Monday, October 12, 2015

MONDAY'S MUSINGS: LEFT TURN INTO THE TWILIGHT ZONE





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.

Cancer.

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.


“A day may come when the courage of men fails… but it is not THIS day.”
– Aragorn


I’m not sure what my posting schedule will be the rest of this year. I'd like to try Monday Musings, at least, depending on how I feel. We’ll see.

15 comments:

Mason Canyon said...

Sia, words fail me. I'm so glad you found the lump in time and you're on schedule with your treatment. I'd wondered about you, but with life's crazy ways I never imaged this was the reason for your absence. You're in my thoughts and prayers, my friend. We're here anytime you can touch base with us just to let us know how you're doing and a place to vent anytime you want. Anything we can do, just holler. Continue taking care of yourself.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sia, I am so very sorry about your news. I had been thinking of you and wondering where you were. Take care of yourself while you go through your chemo. I know it can be an extremely difficult time. I am at high risk of breast cancer myself. My mom is a survivor and my sister died of it almost 8 years ago. I am so hoping you'll be one of the survivors. Do consider blogging--whining is totally okay--because all of us are here to help you through this.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm sorry! What a blessing you found it and everything fell into place quickly. Continued prayers for a full recovery. I know someone who's beaten it by over twenty years, so there is hope.

Jo said...

Thanks for sharing your story Sia. You know I am with you 100%. Wishing you all the best with the rest of your treatment. As Alex says, there is always hope. I also know people who had breast cancer and have been free of it for a number of years. Lots of love and hugs.

Yolanda Renee said...

I'm so sorry for your difficult journey! It's during these times that words fail me. I'm so glad you have such strong support surrounding you! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Your courage will be an inspiration to all of us. Thank you!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you Mason, I know there were many wondering where I was.

I can assure you words failed me, too. All I could do was feel. I think a person goes into shock when they receive news like this--I know I did. Plus, it was such a whirlwind of chaos because I didn't dawdle I jumped into action.

I appreciate the invitation to vent etc here. :-)

Karen Walker said...

Sia, I have tears streaming down my face right this minute so I can't see what I'm typing. As Mason said, words fail at a time like this. So just know I am here. We're all here for you in whatever way you need. You will be in my prayers. Your courage is awe-inspiring and I am so glad you have your husband and sisters and such good doctors. Just focus on your healing and nothing else right now. And whine whenever you need to. Sending virtual hugs.
Karen

~Sia McKye~ said...

Thank you Natalie. No one in my family, both sides, has had breast cancer but now my sisters and nieces have to consider there may be issues. I truly hope not for them. I happy your mom has beat it and sorry to hear that your sister didn't. :(

It is a difficult time and it's tough dealing with all the pieces and not drop any. I have a fabulous medical team behind me and in constant contact with me. I have all the phone numbers so I can also reach out and talk with them any time and for that I'm thankful.

Several have suggested I blog about it. I may or at least talk about it on Monday Musings.

ALEX--Thank you for the prayers. Yes, the way was made for me to be able to get everything moving fast and for that I give thanks. Good to hear about the 20 year survivor. :-)

JO--you made me think when we talked a few days ago and you were right, it's something I should share. :-) Thanks for the hugs!

YOLANDA--Thank you. I don't think anyone gets through tough times well without a strong support system--especially cancer. Some days are harder than others but I'm a fighter.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Aww, thank you Karen. I didn't mean to make you cry. I am very thankful for my sisters and husband. My sisters know when to kick me into gear and when to hug me instead. I need that attitude from them, and both have a great sense of humor and I love it, lol! Hubs is a rock I can hide in when I need it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Oh, what a scary thing! It's not deadly like it was in the past though. Catch it in time and you can still die of old age. And some whining is to be expected. Let it rip.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sia - oh gosh .. what a shock that must have been - but am so pleased to read your post - the positive attitude you've taken and how you are dealing with that word.

Long may your healing go on .. the chemo will be not nice - but you've got support around you .. and you're already healing ... my thoughts, a gentle hug and much love coming your way ... I'll be thinking of you - Hilary

~Sia McKye~ said...

DIANE, it was scary and I'm very happy it's not a death sentence as many cancers are breast cancer (made up of about 10 diseases with different treatments)has made phenomenal strides in cure rates the past 10-15 years. I much prefer dying of old age, happy and content. :-)

HILARY, it was certainly a shock. I can tell you I NEVER expected that diagnoses! It has always been my thought that a positive attitude is half of any battle. It puts chemicals in motion within us to move the body forward from where our mind sees us going or needs to go. A positive attitude will be alert to solutions because one isn't looking down or moaning over and all involved with the problem. I've always found that a positive attitude pushes me past the problem and into solution mode and that's a good thing. :-)

The thing about the surgery is it's done. Somehow your mind gets focused on that as well as the fact you're healing, as mine has been, and forgets that there is still a lot of territory to cover before it's really done. :-) That, I struggle over. Thank you for the hugs and thoughts. I can always use them and I cherish them. :-)

Kat Sheridan said...

I am so very glad to see you here, sharing this news with so many who love you and will be here to support you no matter what. You have an army on your side. I'm so sorry for your diagnosis and so relieved at the good news that comes with it. The hard part--gearing up for it, waiting for a diagnosis--really is over. Yes, there are still mountains to be climbed but now you have a destination, a road map, and a whole team cheering you along, ready to help you when the road gets too rough. I'm here for you, my dear friend. Let me know whatever I can do to help.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I can't even write what I feel. Sending you all the good wishes, prayers and any strength I can. It sounds like you have the attitude, strong will and prognosis to beat it.

Donna MacMeans said...

Sia -

Sending hugs and prayers. I KNOW you'll come out the other side of this strong and healthy. You caught the cancer early and that's an incredibly important thing. Yes, remind your sisters that mammeograms are important because cancer isn't choosy when it comes to finding a home. Thanks for posting this important message.