Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 17/18 update

I had my follow-up appointment with Dr. Schmidt yesterday.   We got there at 1:30pm for my 2:10 appointment.  You would not believe how crowed the waiting room was.  People were standing and sitting in the hallway.  The thing that struck me about that was the amount of women that needed to be there.  2 1/2 hours later, I finally got to see him.  They led Mom and I to an exam room.  Dr. Schmidt did the breast exam and then asked me if I was wanting to do reconstruction.  I told him I didn't want to do that but I had a question about having my left breast off.  So he told me to get dressed and he would be back in.  Well he came back in, grabbed my chart, told me I would be back in March for a mammogram and then led me to the check out.  Needless to say, Mom and I were kinda stunned.  But we figured that scheduling the appointment in March was his answer.  Or maybe I wasn't to that stage yet.  Dr. Schmidt likes to do things in stages and you don't discuss something before you are ready.

So that brings us to this evening.  I am lounging around my house and the phone rings.  It's Dr. Schmidt.  He said "You will think this is crazy, but I just remember you had a question and I didn't answer it".  So we discussed having the left breast off.  He said I didn't have to but he would have no problem taking it off.  So the plan is to go back down there in January for another mammogram and another MRI.  Those who know me well know how thrilled I am about having another MRI.  (They better get that blasted IV right this time).   I will then have my consultation with him and then have the mastectomy in either February or March.

Needless to say, my head is spinning but I truly think this is the right thing for me to do.  So please pray that everything goes right and that there is no snow.  (Mom would appreciate that)

Friday, November 30, 2012

November 30, 2012 update

I had my last radiation treatment today. WOO HOO!!!   I can't tell you how excited I am about that.   As a graduation gift I got a coffee mug with cocoa, tea and 3 Tootsie Roll pops in it.  (I was probably most excited to find out what was actually in the cups)  Now each day when drink my morning coffee, I can remember the wonderful gals in the radiation lab.  They were AWESOME.  I then saw Dr. Logan.  She said everything looked great.  I also got a good supply of every lotion under the sun to take care of my glowing skin.

So now the game plan is this, I have a follow up appointment with Dr. Schmidt on Dec. 17.  I see Dr. Leagre on Jan 11 and Dr. Gupta on April 23. (or at least I think it's April 23, the appointment card is at home).  I have a feeling my life is going to revolve around doctor's appointments for a while.  But if it keeps me alive, I am cool with that!

So if you stop by KHCPL today you probably will see a librarian doing a little of this...

and this

and this

and a whole lot of this

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oct 21 update

It's been a while since I have updated my blog.  It's been a really busy month and every time I have thought about doing it, I have been doing something else or sleeping :D .  Since probably most of you know what has been going on, I thought I would give you the Cliff's (or T's) notes version of what has been happening to me.

Before I begin, I wanted to give a HUGE thank you to my BFF Edie for updating not only my blog, but my Twitter and Facebook accounts while I was down for the count.  She is the bestest friend a girl can have.  You are the tops my friend.  And the passwords will be changed shortly. :)

So buckle your seat belts, it's going to be an exciting ride:

The mastectomy was a success.  Needed more than tylenol right after surgery.  No new cancer found.  No cancer in the lymph node.  Praising God for that.  Drains SUCK.  So do physical therapy exercises.  Moral support was outstanding.  Mothers love to give daughters cleaning advice while they are staying with them.  Daughter is going to get with the Son to make sure his barn is ready for Mother when the time comes.  Dr. Schmidt was downright giddy.  Got to go back to work 2 1/2 weeks after my surgery. A week after that, started preparing for radiation.  Feel like I have The Avengers taking care of my treatment.  Now have a road map where my boob used to be.  

That brings us to this past week.  I started radiation last Monday.  I will have 33 treatments total and I go Monday through Friday.  So I have 5 of those down already.  Woo hoo!  I will say this, radiation is a BREEZE compared to chemo. The only side effect is fatigue.  And that will probably get worse.  (Although Mom keeps tell me I have always been sleepy)

I also saw Dr. Gupta on Monday.  He started me on Tamoxifen.  I have to take this because my cancer feeds off of estrogen.  Chemo started me on menopause, Tamoxifen will push me over the edge.  I told my male co-workers about this on Wednesday.  I do believe they are scared of me now. :D

Keep those prayers and positive vibes a coming.  This cancer is well on it's way to getting kicked to the curb.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12 update

I, Edie the pill pusher, have been asked to guest post for T who was fileted with a surgical knife today. As you can see, she's been kind of busy. She got up at predawn thirty to drive to her surgical destination, so that she could wait several hours for her procedure to begin. Shortly after 8 a.m., she was well on her way to OR to have her front-right lobe, shall we say, sliced and diced into oblivion. A little over an hour later, her surgeon emerged to say, "Everything went great." (He gets paid to work with his hands, folks, not with words. Give him a break.) Now, for once in her life, she can truly say that she is left-leaning.

