Monday, December 17, 2012

Turning Point

Today is December 17th and I'm at a turning point. This is the first time I have been able to look at all of my lab results and chemo information. It's also the first time I have wanted to write about actually having breast cancer. I have been avoiding this for weeks, not being able to grasp what was happening.  I realize that I've been beating around the bush in all of my blog posts up until now. I don't want to bore you with the specifics but you must remember, this blog is more for me to track the events so I can one day look back at this journey.

As I was getting dressed on Sunday, October 28th, I had discomfort under my left arm and discovered a small lump. The first thought that came to mind was that I might have an infection or be coming down with something. Then I checked my breast and sure enough there was a lump the size of a walnut! Good Grief! When did that happen?

The next day I stayed home from school and called for an appointment with my gynecologist. They got me right in to see the nurse practitioner. She said it might be a cyst but wanted to schedule a diagnostic mammogram just to be sure. I tried not to let it worry me since I had my annual mammogram in January and everything was fine.

On November 1st, I arrived for the mammogram at 7:45 am, thinking that this wouldn't take long and I could go straight to school. Wrong! During the mammogram I looked up at the screen and saw a solid white spot. Everything started falling like dominoes, one procedure  after another. Of course, I was in shock and couldn't believe this was really happening. I was asked to go sit back in the waiting room and someone would come and get me for an ultrasound. The minutes seemed like hours and finally it was my turn. I could see the monitor during the ultrasound as the technician was clicking images of a dark spot. When she was finished and helped me sit up I told her I wasn't going to be able to leave until I could talk to someone. She said she would go get the doctor. At the moment they came back everything happened in slow motion.  I don't remember a lot about what was said except she kept repeating, "I'm really sorry." and the word "biopsy". I managed to call Richard and asked him to come to the hospital.

After the biopsy they said that a surgeon could see us. They named three people and one was my sister's surgeon! Carol had a lumpectomy last December, followed by chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy. So we drove to the other side of town where the surgeon explained that I would probably see an oncologist to begin chemo first. It would be necessary to shrink the tumor before surgery. She scheduled a bone scan, ct body scan, lab tests, and breast MRI for Friday.

I was scheduled to see the oncologist on Monday, November 5th but she had to reschedule due to a death in the family. It was the most intense period of time in my life. Finally, on Wednesday, November 7th, we met with my sister's oncologist, Doc Esther. Carol was there, took awesome notes and wrote a summary of the appointment on her blog. Up until this point I had only glanced at it once. But now I'm ready to own it.
I've completed two chemo treatments and had my  follow-up appointment today. Doc could hardly find the lump under my arm and the breast tumor is softening as it shrinks. The Neulasta injection did it's job and all of my lab results were perfect. We're good to go for the 3rd chemo next Thursday.

Now I'm ready to focus and fight like a girl!