Family...the ones you live with, laugh with, and love

Family...the ones you live with, laugh with, and love
Summer 2009

Friday, January 29, 2010

The plan of action

Steve, my mom and myself, met with the tumor board today. It was a long emotional day. We were there from 8-4. I was very tired. My head was spinning from so much information thrown at me.

Dr. Gray, my oncologist, showed us the MRI films. The tumor is bigger than we first thought. He measured it at 5 cm and 7 cm in some spots. I was a little surprised as well. He is recommending 5-6 rounds of chemotherapy every 3 weeks, mastectomy and then radiation. I wasn't too surprised because I have been researching this type of cancer myself and it seems like this is the usual course of treatment. There are 2 types of breast cancer, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma which is the most common type and Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. The cancer I have is Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. It starts out in the lobes of the breast, is usually much bigger and doesn't show up on a mammogram or ultrasound.

Dr. Alder is my surgeon. He is going to place a port-a-cath on my left side up near my collarbone. This is to help with the chemotherapy. Chemo is very hard on the veins, so a port will help with this. There is also a bigger vein on the left side that is able to handle chemo a little better. He will also be doing a sentinel node biopsy on the right side to see if the sentinel nodes have cancer. The radiation oncologist, Dr. Ingersol, wants to wait and see if the nodes are affected. If so, she is recommending radiation treatment after surgery. The oncologist is saying radiation regardless, so we will have to see.
I also had the BRCA test done today to see if this is genetic. My aunt (my mom's sister) died at age 46 of ovarian cancer so they feel there may be a mutating genetic gene. If this test comes back positive then a double mastectomy will be done. But for now that is the plan of treatment.

I have a CT scan and a bone scan scheduled for next week to also help with staging. Surgery will be on the 9th of Feb.

Right now I am feeling very overwhelmed and mostly in shock. How can this be happening??
How will I deal with losing my hair and being so sick all the time?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

More tests

Well since I found out that I have breast cancer my life now consists of tests and more tests. I have since had an MRI which was no fun but not painful, and a second look ultrasound. The MRI will help the doctors with staging the cancer. They thought they saw an abnormal lymp node so I also went in for a second look by ultrasound. The Dr. couldn't see any nodes that looked abnormal so no biopsy today. I was so happy. I just didn't think I could take another biopsy considering how painful the last one was.

My case is being discussed with the tumor board. We will meet with the oncologist, surgeon, and radiologist oncologist on Friday to hear the plan for treatment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The day my life changed

It has only been 1 day since my biopsy. The results are supposed to take 48 hours. However since my sister works at the hospital, she was able to intercept my results a little faster. And so I received the dreaded phone call. I was taking Maddie to dance at the time. I should not have been driving my car while receiving such news. I only remember hearing..."Dani it is cancer!" What!! No way can this be. I am too young, too healthy to have this happen. I was crying so hard. I don't even know how I got us to dance without crashing. My head was spinning. I was in shock! Then I heard this sweet little voice in the back of the car say "Mommy you have cancer?" No...oh my gosh, my sweet little daughter was in the car. She was wondering why mommy was hysterical, wondering what is cancer?. Oh how can this happen to her, to any of my kids. I just remember saying, "No sweetie it is o.k." and then dropping her off at dance class.
I just sat in my car for a while in shock and then I called my husband Steve. How could I tell him? I don't even know how I dialed the number. I just remember saying, "Steve it's cancer". He was in shock as well. We had by then decided it was nothing, that it was just a fatty tissue deposit. That things would be all right But now our lives would be so different, so much harder!

I had to drive back to the school to get my other 2 kids. By then it hit me again and I was hysterical. Now they thought mommy had gone crazy. I just remember leaving my classroom in a mess, thinking I just don't care. We drove back to dance class, again I don't know how I got us there without crashing. We just sat and waited for Maddie to finish. I think it was good to sit for a while. I had a minute to start processing what was happening. How my life was going to be different. And then to wonder how I was ever going to do this? But also wondering how bad it really was? What the course of treatment was going to be? Still the question most on my mind is how am I ever going to do this?