By the time T reached her awaiting entourage, she was lucid and had full presence of mind. She was pained but famished, so to make the medicine go down, she got a small cup of ice cream which she inhaled. It was followed by a Vicodin chaser which might has well have been water. And to think that the doctor's office had informed her that she'd be fine with just a couple of Tylenol to soothe the pain. You try getting a pound of flesh hacked off and see how you feel. After a toasted cheese which was all that with a bag o' chips which she also inhaled rapidly, she was still greatly pained. I, Edie the pill pusher, encouraged her to ask for more pain meds so she could rest. What good is surgery if you can't slip into a narcotic haze? She agreed that less pain was just the thing she needed, and the nurse gave her a hit of morphine which worked quite nicely. Nighty, night, T. Edie, exit stage right.

Squeamish Alert: Later, the nurse gave T meds on an empty stomach, and that didn't go so well. She tumbled her cookies a couple of times. I, Edie the pill pusher, called and suggested more anti-nausea meds which T started to ask for by the time I got off the phone. (I wonder what else I can ask her to do while she is in her compromised state.)

All that was four hours ago. Of course, I don't know what's happened since then, but I am not going to call T's mom at eleven-thirty at night since she got up so dreadfully early because I value my life.

I do know that T has two drains that she will have to maintain for a couple of weeks. Fun, fun. By mid-morning, T is supposed to be on her way home. Over the river and through the woods may not be the most comfortable ride, so in the words of T, "Keep praying."

By the time I left her, T had some of the color back in her face, and her fuzzy, little head was just as cute as ever. T is a trooper and has done remarkably well. T'ain't no surprise to me. God is her strength. She'll be just fine, come what may, because she knows Whose she is.

In another two to six weeks, she can go back to work. In the meantime, she has some healing to do. I'm sure she'd love it if you sent her card and maybe some chocolate. Perhaps a bag of Jelly Bellys that she could eat in the dark. And remember, those prayers won't be wasted. God bless us every one...and especially our T.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

August 30 update

This has been an eventful week for me.  I haven't made this many trips to Indianapolis since I got my Master's degree at IUPUI.  The fun started on August 22.  I went down to have an MRI, mammogram and ultrasound.  I had the MRI first and then went to have the mammogram and ultrasound.  They did the mammogram first and then after waiting a bit, they told me I could leave.  I asked about the ultrasound and they had determined I didn't need it.  So I went home.  Thursday afternoon (Aug 23), I receive a call from the hospital scheduling department.  They told me that a couple of the films of the MRI didn't come out and I was going to have to come back down there to have them retaken.  I asked how long this would take and they said "10 minutes".  This didn't make the cancer patient very happy.  But since I wanted things to be seen clearly, I knew I had to go back down there.

So on Tuesday (Aug 28), I went back down to have the MRI retaken.  As they were getting me ready, they explained that the contrast didn't go in correctly so that is why I was having to have it retaken.  I made the comment that during the first one, it felt like the contrast was running down my arm.  Their response was  "You didn't tell us about that".  Silly me, I guess I am supposed to know exactly how contrast going in my arm is supposed to feel.  Anyway, they then tell me that the test will take 45 minutes.  I said, I was told on the phone that it would only take 10 minutes.  Evidently, with a breast MRI, it's an all or nothing kind of deal.  I was ok with that because it made the hour drive down and back a little more worth it.  I also learned that you don't believe everything the scheduling department tells you.

So that brings us to today.  I met with Dr. Schmidt.  He was very pleased with how things are progressing.  The tests look great.  They scheduled my mastectomy for Sept 12.  (I will get the exact time when they send me the paperwork in the mail)  I have to go down to St. Vincent's on Sept 11 to have pre-surgery tests done.

I asked if since the tests looked good if that meant the cancer was gone.  He said the only way to know if the cancer was completely gone was to take the breast and one lymph node off and biopsy (or as Mom said "autopsy") it.

That's all I know for know.  Keep praying that things keep going well.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 6 update

Sorry I didn't update yesterday.  I had a lot of celebrating to do.

As you know, yesterday was my last chemo (WOO HOO!).  I chose the shirt pictured above to be my chemo day attire.  It was sent to me by my Twitter bestie Luz.  "Bazinga" is one of the catch phrases from the show The Big Bang Theory (one of the shows I am obsessed with).  Sheldon, one of the main characters in the show, uses "Bazinga" after he plays what he thinks are practical jokes on his friends.  Well cancer, the joke is on you, I am going to beat you. "Bazinga".

