Stage Coach

This is the first of what I’ll call a “Daisy Post.” It is basically going to be me documenting my experience in dealing with breast cancer. If you see the daisies, you can skip it, if it’s too much information for you. I really have always liked the photo, taken on a train ride through Colorado years back. Daisies are my favorite, but there’s a fly on right side of the photo, marring the beauty of the pic. And this is how I see my cancer.

It’s been an overwhelming day. I worked hard, and busyness helps me cope by keeping my mind occupied. It’s the time alone that my mind wanders and the tears try to break through. The drive home from work is usually the worst time. Other than that, I do okay. There are good days and bad. My husband and youngest son are going up north snowmobiling this weekend. I dread the empty house, but I’ll make do.

It’s the not knowing to what extent of cancer I am facing, that makes it so hard.

I met with my surgeon on Wednesday, and I also met with a “Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator.” Phew, what a title. They gave me a stage but it’s basically worthless because they say it could all change after the lumpectomy or my upcoming MRI. They will need to analyze the lymph nodes that they’ll remove at the same time as the mass, for cancer cells. Then, if there are cancer cells present there, they’ll need to do a full body scan. If the cancer is elsewhere, well… I’m not going to think about that right now. But I’ll tell you every ache and pain is suspect at this point. Talk about paranoia.

I have no less than 5 appointments coming up within the next 3-4 weeks, not including the surgery and follow ups with that. Pre-op exam, oncologist, lymphedema education, an MRI to see if it has spread elsewhere in the breasts, and genetic counseling. The costs of which I don’t even want to think about.

I had no pain when I initially discovered the lump. The doctor complimented me on finding it during a self-breast exam, on the ultrasound it appears small, but they won’t know for sure until they remove it. In reality, I think I found it while showering. I had given up on self-exams long ago due to never finding anything.

When they were first investigating “the lump,” they scheduled a mammogram and an ultrasound. After which they decided to biopsy the mass, it had jagged edges, rather than being nice and round. The mammogram didn’t even show the cancer!! So I’ll need the MRI to see if it is elsewhere in the breast tissue. Like I said, I had no pain at first. Then came the biopsy. Normally before any procedure, I read everything I can get about it. For some reason I didn’t this time, and I’m glad. They used a spring-loaded hollow needle that was a little under 1/8 in diameter and took cores of the lump. 5 of them. It didn’t hurt at the time, and it was fascinating to watch on-screen, but it sure hurts badly now and it’s a week later.

Since I have a lot more to say, I’ll write more tomorrow. I’ll talk about the different scenarios I’m facing, the treatments, the what-ifs and hopefully another test result will be in by then. It’s my hope that my experience will help others who might go through this down the road, or for friends and family to understand a little better. Sadly, statistics show that 1 in 8 women will eventually get this.

One thought on “Stage Coach

  1. Hey Anne, glad you are posting. I am a firm believer that one dianosed with any type of serious disease it is wise to share the journey. There are several reasons I feel this way. A couple would be, 1. people are able pray effectively. 2. It shreads any unfavorable rumors. People will assume and probably assume wrong. There is therapy in sharing the journey as it may very well help someone else in the very same illnes. Then the therapy if sharing helps to relieve the uncertains of this journey. You will always hold the power to share as much or as little as you wish. People will want to help but they just don’t know how, this avenue you have chosen is a good one that will help people to channel their help, and let you control your journey. Stay strong in the Lord, remember who is in control and praise Him in the storm.

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