Back to Square One

One of the doctors warned me, saying that this whole process would be a "hurry up and wait" situation. He was right. Now, not only do I have to keep waiting, I have to start over with more tests and the possibility of more surgery. The oncologist I saw yesterday met with his team about my situation (which apparently is not that common) and they are even recommending a full mastectomy now.

I had my follow-up appointment with the surgeon on Thursday September 3rd. The good news is that all of the invasive cancer is gone and none of the lymph nodes were compromised. The troubling part is that the tissue sample did not have "clean margins" where there was good cancer-free edges. It turns out there is another type of cancer in the tissue, albeit a non-invasive type (DCIS). But the sample had a lot of it. So we are now faced with trying to figure out the best course of treatment for that.

James and I left the appointment pretty bummed. We were hearing suggestions to have a mastectomy, more tissue gathering surgery to get clean margins, MRI's, and genetic testing. All this would be minimized if I had just had the bad girl amputated rather than opting for the breast preservation route. The idea of still having the possibility of losing my breast, or both even, is very discouraging. James and I both were pretty frustrated and full of even more questions. By the end of the day we were both just plain tired of talking about it and even thinking about it.

The same "hurry up and wait" doctor also said this was like putting a puzzle together. We have to get as many of the pieces of information as we can in order to find the best course of treatment. We all thought we'd have the information needed by now, but now we need to know more before we can finish this particular puzzle. The oncologist office scheduled and MRI for Friday next week. They need to get a better picture of how much of this other cancer is there and if it wide-spread, in the side, or is it just that small area. Their recommendations will largely be determined by the results of that MRI. Then we can find the right path and start our journey.

People have been great. I've had lots of suggestions, advice, prayers, encouragement, and more. My family has come forward with great love and care as well. My sweet little sister found a pretty pink sapphire breast cancer cure ribbon necklace that I now wear every day close to my heart. Another sister got me a basket for my bike (gotta stay active you know) so I can take my little dog, Trevi, with me on rides. My brother-in-law brought me a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait! Yumm, chocolate and ice cream. What a treat. My niece came and worked in my flower garden. My older sister brought me her juicer and showed me how to juice vegetables for their antioxidant properties, and I now juice lots of stuff and love it. There are so many other wonderful things people have done that I can't even mention them all.

One thing I have discovered, is that James is going through this almost every bit as much as I am. He is with me every step of the way. He has stepped up to this challenge with me like I never thought he would. I cannot imagine not having him with me. He is my sounding board, my shoulder, my pillow, my personal trainer (he makes me get up and be active when I don't want to), my food police (have to eat healthier than ever, right?), my psychiatrist, my retriever, and everything else I could possibly need. He is here and feeling it all the way through step-by-step with me. God sure loved me when he gave me James.

My world is still upside down and I don't know when things will begin to right themselves. It looks like I have a couple more weeks of information gathering to go before we are going to be able to chart the course.

I must work on keeping my chin up. Lord help me.

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