Dr. Gupta is very pleased with how I am progressing.  Mom commented that people were commenting on how well I was doing.  Dr. Gupta's response "She's not normal".  I take that as a complement.  :D  Mom response was "I could have told you that."

My last chemo went very well.  I slept through most of it.  That Benedryl kicked me in the butt.

Today I am feeling great.  Being the second day after chemo, that makes me very happy.

I wanted to thank everybody for the birthday wishes and well wishes for the last day of Chemo.  I know all the support, prayers, and positive vibes is what has gotten me through this.

So now I move on to the next hurdle in my journey.  On August 22, I go down to Indy to have a mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI.  Please pray for good results.  Then on August 30 to have my consultation with Dr.  Schmidt.  I will get my mastectomy scheduled that day I am sure.

That's all I know right now.  Going to spend the rest of the week celebrating the start of my 44th year.  I know it's going to be a great one.

Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23 Update

Today I got my 7th chemo treatment.  Only 1 more to go.  I am beyond excited about that.  But we will get to that in a minute.

I started this morning seeing Dr. Gupta.  He was very pleased with my blood work and how things were going.  He told me to continue to give people a hard time (doctor's orders) and to remember to listen to my mother.  Mom really enjoys when he says that.

The treatment this time went about 3 hours.  I was really tired when it was over.  Not sure if it was the Benedryl or sitting in one position for that long.  Needless to say I have been resting this afternoon.  Before we came home we celebrated this chemo treatment with a Big Mac and a chocolate chip frappe from McDonald's.  I haven't had a Big Mac in years and I have to say it was pretty tasty.  The chocolate chip frappe was too.

So in two weeks I not only get my last chemo treatment (woo hoo),  it will be my 44th birthday.  As the  lab tech said last Friday when she realized my birthday was coming up and I told her it was my last chemo treatment too, "It will be the day for 2 celebrations".  That is how I intend to look at it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

July 9 update

Today was the day of my 6th chemo treatment.  I was very thankful that the heat wave finally broke.  It will make recuperating much easier.

I started out the day seeing Dr. Gupta.  He is very pleased with how I am progressing.  We did discuss the tingling/numbness I have been experiencing in my feet and left hand.  It is a common side effect with the new round of chemo I am on.  Dr. Gupta decided to dial back the amount of chemo I got this time and told me to take either vitamin B6 or B12.  Since either one would work, I purchased the B complex vitamin which had both in it.  I figured it couldn't hurt.  I also found out my red blood cell count had gone up to 9.8.  I was very happy about that.  Dr. Gupta told me whatever I am doing to be sure to keep it up.  Mom and I also asked Dr. Gupta if it was ok if I had fair food (somebody had warned us against it).  He said if I liked fair food, to go for it. :)   (For those of you reading my blog not from my area, the County 4H Fair started this week)

My actual chemo treatment went pretty well.  I slept through a lot of it.  I had told Mom before we went  that if I did start snoring to be sure to wake me up.  I didn't but at one point she did wake me up because I had my mouth hanging open.  She said it looked like I was ready to catch flies. :)

After we left we the hospital we ate at Dairy Queen.  I celebrated my 6th chemo treatment with a Peanut Buster Parfait!  It was yummy.

I am very excited that I only 2 more chemo treatments to go!  Woo Hoo!

Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25 update.

Today I completed my 5th chemo out of 8 that I am scheduled to have.  Woo hoo I am over the hump.  That makes me very happy.

I started out the day seeing Dr. Gupta.  He was pleased with how I was progressing.  He said I am still anemic (low red blood cells) but not so bad that I needed a transfusion.  They also looked at the vein flare on my wrist.  For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I developed a vein flare on my left wrist this week.  It was very painful and swollen (not helped by the fact that I am left handed).  I had gone into the office and Barb (my favorite nurse in the world) put me on steroids and antibiotics.  This weekend I noticed that I had another smaller vein flair on my right arm. (They confirmed that it was one today) Anyway, they were happy with how they were doing and I was told I may live with them for a while but they would go away. (Hooray).

I then proceeded to get my chemo treatment.  This week started a new set of chemo drugs.  Instead of getting it in the back on my hand, I got it in the crook of my arm.  I liked that A LOT  better.  Praise God I didn't have any allergic reactions during the treatment.  I did have to chuckle that one of the drugs I got was Benedryl.  The one and only other time I have taken Benedryl was when I was younger and still lived at home.  After taking it then, I feel asleep on the floor and Mom didn't think she would ever get me off of it I was so out of it.  Luckily that didn't happen today.  The treatment did last a little longer (3 hours instead of 1 1/2), but it wasn't too bad.  They did feed me.  The hospital food was pretty good.

