Thursday, May 29, 2008


Surgery is over. Everything went very well. They removed 4 lymph nodes and none of them showed any cancer. I will have to wait of course for the official word back from the lab for the nodes and for the actual test on the mass and the surrounding tissue.

I have a portable catheter in my chest for chemotherapy. Of all the incisions, this is what hurts the most. I am back at home, sore and tired, but glad that it is over.

My doctors and nurses were fabulous and I am very happy with the care I received. Special thanks to my cousin Craig who got me a great anesthesiologist and also was there for me when I came out of surgery. He has such a great bedside manner that apparently I wouldn't let him leave! I don't remember this, but do remember him being a big comfort to me.

Thank you to everyone who sent wishes, prayers, thoughts, cards, flowers and food. Thank you to my wonderful parents and husband for waiting patiently at the hospital. Special hugs and kisses to my sister who is still in the hospital with her beautiful babies. I wish I could be there with you. xoxo

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Good News-Squared!

There are not many gospel songs that I know or recognize, but the one that I do love is "Oh Happy Day". Today is definitely a happy day and it is appropriate that the song that is going through my head non stop is a song that celebrates faith.

I received my test results back today and they all came back negative. All of them! No cancer in my bones or anywhere else in my body. No evidence of any lymph node involvement at this point. I am thrilled and excited and grateful and incredibly happy. I know that so many people have been praying for me and it worked! Thank you to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers. Faith is a powerful thing-Oh Happy Day!

As if this wasn't enough good news for one day, I have more! My sister was admitted to the hospital on Saturday to wait for her twin baby girls to arrive. I had one of my hardest days yet on Saturday when she was admitted because I wanted to be there for the birth of my nieces so badly. I struggled hard with the fact that my sister was going through a major life experience and I couldn't help her and that she couldn't be there or help me either while I undergo surgery and recovery.

Today she delivered two healthy beautiful girls with her husband, my mom and me in the room. They are perfect and wonderful and I am so incredibly happy that I could be there to share it with her and be there for my nieces as they entered the world. Rachael and Jillian, your Auntie loves you very, very much. Today is a day that re-establishes my faith in the positive.

Tomorrow I will have my surgery and while I can't say that I am excited to have it done, I can say that I am much calmer going into it now. I know that I have a fight ahead of me, but at least I know the size of the fight now and I know I can do it. Thank you to my cousin Craig for making sure that I am in good hands tomorrow.

I cannot possibly express the gratitude that I feel for all the phone calls, cards, emails, thoughts, prayers and good wishes. Once again I am blessed-Thank you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Yesterday I had 3 more tests to tell me if there is more cancer in my body. I had a PET/CT Scan and a PEM scan. Without going into the down and dirty of each test, they are looking at cell activity to see if the quickly dividing cells of cancer show up anywhere else besides where the original mass was found.

Of course this just gives me more reasons to be afraid. During my PEM scan (basically a high resolution mammogram), they made me go back twice to look at things that they wanted to look at again. While I went through each test, I just had to keep telling myself to breathe. Breathe and remember that this is a good thing. I want them to know what they are dealing with prior to the surgery. Breathe and hope for the best. Breathe and know that no matter what they find I have good doctors that will help me. Breathe and pray for no other cancer. Just breathe.

The girls are in soccer tournaments this weekend-a piece of my normal life....hanging out at a soccer field, hauling chairs, drinks, blankets, talking to other parents. This is part of my life that I very much enjoy. We have been very lucky to make great friends through soccer along with the girls. I never imagined myself as being one of those crazy parents on the sideline yelling and screaming at their kids, but guess what? I am. When Cailey's team was getting stomped on by the other team and girls from the other team were pushing my kid, I started yelling like a crazy person. And I had to tell myself again.....just breathe.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fear and Friendship

Today I had a bone scan. A pretty easy test really (I took a nap while it was running). Friday I have a CT Scan and a PET scan. All of these tests should tell me if cancer has spread to other areas of my body. While I will be glad to know my entire story and what my battle will be, it is frightening to think that there might be more than what I know already. I find that the fear is what exhausts me by the end of the day. The constant barrage of being scared of the unknown is the hardest part. Every ache, pain and twinge that I have frightens me now....."what if....?"

To balance out the fear, I get to realize again what great friends I am blessed with. I had an hour and a half of waiting time in the hospital today. My two friends Pam and Mary made the trek from Kent out to Swedish to wait with me. They brought with them a gift; a blanket. Not just any blanket though. This is the biggest, fluffiest, pinkest blanket on the planet! But what makes it really special is that it is personalized for me with all of the friends names that I have from a book club that I participate in. Did you think book clubs were for talking about books? No. They are for the friends, the fun, the support when you really need it. Thank you to Pam, Lisa, Kris, Mary, Ruth, Tia, Laura, Rhonda and Colleen for being there when I need you. I love you all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Having a Plan

Friends and family,

I now have some kind of a plan. I am naturally a planner so this makes me feel like I have some kind of control over what is happening.

I will have surgery (a lumpectomy) on Wednesday May 28th. I will also have a sentinel lymph node test as well to see if the cancer has moved into my lymph nodes. At the same time they will insert a portable catheter for the chemo treatments into my chest.

I have a surgeon that I am comfortable with and his office has been fabulous in getting me appts with the oncologist and tests etc. I feel like it is the right decision.

After that, I will have about 4 weeks of down time before I will start chemo treatments.

I am surprised and humbled by the people who have reached out to me already to tell me their stories and to offer support. I have heard from friends of friends who have gone through the same thing that I am going through.

Maybe this is what I am supposed to learn from this, that I will have the opportunity to be a resource for other people as these people are for me. Maybe I am supposed to learn that I should start paying more attention to my own health. Maybe I am supposed to learn that I can't control everything in my life. Maybe none of the above.

There is no turning back now. I have to be OK with this decision. I am calmer now that I know that I have a plan and no that I have no other choice. I guess I could opt to give up......but I have never given up on anything in my life and I don't intend to start now!



Monday, May 19, 2008

In the beginning

I wish I could say that I am vigilant about doing self breast exams and that is how I found my lump. That isn't the case though. I found it by accident. I have had mammograms and ultrasounds for several years as I have very dense breasts that are "lumpy".

I had a mammogram and an ultrasound in December that came back with no problems or abnormalities. Because of that I was very surprised when I found a lump on my left breast that was relatively large. I thought for sure it would be a fibroadenoma which is a benign tumor that I had in my right breast about 5 years ago.

I did the right things and went to my doctor who requested an ultrasound and a mammogram. I knew I was in trouble when they started doing an ultrasound in my armpit. For me, this was not usual protocol.

The radiologist was concerned and recommended a biopsy. I had a biopsy done and waited patiently for the results. On May 7th 2008 I received the results that I least wanted to hear. The lump that I felt was cancer. It is stage 2 and measures 2.4 centimeters. It is a grade 3, meaning it is aggressive.

I never knew I was going to have to become an expert at cancer. I thought I was safe. I don't have cancer in my family, I don't smoke, I started menstruating late.....I thought I didn't have the risk factors so I didn't have to worry about it. Boy was I wrong.

Now, here I am at the beginning of my journey. I have found a surgeon and have scheduled a lumpectomy for May 28th. I have been told that I am in for at least a year of treatment, surgery and reconstruction. I will be submitted to chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy. This is the real deal....there is no hiding or holding back now. No one can do this for is time for me to buckle down and deal with the fact that I am the face of cancer.