What “Cancer” Is

    The simple definition of cancer is “a disease in which abnormal cells grow in an uncontrolled way”.  I’m not sure about you, but I did not realize that “cancer” is really a generic term used for over 100 conditions. 

    So, for clarity sake, “my cancer” is (or I guess I might say was) called DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ). 

    This type of cancer is typically noninvasive and some consider it actually not cancer, but a “pre cancer” sign.  However, in my case, my DCIS was the less rarely seen aggressive invasive DCIS breast cancer.  

    Let’s put it this way,  my cancer’s ”nuclear grade” was the highest number possible on the scale…to put it against the numbers.   The cancer has spread through “two quadrants” of my left breast…that’s half a boob to put it bluntly! So again, it’s all just comes together as amazing that we were able to act on it before it spread further.

    But it’s gone now, farewell.  

    I’m still trying to work on my cancer terminology in terms of how I describe myself…cured? cancer-free? survivor? – none click with me.  Honestly,  I do not wish to be known by ”having had cancer” or “recovering” or ”still treating”…..

    I guess I just worked it out as I type, it’s just Sue still, to me and in turn to everyone else that knows me.

    So ….quickly “cancer” is becoming more part of my past and at the same time, positively impacting my future.  But I know better, it’s still “Cancer By The Day” and a life long watchful eye …. regardless of how I spin it to myself :)

     

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    Treatment/Therapies Confirmed

    I’m pleased to announce some uplifting news that my oncologist shared with us yesterday.

    With the depth of the breast tissue clean margins and the clean lymph nodes, he confirmed I will require no radiation or chemotherapy!  That’s quite remarkable, almost unbelievable, considering the cancer that was present was wildly aggressive in nature.   A second team of oncologists at Yale will be reviewing my pathology reports before I, myself, can truly believe such good news. 

    As usual, I continue to question everything and take nothing on “face value”.  If you’ve been to this site before or followed the journey for a bit, you know it’s my suggestion to everyone when it comes to your health.  We are all our own self health managers…it’s our body, it’s our responsibility…it does not just lie on the doctor’s shoulders.  OK, I’ll hop off the soap box now :)

    So back to what my therapy will be –  I’ve opted to start Tamoxifen hormonal therapy to further reduce the risk of cancer returning.  One pill each day for 5 years is the plan.  It comes with side effects no doubt, but we’ll see how things go and for anyone reading that’s experienced the side effects, a comment here or a direct email to cancerbytheday@live.com would be greatly appreciated.  The journey continues…. (she exhales and smiles)

    The world could use a cLife!

    I sit here procrastinating versus getting ready for the first oncologist appointment, much easier to type to you all.

    ….and I’m hungry.  I have a house full of the best “super foods” and yet, I can’t think of a thing to make or what I want to eat.  Also, I can’t help but sit here and  remember one catchy phrase (which I cannot take the credit for) from my marketing project arsenal, “What Can I Eat”?  In those days of my career, it was tied to the messaging for people with diabetes and the promotion of a 9000+ recipe diabetes friendly database – world’s largest, by the way. 

    But even for me now, it’s quite helpful with my focus of some elements of an ”anti-cancer” diet or high antioxidant focus….a search of recipes by particular super food and being able to search by any ingredient, meal vs snack  – you get the idea, it’s still a great resource. See for yourself –great for people with diabetes, but great really for all!    Not to  sound just like a good marketer, but the diabetes diet is indeed quite ideal for most everyone.

    Visit www.dlife.com/recipes and join me in healthier eating and an overall better lifestyle in general regardless.

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