 Some of the possible new side effects I need to look out for is muscle aches (kinda like I am getting the flu), possible loss of my nails, and numbing and tingling in my feet.  Needless to say, this should be an interesting week.

Again, thanks for all the prayers and support I have been getting.  Even though there are times I get frustrated with this whole process, I know God is going to get me through this.  All the love and support I am getting is a huge help.  I love you all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12 update

Yesterday I completed my 4th chemo session.  I am officially half way through.  HOORAY!!!  I would have updated my blog yesterday but I was extremely tired and was not sure if I could keep things straight.   My chemo brain is making life interesting.

Today I am doing about the same: tired, achey and queasy stomach.  Nothing I haven't had before so I know I can get through it.

My next chemo session starts a new set of drugs.  Instead of lasting an 1 1/2 hours, it will last 3 hours.  I also have to take 5 pills the night before my chemo and 5 pills the day of to prevent an allergic reaction to the chemo.  Not sure how I am going to react to this new chemo, but at least I only have 4 of them.

I again want to thank everyone for all the prayers and positive thoughts on my behalf.  I know without a doubt that that is was is getting my through this.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June 7 update

I got to go to Indianapolis to see Dr. Schmidt this afternoon.  After a quick examination (and I mean quick), he was happy with how thing were progressing.  We learned from his nurse that I can have my other breast taken off just not at the same time.  They would take the breast off with the cancer, then I would go through radiation.  Then if I want to have reconstruction they would take the other breast off then and reconstruct both at the same time.  They do it this way because there would be too much risk having both breast off at once of blood clots.

So I was happy to hear that things were progressing well.  I have to admit I was a little bummed that this process is going to take a little longer than I had figured.  (I had it in my head that it would be over by the end of the year.  It obviously won't. )  However, if this is what it takes to get well, I will hold my head high and march on through.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May 29 update

It's been a while since I have updated.  Things have been going on pretty normally.  I went in today and had chemo treatment #3.  Only 5 more to go.  Woo hoo!  My blood test looked good.  They did say my red blood cell count was on the low side (9.5).  It wasn't low enough to have a blood transfusion yet.  I will probably feel a little more tired and winded.  They told me to just listen to my body and if I need a nap, take a nap. (Yay naps!)  

Also, this weekend I started having mood swings.  I would feel really sad and start crying for no reason.  I  checked with the nurses today and that is a side effect of the chemo.  Chemo can send you into menopause.  I was very glad to know that it was a side effect and I wasn't going crazy.  

So that's all I know right now.  So far I haven't had any nausea this afternoon. (Yay nausea medicine)  I think a nap is on the agenda this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15 update

I went for my second chemo treatment yesterday.  I saw Dr. Gupta first.  The results of the blood test I took on Friday were good so chemo was a go.  He said whatever I was doing, keep it up.  I still have permission to give people a hard time but he told me I have to listen to Mom.  Mom really liked hearing that. :)

Chemo lasted about 1 1/2 hours.  So far the nausea hasn't been to bad.  I think I have a better handle on taking the nausea medicine and eating small amounts throughout the day seems to be helping.  I still have my bouts of being tired.

I go in for a followup shot this morning.  I am hoping I feel better later in the week to enjoy the rest of my vacation.

Thanks again for all the prayers and warm thoughts.  I know they are getting me through this.  Keep them coming.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 12 update

When I started the chemo I was told my hair "would fall out".  I wasn't sure how I would notice as I shed like a dog most of the time.  Well when I went to wash my hair this morning, I figured it out.  My hair was coming out in huge strands.  It continued through the day, so this evening I went to my brother's house and he shaved my head.

It wasn't traumatic at all.  Trying to keep my positive attitude, I came up with some positives of losing my hair.  They are:

1.  I can save money on hair products.
2.  I love my hair dresser but I can save money on hair cuts.
3.  When my hair comes back in, it's supposed to be darker. Hopefully no gray! 
4.  I might actually get hat to fit my big head.
5.  I can wear earrings and people will actually see them.
6.  I won't shed like a dog (better get the house cleaned up)
7.  I actually resemble my brother now. 

I am sure I will think of others.  I am considering this just another stop on my journey to being healthy again.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 8 update

After work today I went to Mom's to go see Gracie's softball game.  While eating supper I realized I hadn't called home for my messages.  So I checked and I got a message with some very good news.  The biopsy results were in on the spots on my left breast.  Both spots were benign.  Praise the Lord!  Now I can concentrate on kicking what cancer I do have in the other breast to the curb.

