Saturday, October 10, 2009

Re Labeled

I have not posted in a few days because there really had not been alot to update on & to be perfectly honest I am not a very good writer. I finally received my surgery biopsy results, but before I go into that I''ll catch you up on the recovery progress. It's hard to believe that Monday will mark 3 weeks since my surgery. It seems like it happened so loooooooong ago, but I blame that on the waiting for the biopsy results from the surgery. I am definitely not a patient person when it comes to waiting on things like that, then again I don't think there are really to many people who would I know the first week after surgery was awful, it was not so much the pain as it was I was just plain ole tired of lying around doing nothing. It seemed there was no comfortable position which I could find . To be honest my kester hurt from lying around on it almost as much as everything They took the first two drain tubes out 10 days after surgery and let me tell you oh my goodness that was a pain like no other. I had all 4 of my kiddos natural and it was no where as painful as them taking them tubes out of me. I let out a yell and then the tears began to flow. I think it was very obvious how bad it hurt because apparently my yell was a little louder than I remembered because when I walked out into the waiting room everyone was staring at me, how embarrassing!!! Anyway they took the 3rd drain tube out this week along with my 90 staples ( good lord I looked like a sideways I was dreading the tube being removed so much I sweating and my pulse was racing, the NP told me to relax and take deep breathes that this one would not hurt as bad as the other two did because it had been longer and my body had more time to heal. I thought to myself who's leg is she trying to pull ain't no way that a week is going to make that much of a difference. Boy oh boy was I wrong she pulled that tube out and by the time I felt the small pinch it was already out, whew what a relief!!! Now I am counting down to the removal of the last tube. Hopefully by the end of next week.I however believe that I am going to have to return to the doctor Monday or to the urgent care clinic over the weekend, because I believe I have developed an infection in the sight where the last drain tube was removed. The area has become hard ,swollen ,red warm, and painful. I am hoping I can hold out to Monday and just go to the doctor as it is such much cheaper that visiting an urgent care clinic. But if I develop a fever I am not going to wait or if any symptoms worsen. My arm is doing well according to the doctor. I am able to move my right arm really good considering, it just moves at a slower pace. It still feels like my skin has been removed and raw from th elbow up on the inside of my arm but with each day that feeling seems to subside a little. My chest feels like a rubber band that has been wound to tight but that is tolerable. I have had a couple of days where i look in the mirror and think how could anyone ever stand to look t me again, not only am I boobless but I look as if I have been mutilated, but I am quick to remember that I am alive and have so much to be thankful for. Everyone says the emotional roller coaster is one that all cancer patients go through. So I will take it one day at a time trying to remember to focus on the positive and not the negative. Because there is beauty in all things we just have to find it.
As for my test results, they finally came back Thursday. Once again things were not as we had hoped but everything is the way it is for a reason and I have to trust in my faith, whether I understand why it is that way or not. There were multiple cancer tumors growing, with the biggest one being a little over 4 cm. And 6 of the 9 lymph nodes they took out were positive. The doctor told us that she suspects that there are more of the lymph nodes deeper down that the did not get to that are cancerous..."how comforting"..NOT!! Anyway this all means that my cancer is not stage 2 , it is stage 3 IDC. The 5 year survival rate statistics are 57 %, not the best odds, but I intend to fight and survive this and improve those oddS! I still have to have a chest xray and a pet scan, so depending on those result my cancer status could change again. God I pray that this "monster" has not spread any farther than my lymph nodes! I return to the surgeon on the 20th. In the mean she had had a meeting and put together my team of doctors. I will have an oncologist and a radiologist. I have not met them yet, but those appts. are all in the works so we can get going. My doctor did tell me the plan of treatment is chemotherapy, then a small break to give my body a short period to recover then radiation, and when that is done I will go on a pill for 5 years. What started out as a small lump something the doctor thought was just fibrous tissue has sure turned into one darn complicated, overwhelming at times fight for my life. But I strive to hold my head high, and focus on the good that can come out of this, and am more than determined than ever to beat this so that I can proudly say I am one of many survivors!!! GOD bless you all!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Surgery & Recovery

