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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
June 2010
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    Archive for June, 2010

    The Big Team

    It’s quite strange now to not have a doctors appointment or procedure for three weeks!  As your cancer diagnosis hits, you meet an entire new team of folks with one reason – to treat your cancer and maintain your healthy state for decades to come.  But it’s a bit overwhelming at the same time, confusing to who does what, when and why. 

    Here’s my circle of medical care as helpful reference to others newly diagnosed or their caregivers:

    • Breast surgeon: the one that specializes in operating on the breast
    • Pathologist: the one that identifies, reports and assigns grades by studying cells from tissue samples
    • Genetics Counselor: the one that explains what tests are available and the impact of various results
    • Reconstructive plast surgeon: the one that rebuilds the breast after removal
    • Oncologist: the one that determines best post surgery therapies – the one you see for the rest of your life!
    • General Practitioner: the one that oversees you overall health – annual physicals are critical
    • OB-GYN: the one that manages your general reproductive organ health – annual pap screens are critical

    So, I watch my parents lives that seem to revolve around doctors appointments,  I feel a bit younger than most to have the same schedule now, but I’m all the more healthy now from it!

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    Thank you for a wonderful tear

     I just stopped and had a tear, the wonderful tear of purpose that grounded me once again.   It’s well after 11pm, house is all asleep, and I’m still working at my computer to finish a day that wasn’t as work productive as I had hoped…this came along, perhaps the reason I was still awake.

    I share with you the extreme and  strange overpowering greatness of knowing that bad things can happen to cause good.  So, I take a message from a very dear friend, a comment to me in response to content here…to share with all of you.

    Thank you my darling, you know how much I love you. How much we ALL love you!  Everyone that appreciates the real you, loves you and you are a gem in our crown of friends.  I love you doesn’t say it all. I’m once again speechless.

    So here I share what she writes to me, and I give this message to you all….

    “I’ll never understand why you got it or why anyone I’ve cared about has ever had to hear the word cancer. Since your diagnosis, you showed us there is another approach to coping. Age does not make us invincible. Many of us are now making it a point to stop and smell the roses. Your journey reminds us every day of life is a precious gift. I don’t reply to your posts as frequently but read them daily. You continue to be the example of grace. Life hands us all some frightening unknowns without warning or reason; illness of our own or that of a loved one, financial or emotional burdens, there seems to be no shortage of what we face. Some of your posts really grab me. None of us will know why it happened, it breaks my heart that it did, but I can see what an impact you have made on so many since then. You hope, courage and rose colored glasses helps us all keep things in perspective. There is much to be gained from your entry of “Living Life”. Thank you for that. Tonight this post goes in my gratitude journal.

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    Living Life

    Very early in the process, a deep dive into my genetics was done to see if I carried the genes to be predisposed for breast cancer.  My results came back negative for what they call the BRACA family of mutated genes, which is good for generations to come.   

    But, I like answers.  So as much as I was pleased to have the results of this test come back in my favor, I remained curious.  I just had to ask my oncologist, why did I get breast cancer?  

    I’m sure he hears that question all the time.  But this time, he couldn’t link it to my family history or genetic mutations or other health conditions or age or anything else for an easy “out” answer….he just said that my cancer occurrence is completely random and sporadic….the sort of cancer they can’t link to the “why”.  That I’m too young for environmental factors to have run their course.     Furthermore, he said it’s human nature to want to either blame yourself or to get a answer to the question of “why”.   This makes me comfortable in loving the way I lived life before cancer …and it makes me continue to take it to the fullest!

    But you can’t help take more note of things that are unhealthy in general.  We all hear about the “scare” in certain things —cell phone waves, shower curtains inhalants, plastic water bottles cehmicals..the list goes on and one.  Each story created around just how damaging things are to our bodies in general and the doom to come…and in my research I can name 100 things I could have changed in fear of getting breast cancer, but I would NOT have lived life.   For example, the list of top toxins in costmetics are in 95% of the products in our home, and I’m pretty sure they are in your home too.  From my best lotions down to the J&J baby lotion we all grew up in. 

    For me, I need to get used to the fact I will never know why I got cancer and just live life with health in mind!

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    Reconstruction Continues

    Last night, I had my first round of “implant inflation”. 

    I has selected saline implants tied to what seemed like a lot more flexibility on sizing and I’m pleased that I did.  This has allowed me to stay “smaller” than before to help with healing of incisions, and then comfortable scale up.

    I’m not going bigger than my natural figure, but it is strange to have the option to add or remove saline until I feel I’m at the size I want.  Who knew? 

    A few more stages before I’m done, and then in a strange way, this phase of treating the scars of cancer is behind me.

    Sleep Pattern Changes

    One thing I’m noticing and am not sure if it’s tied to the hormone therapy,  is a change in my sleep pattern.  For most nights, I’m waking between 3 and 4am and finding it difficult to get back to sleep.  I’ve always been a solid sleeper, so it’s a bit strange.

    I’ve done some looking into what other people have experienced on the hormone therapy, and quickly can see that I’m really not feeling any of the common symptoms of fatigue, hot flashes, mood swings ….well…not mood swings more than normal me :)

    So far, the toughest thing is to remember to take the pill each day!  But also maybe that my taking them at night has timed well with my body clock to sleep through any adjustments.  But equally, I’ve heard many many others that have experienced nothing at all.  So, the sleep pattern change could be nothing to do with Tamoxiphen at all.

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