I go back to see Dr. Schmidt on June 7.  I will see what the game plan is then.  Thanks so much to everybody for your prayers.  God is good all the time!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May 3 update

Today I went to Indy to do another ultrasound on the additional spots that the breast MRI discovered.   The day started early, which kinda stunk since I worked till 8:15 last night.  Luckily I am a morning person so getting up early wasn't too hard.  We again got to the office an hour early.  (Mama raised her a perpetual early person).  Once I got call back, they did the ultra sound to see if they could find the spots that were found on the MRI.  Since the right breast is going to be gone in a few months, they didn't pay too much time on that one.  They located the spots on the left breast.  One of them was in the shape of a peanut.  (Go figure, I have an odd shape tumor).  They then elected to do a core biopsy on those spots.

The biopsy was a piece of cake.  They numbed it VERY well.  They then used an instrument to take tissue samples from each spot.  Each time they took a sample, it made a clicking noise.  I told Mom it sounded like a stapler.  I felt a bit of pressure but it didn't hurt at all.  

They did say while they were doing the procedure that the peanut shaped tumor rolled around quite a bit and that is usually a good sign (of it being benign).  We shall see what the tests say. 

After all that, I had to go get a couple of mammogram pictures taken. (I don't think they thought they tortured me enough)  Before I left, they gave me ice packs to keep on the incision and told me to take Tylenol.  

I should get the results of the biopsies by Tuesday at the earliest.  Please pray for good results.  I am planning on relaxing the rest of the day.  I think I deserve it! . :) 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

May 2 update

Just thought I would give everybody a quick update.  Sunday, Dr. Gupta called to check up on my to see how I was doing after my chemo treatment.  I told him I was nauseated and fatigued.  He said that was normal and in a couple of days I would be turning cartwheels.  Well yesterday afternoon I started feeling better and I guess today would be the cartwheel turning day.  Since I was never able to do a cartwheel, this would be classified in the miracle category. :D

I also received a call from the genetictist about my breast cancer gene testing.  They are 90% sure I have no mutation in the 2 genes that are considered the breast cancer genes.  I then asked her if the means that mine is a sporadic case.  She said she wouldn't say that either.  Since I am so young, it could still be family related and environmental.  (Her words not mine)  There is another test that they could do but that costs $800 and only improves the detection by 1 or 2 percent. (She didn't recommend doing that for those odds).  She did say if anybody else in the family gets cancer, we would need to put that back into the equation and see if that changes anything.

I am not quite sure what to think about all this, but I am going to take that as a positive and go on from there.  I am also happy that the insurance payed for the test as it is very pricey.

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27 update

Good Evening!  Today was my trip to see Dr. Gupta to find out the results of my MRI.  I won't lie, I was a bit nervous waiting for the results.  Dr. Gupta finally came in and told me the MRI was clear!  Praise the Lord!  I know with all the prayers I have been getting, God had his hand in this!  

Since the MRI was clear, I got to start chemo today.  It was very exciting to finally get down to doing something.  Before we started, Angie asked him about what Stage of cancer I was in.  He said since I haven't had surgery yet, it was hard to tell.  Since the cancer hasn't spread, I could be considered Stage I but without seeing the lymph nodes, it was hard to tell.  He also said the was about a 30% chance of when they go to do the mastectomy, the cancer might be gone.  He did say it was an aggressive form of cancer.  The type of chemo they are giving me is aggressive.

So the chemo they have me on is ACT.  It takes about an 1 1/2 hours to administer.  While it was being administered, I got a class in chemo therapy and all the possible side effects (Barb did a wonderful job).  My hair will fall out in about 18 to 20 days.  They said it should come back darker and curler (no more grey, Woo Hoo!)  And then they listed to all the other possible side effects.  I won't bore you with those.  It is like I told Mom, basically, if anything weird happens, call the doctor.  They also gave me a lot of good nausea drugs.  Mom isn't too keen on having me take Ativan (which is only as a last resort).  I will let her explain to you why. :) 

We have also elected not to do a port at this time.  My veins look really good, so they are going to do it via IV. (If it doesn't work, we will do the port)  Because of this, my chemo treatments are going to be on Mondays from now on.  That way I can get the necessary blood work on Friday or Saturday and my vein have a chance to heal.  I will also have a shot on Tuesday to help my white blood count.  I will have 8 treatments all together.  My next chemo will be May 14.  My last chemo treatment is August 6. (yes you read that right)

Before I left, I got to pick out this fleece blanket.  

It was donated in memory of Jim Hodson.  The tag says "When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade".  I really like that sentiment.

After the treatment, Mom and I went to lunch and did some shopping for some supplies I might need.  
One of the things I purchased was this hat.  Gotta be prepared. 

When I got back home, I was kinda tired.  I was also a little nauseated, but the drugs worked very well. So I will spend the rest of the weekend relaxing.  I think I deserve that.