Well round 1 with this battle is over. Surgery & reconstruction did not go as planned. During the lymphnode part of the surgery they doctors discovered that things were not as previous test had shown. The cancer has spread. Due to it spreading and there now being no doubt that I will have to have chemotherapy and radiation, they did not begin reconstruction because the risk of radiation with implants was not one they were willing to take. I will not be able to get the implants. The only slim chance I have of ever having reconstruction done would be at 1 of 2 centers in the United States at Duke or another center in Louisiana. There is only a small chance that either of those centers would be able to do a reconstruction from fatty tissue in my stomach. Even if they can, they could not begin until all of my treatments are completed. And I am not sure that even if they can do it if it is something I am willing to go through at the end of this battle I am now facing. So for now the whole reconstruction has been pushed aside to concentrate on fighting for my life. I will be have chest x rays and bone scans in the coming weeks to see if the cancer has spread beyond the lympnodes to anywhere else in my body. We are still waiting on the more extensive biopsy results from my surgey, they should be back next week. I will be starting chemo in the next 3 to 5 weeks, followed by radiation. For now I am just waiting to have the last of my drain tubes taken out, as they are very uncomfortable. I am having some pain and numbness issues with my right, arm but these are normal for the surgery I had. Kenny ,the girls, and my mommy have been taking turns caring for me. They also have taken on all my responsibilities around here as I still am not allowed to lift anything. I have spent alot of time resting and recovering. It's hard for me to sit back and let everyone else do everything. I never imagined being my age and having to be bathed by someone else because I am unable to lift my arms enough to do it for myself. Everyone has been so incredible to me! My church and friends have arranged several diffrent benefits for me. I have recieved so many cards, calls and visitors, there have been so many offers to help. I am truly blessed to have so many caring family members and friends in my life.My focus has shifted now to fighting for my life. My doctor looked me straight in the eyes and told me they are going to do everything they can to make me a survivor. So with their commitment and my determination let's get ready to fight and win round 2!!!!!! Cancer may have changed my appearance on the outside ,but I refuse to let it rob me of my spirit on the inside!!!!!!...Please continue to pray for my family ... Till next time...........

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Surgery Date Set

Hello everyone, I have not updated for a bit because I have been waiting till I had all the info. My surgery is going to be on Sept 21st. , bright and early at 7 a.m. I will be in the hospital 24 to 48 hours if everything goes well and there are no complications. After all the results are in it has been decided with the findings of more cancer than the original tumor, that I will be having a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction to begin immediately as long as I can keep my other diabetes levels under 180. I will not know what treatments I have to take until after the surgery. They will be doing the sentinel lymph node biopsy during my mastectomy surgery. I am so ready to get this over with and get on that road to recovery so I can feel normal again. On the other hand as it approaches I worry about I am going to cope with it all when I wake up and my breast are gone. I know that's probably crazy to feel that way, because this is going to save my life, but I can't help but wonder.

I went back to the diabetes clinic yesterday and had all my medicine adjusted. I am back on a sliding scale for my 3 of injections each day and on a standard 35 units, at bedtime of a second insulin. I am glad they finally did this, I know they were trying to keep me from having so many shots each day, but this was the regimen I was on a few years ago that worked well for me. And I am proud to say with me cutting out all the sugar I possibly can, and almost eliminating bread from my diet as well as restricting my carbs to between 9 and 10 a day, and eliminating my one dr.pepper a day I used to have, has brought my sugar down 300 points in a month. And my weight has dropped 18 lbs.

Today is my last day of work, and it has been alot more difficult than I had imagined it would. I thought I would be ok with not working, because I have been ready for some time off but it has been tear filled already. My clients daughter bought me a beautiful new breast cancer hope mug to have my hot tea in this fall while I am recuperating, and a beautiful things of scriptures and a new bible. His wife cried this morning as we talked, she said she knew I would be back but it was just so hard to let go. It means so much to me to know that I have affected their lives in a positive way.

