Wednesday, January 30, 2008

1/30/2008: CTScan Results

The CT-scan showed nodules in my lungs. The surgeon doesn't seem very concerned with these considering most healthy people have nodules in their lungs. He said he would check them again in six months after my treatment.

The MRI showed SOME contrast in the tissue in my upper left breast. This means that the cancer is in the tissue there. (Now, which came first, the tumor or the infected tissue? They don't know.) They are now 99% sure this is breast cancer.

They have found NO tumors, but want to schedule one more test, the PET-scan,in order to rule out any more growths that would require surgery. The surgeons office is currently scheduling this for me.

I meet with my oncologist tomorrow afternoon and will determine treatment. I will be starting it immediately. After I start, my surgeon said he may want to do a punch biopsy of some tissue in the left breast in order to get a better handle on what we are dealing with here.

So, that is the latest and it looks fairly promising. I will keep you posted as I find out more.

Friday, January 25, 2008

1/25/2008: Mammogram Results

FINALLY!!! I just finished my mammogram and ultrasound and they came back CLEAN. The ultrasound showed the fluid I have under the incision and a blood clot or two (which I felt this morning and thought were new lumps), but the radiologist said that was normal and the body would take care of that. Now, the radiologist did explained that because I am so young that the mammogram is not 100% accurate, but that the MRI will give them a much more detailed picture when I have that done tomorrow.

They told me that I must be a real trooper and have a high tolerance for pain to get through the mammogram and an ultrasound with my incision without making a peep. I sure was sweating though when they were pushing and squeezing my boo-boo ... I'm not going to lie. When they were working on my left side, I was feeling the pain.

Anyway, I survived it and I am happy I had it done because the results are VERY promising. It would be ideal to not have to have more surgery and just be able to jump into my treatment.

Keep the positive thoughts and prayers coming, please!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1/23/2008: Good, Bad and Unknown

I had my appointment with my surgeon this morning and there is good news, bad news, and still a lot of unknowns. Apparently, it takes between 10 to 14 days for them to run the tests of the tissue and cells that are from the tumor they removed. They are 95% positive that this is breast cancer, but need to wait for the final results from the testing of the tissue/cells to help them categorize the type of cancer and the extent of the damage it has done. Until then, my surgeon said he wants me off of my birth control, which isn't the cause of the tumor and cancer, but apparently the estrogen can cause the tumor/tissue to grow more rapidly and in case there are other tumors, then I need to be off of the BC.

My surgeon did another breast exam and said he is almost 100% positive that we have gotten all of the cancer and that there are no more tumors. Also, the numbness in my arm is temporary and the shooting pains I have been getting up and down my arm means that the feeling is starting to come back. He said it could take about 3 months for it to be back to normal. Good news!

My incision is causing me some issues. I woke up this morning with what I thought was a new lump and lets just say I was hysterical. I ended up having a panic attack on the floor of my shower. I have fluid that has built up around the incision that needed to be drained. (It was pretty painful. I cried through it while my surgeon held my hand.) He said for me to come back in if it happens again. Let's hope it doesn't. The stitches are out though and it already feels a lot better!!!

Now, I have my MRI (Thursday), CT Scan (Thursday) and mammogram (Wednesday/today). Next week, all of those results should be in along with the extensive testing of the tissue/cells, so I can speak with my surgeon again (Monday afternoon) and meet with my Oncologist (Tuesday) to determine a plan for treatment. My surgeon said depending on my diagnosis (exact category of cancer), that will determine the treatment, but he is thinking I should have the standard 16 weeks. He said to basically consider the first 6 months of this year a bust and then life should be better than it was before. Remember how I was sick all the time? It was because of this. I should feel better than I have ever felt before. Good news, yet again.

Please keep my family and I in your prayers and please know how much I appreciate the texts, e-mails, phone calls and visits. I will keep you posted as I know more.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

1/19/2008: The Diagnosis

I have been diagnosed with cancer. (Let that sink in for a second.)

They are not 100% sure what kind of cancer, but are leaning toward breast cancer. Let me bring you up to speed ...

The week before Thanksgiving, I found a lump under my armpit. The doctors said it was a swollen lymph node that had probably reacted to a bad cold that I had at the time. They told me if it increased in size and had not gone away in two weeks to then come back. I went out of town for the holidays and the lymph node/lump grew three times the size (6 cm) and became more painful/unbearable. I called my doctor upon my return from Miami and was sent to a surgeon. He did an exam and decided to do surgery immediately.

The tumor had grown inside the lymph node and was the size of a hockey puck with a smaller pea-sized tumor on top of it. They did a frozen biopsy while I was still under and it showed cancer cells. My surgeon was sure to remove the entire tumor. They suspected that the cancer was lymphoma considering that it was growing inside the lymph node, but preliminary tests show that it is more likely breast cancer. It could be that this is the only tumor and for some reason it decided to house itself in the lymph node under my left armpit, or that there is another tumor in my breast that branched into the lymph node. My surgeon said they could have gotten it all and hope that they did, but they have to assume that they didn't and that there is more. That means more tests and imaging.

I have a mammogram, CTScan and MRI scheduled for this coming week which will show if there are more tumors. (Fingers crossed that there are NOT.) If there are no tumors, then I will start treatment. (Depending on the cancer and the amount of it will determine my treatment.) If there are more tumors, then I will have more surgery and then undergo treatment. Either way, I have to be "zapped" (which is the term my surgeon uses). He is really amazing and has been so proactive about moving quickly and getting this stuff early.

I am trying to focus on my new job with Gannett and my thesis course. Staying positive is really important, but it is not easy. I ask that you please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers as I embark on this battle. It will not be an easy road, but I don't plan to let it bring me down. Once all the imaging is complete this week and the tumor has been biopsied further I should have more information to pass along. I will keep you all posted as I know more.