Thank you again for all the prayers that were lifted up in my behalf.  God answered them.  Please keep them coming.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25 update.

Today was my MRI.  I got up at 4 am to get ready.  Luckily I am a morning person.  We got to the hospital at 6:30am.  As we were walking up there, we didn't see any lights on.  We wondered if they were open.  They were.  :)  They had me fill out the standard forms and then get changed for the MRI.  Before they started, they had a paper for me to go over.  I was kinda puzzled about this.  Evidently on the consent form for the contrast they were going to give me, I signed the line to decline it instead of ok-ing it.  We got the right line signed and proceeded to the test.  I guess I am not the morning person I thought I was. :D

The test went fine.  Again it was noisy.  The nice thing was they let me get up and stretch periodically through the test.  That helped a lot.  The tech was very impressed with how I did.  She said I was very cooperative.  I can't help but think all the prayers I have been getting was what did the trick.

The tech said the doctor should have the results possibly sometime this afternoon.  I assume I will get the results on Friday when I go see Dr. Gupta.  Please continue to pray for good results.

I again want to thank everyone who has been praying for me.  I know I couldn't have made it this far without it.  God is good and I know he hears our prayers.  I definitely feel God's peace around me.

I was really tempted to come home and go back to bed.  But I was afraid I wouldn't wake up to go work at noon. This evening may be really interesting at work. :D

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23 update

Today Mom and I learned all about genes. We went to Indy today to have my genetic counseling session. Being the perpetual early people we are, we arrived 1 hour early.  After a nice wait, they explained to us why it was important to find out if I have the breast cancer gene. It's mainly because I am so young and finding out if I have it will determine my treatment. Also, having the breast cancer gene also increases your risk of ovarian cancer. Already having had one ovary removed, this would be good for me to know. They then took down all the information about my family tree. I honestly had flashbacks of high school biology. :)

After they were done with the counseling session, they asked me if I wanted to go ahead and take the test. Because of the reasons above and the fact that there are some unknown branches on my family tree, I decided to go ahead and take it. I had the choice of having a blood test or a swab of my mouth. I asked if one was more effective than the other and they said both were effective. So I opted for the mouth swab. (I didn't want to get stuck again). So I had to swish Scope in my mouth and spit it in a tube. You don't know how hard that is to do when your mother is sitting right next to you giggling. :)

So as long as the insurance pays for the test, I will find out the results in 1 1/2 to 2 weeks.

I do encourage anybody reading this, if you have children, gather your family's medical history.  And if you have elderly parents or grandparents, get them to tell you what they know.  I know Mom always said her mother always told her that people never talked about that kind of thing.   Well, I am speaking from experience, it is important to know.

After we were done, we stopped in Tipton to eat at the Pizza Shack.  While there I noted that gas was $3.58 a gallon.  I should have filled up while I was there.

Next up is the MRI on my skull and spine on Wednesday morning.  Please pray that the test come back to say it's nothing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Sunday!

My very good Twitter friend Julie shared the following song with me.  It was such a blessing to me (thanks Julie) so I thought I would share it with everybody else.  This is going to be my prayer through all of this.

I hope you all have a blessed Sunday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

April 20 update

I went to Dr. Gupta's office today thinking I would start my chemo treatments.  Well that didn't happen.  My CT scan came good good (he said I had good looking organs).  The bone scan was the problem.  There is a shadow on my skull and spine and they want to make sure just what they are.  It is very possible that they are nothing.  They don't want to start treatment until they know for sure because the chemo could alter the results of the tests.

So I have a MRI schedule for 7 am Wednesday morning (Oh Joy!)  I then go see Dr. Gupta again on Friday April 27.

When I got back home, I had to call down to Indy to reschedule my ultrasound on my breasts.  When I called I find out that not only was I scheduled an ultrasound but also a biopsy.  They neglected to tell me that when I first scheduled the appointment.

Needless to say, I am a bit deflated.  But I am considering this just a bump in my road to recovery .  God is still in control and WILL  get me through this.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 19 Update

I had my CT and Bone Scan yesterday (April 18).  Prior to the CT scan, I had to drink some contrast.  It didn't taste bad at all. (Praise the Lord).  It reminded me of Gatorade, which I don't mind. (Mom HATES Gatorade)  Once I got to the hospital, they gave me a cup and wanted me to drink some more water.  It's a wonder my blabber didn't pop. :)

The CT scan was very quick.  The IV went in easily. (Best one I have had so far)  It went very quickly.  While they still had the IV in, the gave me the injection I needed for the bone scan.

