Here starts Round 2 of my cancer journey.
If you are a part of this group, then you have been on this journey with me before and well, now get to again. Or you are new in my life and I need your support too! We recently found out that I have a new occurrence of breast cancer in my other breast. Seriously. I am pretty sure that the right one felt left out because the left one got all of the attention last time. Yes, I have become quite the comedian with boob jokes. If I don’t laugh, I will cry.
Many of you, I should have called to tell in person, and I am sorry if you are finding out like this, but every time I call and tell someone, I cry and it is exhausting. No one should ever have to tell their parents TWICE that they have cancer. It sucks. So please know that if you are in this group, I love you and value your support in the coming months.
Clinical details: I have a small (4 mm) mass in my right breast, which they consider Grade 1. It was found on my yearly mammogram and then confirmed by a biopsy. It is IDC (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) and ER/PR + HER 2 – (same as last time). Basically that means it is has invaded the milk ducts and feeds on the hormones that my body creates (estrogen and progesterone). I have been taking Tamoxifen for 3 ½ years, which is supposed to block the estrogen receptors preventing future cancer occurrences. Fail. More on that later.
I have a tentative surgery date of Monday, 2/20 for a bilateral mastectomy. Try to kill me once, fine. Try to kill me twice, bye bye boobs. I will then undergo some type of reconstruction over the coming months. We meet with the plastic surgeon on Friday 1/27 to discuss options. I will more than likely not be a candidate for radiation since there will not be any breast tissue to radiate. Chemo is currently up in the air. During my surgery, they will do a Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy to see if anything has spread. They will also possibly do an Oncotype Test where the DNA of the actual cancer to see if chemo would be helpful to stop any future occurrences. So, mid-March, we will know if I get to experience that. Chemo scares the hell out of me. I hate feeling helpless and sick and not in control. But, we will cross that bridge if needed.
Following the medical treatments, there is usually some kind of hormone therapy to help prevent future cancer. I have been taking Tamoxifen. Apparently, it does not work for me, which really stinks because it causes all kinds of side effects that I have lived with (it is supposed to put your body in menopause – hot flashes, extreme fatigue, and many others which are so unfun.). Unfortunately, it is really the only medication that is given to premenopausal women with my type of cancer. My cancer feeds on estrogen so to stop the estrogen production my body has to either medically be put into menopause to stop the estrogen production by having shots every month or every few months. The other option would be to surgically remove my ovaries and possibly my uterus. RUFKM??? It’s bad enough that I am saying goodbye to by boobs, but these too, because there is no way in hell that I am getting shots for how many years until I really go into menopause. So that will mean another surgery come April.
So, though there are may lows, the positives are that I get new boobs and will have no more periods. But it will be a rough process.
For those of you who live close by, when the time comes, we would appreciate help with meals for a bit so that Nate and my family can focus on taking care of me. Someone will set up a meal train. Also, we will probably need help with Jackson at times.
For those of you who don’t live here, please just think positive thoughts and prayers for me. Nate and I greatly appreciate all of your thoughts, actions and support.
I KNOW I am going to be fine, it will just be a process.
More updates to come when I have more information.