My Journey Through Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer My Journey
I have tried so many times not to be a "worry wart" because I see how it effects my Mother. In early October 2010 while finally remembering to examine my breasts, I noticed some milky discharge coming out of one of my left nipple. I became very alarmed for some reason, and asked my then spouse to come take a look. He had to get past my children because I had alarmed everyone, and he said it was probably okay and just something to call the doctor about.
As a new employee of only 7 months I hesitated to call, but I could not shake a feeling and an urging from God to call the doctor. When I finally called the nurse told me to make an appointment with my GYN. While I have a wonderful GYN, I do not relish the thought of being in that small jacket with the opening in the front as my doctor and nurse arrive. He examined my breasts and said it was probably normal as most women have some sort of milky discharge even when they are not breastfeeding. Since I breastfed both of my children, I dismissed it as that. I had a mammogram, and when the results came back the GYN ordered for me to see a surgeon just in case. I still wish I could check them at the door and go shopping while they are examined, but I am glad I went!
At the surgeon's office I was scheduled for a needle biopsy at the breast diagnostic center. I was nervous for some reason about having a needle inserted there. Imagine that. When I saw the needle, that did not help. I had to lie face down with my 2 breasts dangling out the bottom of a table. How glamorous I must have looked. The surgeon numbed the area, and then he along with his 2 assistants instructed me to be very still. On the first try, he did not get enough. The second time around was so painful I muffled my cry until they told me I could sit up. Then I squalled like a baby. I asked them why I was shaking so much, and they told me it was because of the injection they gave me to prevent too much bleeding. The assistants were so sweet to hold my hand and make sure I was okay.
I think I went back to work after that. I am not sure. About a few days later while at work my surgeon called. I knew that was not good. When he said the word cancer all I could do was cry. He tried to explain some things, but my mind was in shock and could not absorb anything. I went down the hall as fast as I could to cry in the bathroom, because I did not want anyone else to see. My supervisor came to the door to ask if I was okay. Of course I sniffled, "yes". When I finally came out she told me to take the rest of the afternoon off.
Later I had a CAT scan which would better pinpoint where the surgeon would do a lumpectomy. I had ductal carcinoma in situ or DCIS. This is the earliest breast cancer, and I am so thankful that I listened to God and went to the doctor. I had a lumpectomy and lymph node biopsy which was negative. Praise God!
Radiation was recommended, and I started it after giving my body about 2 months to heal. I read all of the side effects, and decided to make the best of it. I had to get well for my 2 babies. Radiation made me tired, so tired I would take naps every chance I got. My children were 4 and 5, so they did not fashion naps, especially for their Momma. I found myself having the uncomfortable job of explaining what was happening to me, and did not want to worry my children. My daughter, the 5 year old, played doctor to me. Children are very resilliant, thankfully. My skin is fair, and became so burned after about the middle of the treatments, that I needed special cream and dressings. When I had no one to help me take them off once, I tried to peel it off myself and took skin with it. I cried. After 30 plus radiation treatments, I did a happy dance to celebrate. I was so happy to be prounounced cancer free!
One of the best parts was a genetic test to discover if I had passed on a gene to my precious daughter for this breast cancer. I prayed and waited. When the surgeon's assistant called to say it was not genetic. I was ecstatic!
For the first year, I saw my Oncologist and Surgeon about every 3 months. Then it was every 6 months for my Oncologist. I am thankful to have such fine physicians who care about their patients, especially me.
I see my Oncologist for twice annual checks as I take Tamoxifen which is a cancer prevention medication. They check my blood to make sure the level of medication is not harming my liver. She is so great, and has had to chide me for forgetting to take it. It is so important for me to take my daily dose. I will complete my regimen in February 2015, and plan to do a big happy dance for me and for all the other survivors!
It is my mission in life to help others who have made or will make this a part of their journey in life. I want to do what I can to educate others about breast cancer, and encourage them through it.