4 hours later, I went in for the bone scan.  They had told me to keep hydrated during the 4 hours to keep the radioactive stuff going through my body.  So I drank A LOT.   First thing they had me do before the bone scan, go to the bathroom.  (That struck me funny).  Anyway, the bone scan wasn't scary at all.  I was a tad intimidated when they laid me down on the table and strapped me to the table.  It's a good thing I am not claustrophobic.  The camera was right in my face.  (Good thing they didn't have the McClain that was in the waiting room in this machine.  She would have freaked)  Luckily once the pictures of my head were done, they pulled me out of the machine.  I got scanned from my head to my toes.  The tech was kind enough to tell me I did have some curvature of the spine. (the least of my worries at the moment).

Both the CT and the Bone scan techs asked why I was having these done.  I told them I was just diagnosed with breast cancer.  They both said I would probably see them periodically in the future.

Today, I get to go to Plainfield for a library roundtable.  It's nice to be going somewhere that is not a doctor's appointment. :D

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 17 Update

I didn't think I would have much to update until I had the CT and Bone scans tomorrow.  I did meet with administration yesterday morning.  I have 6 months of sick leave (pays not to be sick very much) plus I can use the library's sick leave bank it comes to that (which I don't think it will).  That is one thing I won't have to worry about. 

Through this process, I have been trying to not go into "librarian mode" and try and research everything myself.  Well yesterday, I was getting a bit nervous about the bone scan.  I knew I was going to get an injection but I wasn't sure where.  I did some research and they will give it to me in a vein.  (unless they are giving me something different)  I felt better after reading that.

Then today came around.  At lunch I got a call from Dr. Schmidt's office. They were calling to tell me the results of my MRI.  I have 2 spots in one breast and 3 in the other that they want to do an ultrasound on.  (They told me which breast had which spots but for the life of me I couldn't tell you which one had which)  They did say the lymph nodes looked good (WOO HOO!)  They also said I had an hemangioma on my chest wall that I needed to get checked again in 6 months.  I asked her if I should be worried about this and she said no.  So when I go back to work, I went into librarian mode again and researched what that was.  Evidently, a hemangioma is an abnormal collection of blood vessels (Who'd have thunk it, me abnormal :D).  It doesn't appear to be anything to be worry about.  Mom made the comment that her and Daddy didn't put me together very well.  I told her that I was going to sue for shoddy workmanship. :D

So I am scheduled for my ultra sound on Friday April 27 at 12:30 pm.  That's all I know right now.  Of course the day isn't over yet.

Friday, April 13, 2012

April 13 update

Today I went for my first visit with my oncologist, Dr. Gupta.  I like him a lot!  He has a terrific sense of humor (which those of you who know me well know this pleases me) and is very positive.  Mom said he reminded her of Raj on The Big Bang Theory (she and I are big fans of that show. :D) He scheduled me for a CT scan and a bone scan on Wednesday April 18.  Then I go back to Dr. Gupta's office on Friday, April 20.  This is when I will probably start my chemo treatments.  He said they will probably be one every couple of weeks for possibly 8 weeks.  That is still tentative depending on the results of my scans and the MRI I had yesterday.

He stressed that he wanted me to keep my life as normal as possible during the chemo process.  If I feel like doing something, do it.  If I feel like taking a nap, take a nap.  I know my body.  He also said not to dwell on the possible side effects of the chemo.  They are what COULD happen, but they don't for every patient.   And if I dwell on them, they will probably happen.  But I should just be positive and deal with it if they do.   He also gave me permission to give everybody a hard time.  So people better watch out, doctor's orders.  So I am going to try and work as much as my body will allow me to.

I then had to go get some more blood work done.  I am beginning to think I going to be a human pin cushion.  :D

Through this whole process I am seeing God's hand in things.  I did want to share one of those instances.  We have a sick leave bank at the library.   If you would like, you can donate 8 hours of sick leave time to the bank and anybody who has had to take a lot of time off due to illness can use the hours in the bank when they run out of their own sick leave.  The date to sign up for the next year is in December.  Well this past December, I had forgotten to sign up for it.  Heather, our Administrative Assistant, called me up and said she noticed I hadn't signed up for it and she knew I had in past so she wanted to make sure I did.  I got the form in.  Looking back, I know God knew what I was facing this year.  I praise God that he nudged Heather to call me (when she really didn't have to) and I thank Heather for listening to that nudging.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 12 update

I got to wake up at the crack of dawn to go to Indy today for my MRI and to get my stitches out.  Mom was pleasantly surprised when I let her drive my car down there.  See miracles do happen. :D  I have never had an MRI before so I really didn't know what to expect.  I have heard horror stories of people freaking out while having them.  Luckily I am not claustrophobic so I wasn't really worried about that.  I was kinda worried because I woke up with a scratchy throat (which I promise to tell Dr. Gupta tomorrow if I still have it) so I was afraid that I would cough during the procedure.