Well speaking of work I need to get back and get a few things finished up. I still have a few things I need to go over with the man that I have hired to work for me while I am absent. Many thanks to everyone who has called and visited me and left me such inspiring messages. Each and every one of you brighten my day!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hurry Up And Wait

The waiting is the hardest part, but on the other hand I am hoping that the waiting is what is giving me the time I need to get other health issues under control so the plastic surgeon will start the reconstruction process immediately instead of having to wait till a later date. Well last Friday I went to have more mammograms, sonograms and the biopsies. It did not turn out as they had hoped. They were not able to nail down the areas that the MRI I had showed, so they were not able to do the biopsies. So this now means that I have to have MRI guided biopsies. From what the doctor said this sounds like loads of fun...NOT... Anyway I am still waiting on the call to tell me when this is going to happen, as the doctor who performs these was due to be out of town this week.
I have caught a terrible cough and cold that I just can't seem to shake, so I think I am going to have to go to the doctor for that. Normally I would just ride it out but as weak as I have already been feeling I am afraid to let it go on. Other than bit of news I am still just hurrying up to wait it seems. I will be so glad when all the test are done and we can get this monster that grows within out of me!!! I'll update as soon as I have more news. Till then everyone take care, and thanks for taking time to travel on this journey with me.....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Alot To Swallow

Yesterday was the day I got to meet with my surgeon, and get my pathology reports. There is so much information thrown at you that it can be overwhelming at times. My one appointment with the surgeon yesterday turned into 3 appointments with 3 different people. By the time the day was over I was definitely physically as well as mentally drained. My pathology reports show that I have stage 2 IDC. My FISH Test was HER2 -, so that was a bit of a relief. The results from my MRI that I had Friday came back while I was actually meeting with the surgeon. Unfortunately it was not as favorable, it shows there are 2 more spots in my right breast where the original cancer was found, as well as 1 spot in my left breast. This means that I am have to have specific mammograms, sonograms, and possibly three more biopsy's on Friday to see if these suspicious areas are cancer as well. Good thing is that at the breast cancer center where I will have these test done work fast and I will have my test results by that evening or early Monday morning at the latest, so the waiting period will not be as long. I also seen another doctor yesterday as they feel it would be a benefit to be genetically tested to see if I carry the BRCA1 or BRAC2 gene mutation. I definitely want this test because if this is the case then it could affect the girls, and I want to protect them. Taking everything into consideration, it looks like I am facing a mastectomy on both sides. I also seen the plastic surgeon yesterday , what fun that was get measured and scoped We are hoping that the first step in the reconstruction will be started when the mastectomy surgery is performed but I have some other health issues that have to be addressed and resolved first. If not then it will be performed at a later date. This has been so much to swallow in such a short time. And some aspects of it weigh heavy on me, but I am trying to look at the bright side. It could have been worse, It will give me life to watch my girls grow, and to grow old with Kenny. And the most positive thing I can think o f is look out y'all I'm getting a boob
On the more serious side of things cancer is a terrible thing. My mommy said to me she wished she could take this all away from me and it be her. And my thought was no mommy I got this and hopefully I have it so that I can spare my girls from it. I know I have a long hard road ahead of me, but everywhere I turn I find so many strong women who have been through this that fill me with hope and inspiration. And the support I have received from family, friends, and people who I didn't even know has helped to brighten my every day. Well I need to get some work done, remember to always show those you love how much they mean to you!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Frusteration In Waiting

The past week has had it's ups and downs. My appetite has dwindled over the past few weeks. And 3 out of 4 times that I actually do eat a decent meal it makes me so nauseated I wish I hadn't eat. But on the flip side I have lost 13 pounds in the last three weeks. Hopefully my diabetes will benefit from the weight loss. It seems my body is also requiring much more sleep than it ever has, I think part of that is from the mental stress as opposed to the cancer.
I got back my test results yesterday from the biopsy. I have tested er+ and pr+, so I was a little relieved to hear that, knowing that my cancer should respond well to hormonal therapy. On the other hand I scored a 2 on my Her2 test, so that means I have to have another test. There is concern over this being an aggressive cancer with me having that score and taking into consideration how fast the lump came up and what size it has grown to in such a short time. I go for the MRI on Friday. I have my first meeting with the surgeon next week, I am hoping that all the test results will be back and we can get the ball rolling and get this "MONSTER" out of me. I have been told I have a hard road ahead of me over the next year. But I am ready to WIN this battle. The waiting is harder than actually comes to grips with the fact I have cancer. I am very blessed though, my family and friends have been such a great comfort to me. Their support and encouragement is inspiring and keeps me going when I am down. I will be going to a 38 work week next week instead of the 50+ hours I have been working for the past year. I will readjust my schedule as we progress in this journey as needed. I am hoping to maintain working some. I think it would drive me crazy not to work at all. But again we will have to wait and see. The next week is going to be the hardest, I am not patient when it comes to waiting! But I guess that is all a part of it, and I will make the best of it!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Newest Member Of The Club Nobody Wants To Be In

