I know many of you have wondered where I’ve been and why I haven’t been posting. I had every intention of posting after Labor Day and doing my normal blog with guests and all. Unfortunately, my life took a left turn into the twilight zone. I cancelled my guests for September and October.
I was diagnosed with breast cancer, invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), on September 2nd. Welcome to the sisterhood I never wanted to be a part of. My life ceased to resemble anything normal after that.
It’s such a scary word when you hear someone has it and even more so when you find out you have it. Even with the cure rates, which are good if you catch it early enough, there is still an adjustment time of dealing with the word and its meaning. I can tell you that I had to face that basement of fear before I could do anything. Or tell anyone other than my husband.
I found a lump the third Wednesday in August. Being one who is very aware of her body I knew something was wrong inside but not exactly what. I had been pondering over what it could be. In fact I dreamed I had cancer several days before I found the lump. I think my subconscious mind was scanning and analyzing what was going on inside. It’s done it before and has been rather accurate when it does.
My husband confirmed that no, it wasn’t my imagination, there was a lump. He was half asleep at the time and I assure you after he checked, at my request, he no longer was drowsy. “Oh my God, there’s a lump here. You need to get this checked out.”
“I will. I’m going in Tuesday for a mammogram.” I kept it cool and easy when inside I was anything but calm. My heart was pounding. I didn’t even try to downplay it by saying it’s probably nothing because I suddenly knew, for a certainty, it was something.
I had my mammogram August 25th and sure enough, there it was as clear as daylight. I always look at the scans when I have them done and I watch the techs. The tech’s wide eyed look was the only reaction she showed. If I hadn’t been watching her closely I wouldn’t have even noticed. She looked up at me and said, ‘you knew there was a growth, didn’t you?”
Sure did and I had gotten to know it quite well in 6 days.
I told my sisters, first, because they are incredible women and I knew I needed them on my team. By this time I had already walked right through fear and assemble my battle gear and got my mind into battle mode. I knew I was gearing for the battle of my life. I needed, as any who fight cancer, a strong support team so I could kick ass. I had and have no intention of taking any prisoners or being taken.
I saw my doctor two days after the mammogram and had a biopsy on the first of September and the confirmation by the second. It was at least 1.8 centimeters by 2 centimeters. The doctor wasn’t sure whether it was still stage 1 or in the beginning of stage two. It ended up being stage 2, grade 2 and HER2 positive which is a protein based and not hormone based and it wasn’t there two years ago.
Although my local breast center was good I opted to go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the Midwestern facility in Zion, just outside of Chicago, for treatment. One of the considering factors was that particular center has been awarded Breast Cancer center of excellence. Not many breast centers achieve that distinction and there are only about 50 in the United States.
It’s been 18 days today since the tumor was removed. I still tire easily and don't have as much stamina but I'm healing and in pretty good spirits, over all. Just taking it slow and steady.
Pathology reports are good. It hadn’t yet spread to the lymph nodes and is nowhere else in my body, yay. I go in for my first infusion of chemo November 6th. At this point I will be receiving 4 cycles of chemo and perjeta and then a year of herceptin. I have no idea how I will react to all that and it differs from person to person. I’m a bit of a weeny contemplating it. I can honestly say, I wish I didn’t have to do this part and of course I can say no, but I don’t want to have to face this again so yes, I will throw back my shoulders and lift my chin and do it.
I do reserve the right to be to whine, be wimpy, and weak now and then.
The cure rate for this cancer is excellent and I’ve met and spoken with many who have been cancer free for 5 years, several who are celebrating 10 years and two fabulous ladies that marked year 13 and 15. Very encouraging.
Life doesn’t come with guarantees. We all die at some point or another but as Gandalf says, in the Lord of the Rings, “…All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
I don’t choose to waste that time or live in fear.