The procedure itself was pretty easy.  I had to get an IV which didn't thrill me but it wasn't bad.  I laid on my stomach for the procedure.  Luckily I didn't cough (or move).  I think laying on my stomach helped with the drainage.  I did get a cramp in my shoulder before it was done but as long as I didn't think about it it was ok.  I did find out that MRI's are extremely noisy.  But they gave me ear plugs so that made it ok.  The thought did cross my mind that "Great, not only will I glow in the dark, I am going to be deaf too" :D

After the MRI, I went up to Dr. Schmidt's office to get my stitch out.  What I didn't realize was it was in fact 1 big stitch.  The nurse just had me raise up my shirt, take off my bra and she just slipped that stitch right out of there.  Didn't hurt a bit.  I still have to watch my lifting for a bit but the most exciting news is, I don't have to wear my bra to bed tonight.  WOO HOO!   I know I am easily excited but wearing a bra to bed was beginning to drive me nuts.  And I am going to rejoice in every bit of good news I get no matter how small.

Now I shall get me some lunch and go back to work.  Got to get prepared for my doctor's appointment tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Unexpected Journey

I decided today to resurrect my blog.  I have been and am going to be going through a lot and I wanted a place where I could document it and have a place where I can post updates for those of you who care about  me (which I am finding out is a huge number.)

To catch those of you up that don't know what is going on,  the first part of March while I was putting on my pj's, I found a lump on my breast.   I called the doctor immediately the next morning.  I got in that morning.  Dr. Pfeifer immediately sent me to get a mammogram and ultra sound.  The ultra sound indicated  not 1 but 2 suspicious spots.  So she sent me down to see Dr. Schmidt in Indianapolis.  When he did my exam he found an additional spot that was suspicious.  So on March 30, I had a biopsy.   

Waiting for the results was not fun.  It's not that I was anxious for the results.  I knew regardless of the outcome, God was in control and I would be fine.   But the fact is, I am not good at waiting.  It drives me nuts.  I have a new appreciation for women who have had children.  If I had to wait 9 months for something, I would go crazy.  I am just the type of person that has to know what is going on.

The wait ended Monday night.  I was getting ready to watch Castle and the phone rang.  It was Dr. Schmidt with the results.  All 3 spots were cancer.  He then set up an appointment to see him the next day at 4pm.  

I am not going to lie, it through me for a loop.  I think I knew they were cancer, I just had hoped that it might have been 1 or 2 of the spots.  I wasn't figuring on all three.  I had my "weepy" time.  I am thankful for my Mom and best friend Edie for being there to talk too.

I debated on whether on not to go to work the next morning.  I am so glad I did.  I work with the most supportive bunch of people.  They let me talk, cry and prayed with me.  Knowing I had such a big support system praying for me helped me during the wait time to see the doctor.  We sure felt God's peace.

The meeting with the doctor was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders.  I do have a very aggressive form of cancer.  But Dr. Schmidt said I am in the middle between very good cancer and very bad cancer.   (I do lean a little to the bad side, but it's still in the middle)  I have some "biomarkers" that are very good and some "biomarkers" that are bad.   There is a risk of this spreading to the lungs, liver and bone.  Because of this, he wants to do chemo and hormonal therapy first.  After I get done with that, I will be having a mastectomy. They will be checking out the other breast and if there is a great risk of me getting it there, I will be having that one off too.  After the mastectomy, I will be having radiation.  I told Mom I am going to glow in the dark after this.  :)

Another interesting fact I learned at this meeting, my dad's cancer has absolutely nothing to do with this.  Most kidney cancers (which was what he had) are caused by chemicals.  Since there is no history of breast cancer in our family and I am so young (Woo hoo 43 is young!) they are going to send me to a specialist to see if I have the breast cancer gene.

Today, I did some blood work and had a chest x ray.  Tomorrow I go down to Indy to have an MRI (at lunch this evening the insurance co called to try and get me to get a cheaper one.  That's not happening) and get my stitches out.  Friday, I see my oncologist, Dr. Gupta here in Kokomo.  

Needless to say, my head is spinning.  Just to give you an indication how much, I was at work a couple of hours today before I realized I have my shirt on backwards. :D  But I have a lot to praise God about.  I am going to have a hard road ahead of me, but I have a light at the end of the tunnel.   I have the best Mom and sister in law a girl can have. (my brother isn't half bad either :D)  I have the best friends anybody could have.  My church  and workplace have been so supportive.  The outpouring of love from my Twitter buddies all over the country has just blown me away (you guys rock and I am going to meet all of you in person some day)  And above all I am so glad Jesus is my savior.  I know I have a long hard road journey ahead, but I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.

I will try my best to keep this blog updated.   Yank my chain if I don't.