This is my first entry into where I plan to journal my journey with breast cancer. I decided to journal about my experience after reading several other women's blogs. It was very comforting for me to know I was not alone in the roller coaster of emotions I was feeling. A lot of you that read this know me, but for those of you who don't my name is Jackie. I am a 38 year old woman, a mother to 4 wonderful daughters, and fiance to the most wonderful man I have ever known.

It will be 2 weeks ago tomorrow that I discovered what I definitely knew was not supposed to be there. The following Tuesday I was sitting in the doctors office listening to him tell me, he was sure it was nothing to worry about. I was so young, and there was no history of a mother or sister who had breast cancer. He assured me it was just probably my body going through those normal midlife changes. He said he was sending me for a mammogram though because I had never had one and I was closing in on the age when you should have them on a regular basis. By Thursday morning I was sitting in the breast care center waiting for my first mammogram. The lady explained to me that they would take four pictures of each breast, then 2 additional ones of the one where the lump was. Boy was I relieved when it was done and there was no pain!! I had heard horror stories of how the mushed and squished you in ways that were as painful as giving After returning to the waiting area, it was not long before the nurse came back out ans said the doctor has requested another set of pictures. ( I was thinking to myself why more? What did he see on the ones we just took?) After going through a million scenarios in my head I figured they just were not as clear as he wanted them so therefore he had decided to retake them. While taking the next set of pictures the nurse informed me that they were going to also do a sonogram, she said not to worry this was something they did on anyone who had a lump just to get a better idea of things. Off to do a sonogram, the girl who was doing it was very friendly and explained everything to me as we talked while she sat her machine up. She started with the lumpy one. About 2 minutes into the test she stopped talking to me, the look on her face was one of "this don't even look right". After a long silence I asked is that area there the lump I am feeling. She replied yes, well it seemed like we spent a good 45 min. looking at that one area from this angel and that. Then we moved to the other side , which only seemed to take 4 or 5 min. She finished up and told me the doctor would be in to speak with me. When he came in he was very to the point. I am concerned with what I am seeing on the mammogram and the sonogram. He said he definitely could rule out a cyst, and felt there was a need biopsy to be performed as soon as possible.First thing Monday morning I was back in the office having a sonogram guided biopsy. They told me that I would know the results by late that evening or early the following morning at the latest. I thought to myself "WOW" these doctors don't play around. Monday had to be the longest day of my life, finally late that evening the call came in. I can remember hearing those words, your biopsy is back and it is cancer, and thinking to myself did I hear what I think I heard. My mind was racing, my kids my family, oh my GOD what am I going to do. My youngest girls stood there beside me with my mommy, anxiously waiting for me to tell them what the results were. I vaguely remember anything else the doctor said, it was as if I was on auto pilot. Yes mam, no mam, thank you..."THANK YOU" for telling me I have cancer. I can only remember hanging up the phone and looking at my family and saying well I guess I was wrong.. I have cancer. And as to be expected the emotions were overwhelming.

Now here I sit 4 days later. Ah, the waiting is the hardest part, I have to have a MRI next Friday, then I meet with my surgeon the following week. I just want to get this process going and get what I call this "MONSTER" out of me. I still don't know what stage I am in or anything more than it's cancer, and that's driving me crazy. The one sense of relief that I did gain was knowing that after 4 months of not feeling well, tons of test that kept coming back negative, and $15,000.00 later , that I am not crazy I really am sick.. ..(Welcome to the club nobody wants to be in!!). Anyway I hope to journal a few times a week here as I go through the steps of beating this !!! I want to keep upbeat here, but I plan to journal about my whole experience the good and the bad. My first entry has turned out to be way longer than I had anticipated.