Sunday, August 3, 2008

The nuts and bolts of my breast cancer

People keep telling me my type of breast cancer is very treatable. I guess that makes me feel a little better. But not much. It's definitely made my family feel better which is really all I can ask. I know things could be much worse and I'm thankful it's not. However, I still feel I've been dealt a rather crappy set of cards.

Being 40 makes this worse. I guess if I was 39, it would be even more worse. Maybe, who knows.

I'm learning about breast cancer every day, even if I don't want to. See, I'm the Google queen. I Google everything. With breast cancer, I didn't Google it. I was too afraid once I knew what type I had. My brother did it for us, then my husband. Fine with me. I won't be Googling anything about breast cancer any time soon. My ability to be logical and sift through masses of information flew right on the window last Tuesday with my diagnosis.

Anyway, the type of cancer that I have is infiltrating lobular carcinoma and ductal carinoma in situ. It's stage 1, but it's still breast cancer so it needs to be dealt with aggressively to prevent it from recurring in the future.

MRI's are used to help investigate the possibility that the cancer may have moved to the other breast. I had an MRI on Friday and thankfully, the left breast came back clear. What I didn't know, and what is the most important part of this post, is that many types of breast changes are NOT visible with mammograms or sonograms. MRI's tend to pick up texture changes that can be indicators of cell activity, which is what happened in my case.

The game plan is this: remove the right breast entirely. Mastectomy with a reconstruction. I will lose the entire nipple and areola because the lump was behind the nipple. Who the hell knows what I'll have in it's place when this is finished. I have no idea what reconstruction will entail, although we go to visit the plastic surgeon on Tuesday (as well as the oncologist).

I'm on an emotional roller coaster. I guess the depression part of this is starting to hit - I'm don't know. I feel sad all the time, with pockets of neutral at times. My kids still make me laugh, I guess that's good.

I have this very secret hope that chemo won't come in the normal form. I'm praying that because I do have Stage 1, I'll be treated with Tamoxifen. I don't want to me under the weather from surgery and chemo for months. I want to go back to being Steffie and Jackie's mom, taking care of my family, as fast as possible.

1 comment:

mikeschafer said...

Hello -

I sent you a message on the board as well but I don't know how often you check that. Anyway, we have something more in common than just our love for Terps sports.

I have been down the path you are just starting on (still am, in fact) and I wanted to offer my support in any way possible. I too have blogged about my experience with cancer from the start and you can find that at Hopefully there will be something helpful there for you. In the meantime, you're in my prayers.

Be well,

Mike Schafer