By the time we got home it was evident that Steve was upset, he had been crying as well. The boys kept asking us what was going on. Mommy is crying, daddy is crying, they were probably very scared and confused. We promised them that we would tell them everything, but to give us a few minutes. Steve and I took a few minutes to ourselves and we just sat and cried!

After having sometime to process everything, we decided to tell the kids. We sat them down and told them we had some bad news. My little Ethan so kind hearted said, "We already know." Steve and I looked at each other wondering how they had figured it out. Had they overheard us talking? We asked, "What do you know?" And his response was shocking, one I never thought he would think, "You are getting divorced"..."What? oh NO!" Steve and I shouldn't have but we laughed and said, " isn't that bad, mommy has cancer!" I remember laughing. That is probably a first, telling your kids you have cancer and laughing about it. But it hit me that compared to losing my family, cancer isn't that bad. I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband and wonderful kids to support me through this long road.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The day of the biopsy

Today after the long weekend, I went to the hospital at 7:00 am to have the biopsy done. Had I known what I was in for I probably would not have gone through with it. I was put into the same room as the ultrasound. The nurses were very nice and tried to make it more comfortable for me. The Dr. had to numb the area before he could take a sample. Again had I known how painful it was going to be...ahhh. He was able to numb the area and then take some good samples. Just the sound of the machine and the size of the biopsy needle is enough to make me never want to do that again. I was bandaged and iced packed up and sent on my way.
Luckily Steve was able to go with me and drive me back to school. Today was a teacher work day with no students. I am so glad because I was in a lot of pain. There is no way I could keep 24 first graders in line while in so much pain. But at least it is over.
The results take 2 days....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mammogram Day...ugh

Today I went to the hospital to have the dreaded mammogram. The technician was very nice. She made me feel very at ease and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
After doing several pictures, I then went to a different room to have an ultrasound. The technician told me she was looking for any areas that looked abnormal. She had only been there for about 2 minutes and then said she would go get the doctor. I remember thinking. "That can't be good." The doctor came in and looked at the ultrasound but he didn't see anything that looked abnormal, just an area of shadowing. He looked at the mammogram and said that nothing abnormal showed up. But then he did an exam and could feel the mass I was concerned about. He could see and feel enough difference between the left and the right side that he was concerned. He decided that we should do a biopsy. I remember he said to me "if you were my wife I would want to know what that is and won't you feel better knowing?" I am so grateful to him for pushing the issue just a little more because I am someones wife, mother, daughter, and sister and I do need to know.

Biopsy is scheduled for January 19th..ugh

Friday, January 1, 2010

First Doctor Visit

I first noticed a large mass or a thickening on my right breast last June. I did go to a doctor to have it checked. He didn't seem concerned and told me that cancer didn't start that big and that it was probably some sort of fatty tissue. He advised me to go in and have it checked with a mammogram but because I am not 40 and mammograms are not part of a regular checkup yet, the hospital gave me some hassle. I decided I didn't have time for this and so I put it to the back of my list of priorities. However it has always weighed on my mind that something was not quite right.

In December I decided to go into my regular doctor and have another exam. My sister works for my OB so I called her and told her I was coming in for a check up. She seemed a little surprised to see me. She probably thought that I was going to tell her I was pregnant. But I told her that I had this weird area that needed to be checked. I really just wanted to hear again that it was nothing to worry about. The doctor did another exam and said he didn't feel anything suspicious and he thought was nothing to be concerned with. I did feel a little relieved but I think it was the concerned look on my face and me repeating "really...just check right here again." that he decided to have me go in for a mammogram. I still couldn't get away from this feeling that it wasn't o.k. and that there was more to it. Besides that is how the game is played right?! So my sister helped me set up the dreaded mammogram appointment for January 14th.