My Journey

On this blog I intend to document my journey through Breast Cancer again. Yes again. This will be my second go with this disease and I figured this would be a great way to communicate with my family and friends and keep them informed as to what is going on with me.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It finally hits me!

I spoke with my Oncologist Tuesday evening and then met with my surgeon yesterday afternoon to get a game plan going. I was at the Dr's office 3 and 1/2 hours!! Basically he just went over that I do indeed have cancer and that there really is no choice, but to have a Mastectomy. I spoke to him about the possibilities of having a double Mastectomy for a couple of different reasons. One: I don't want to have to worry about cancer in the other breast. Although they say that it doesn't reduce the risk of getting it again. Not sure the reasoning behind it, but if they are going to take the one because it will get rid of the cancer, then take the other one too!!! Two: Ladies, you will understand this one. Let's just say I only had one removed and I am a little older and gravity sets in. I would look mighty ridiculous with one perky silicone breast and one saggy natural breast don't you think? I know that I am getting into the vanity side of it and I shouldn't worry about all that, but I just know that once they are gone, my self esteem is going to suffer and atleast I have something to look forward to. I will feel like a woman again.

I am having my oopharectomy (ovary removal) on September 8th at 1pm. This will be one night stay in the lovely St. Vincent's Hospital. Then the following Tuesday, September 12th at 1:45pm, I will have my double Mastectomy and a port inserted, so that they can administer the chemo. This will also require a one night stay, but at the lovely Baptist Hospital. 2 different hospitals and 2 different types of Dr's are the reasons for that. I could have gone to another gynecologist within Baptist Hospital, but that would have prolonged things as I would have to set up appointments, get their opinion, etc. I just don't want to wait on all that. I am just ready to get this thing moving!! So last night after my mom and I left the hospital, I think that it finally hit us both!! Everything starting to sink in. I started experiencing some anxiety or "something" earlier this week. Monday night I only slept about 3 hours. Tuesday night I had broken sleep which was caused from a bad dream.

I dreamed that I was lying on the operating table and that my Doctor made his Laproscopic incision which is about an inch long on my belly. He began to pull my ovary out of that hole and show it to me. YES I WAS AWAKE!!! I could see the organ and how it was attached to this thin muscle and when he pulled it tight, he took a razor blade and sliced the ovary off. I could feel the burning sensation. No bleeding just uncomfortable pain. Needless to say I was a bit freaked out when I woke up. Which is really weird cause I really don't think that I am worried about that surgery. Matter of fact once I get rid of this ovary it will eliminate alot of the current issues I have been having. Abdominal pain, bloating, digestive issues (not going any further with that one), lower back pain, irregular periods. I will be SOOOO GLAD when it is gone!!

So after seeing the surgeon yesterday afternoon, I think it all just set in that this whole thing is really happening. I will need to prepare myself in less than two weeks to have both of my breasts removed. They removed the entire tissue from the collar bone to underneath the breast and remove the nipple as well. I don't think it would be too bad if they were able to leave the nipple. Atleast it would look like I had something. All I could do today is cry. I went into work and every time I would try to talk to someone, the tears would start flowing. And not the regular tears, but the big alligator tears. I couldn't catch my breath in some instances. For those of you who really know me, know that I don't like to be weak like that. Not that I am ashamed or think that it is bad to cry and show emotion, but I feel like the only way I am going to get through this is to remain positive and strong. Everyone tells me that it is ok and that I am allowed to feel this way and I know that it is ok. I just don't like not being in control of the situation and I don't like the fact that I am having a hard time concentrating at work. We are so short staffed and there are so many things going on right now that I feel like I am bailing on them. I guess I will have to work through that one as well.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The "C" Word

So I have been anxiously awaiting (forever!!) for my results on the pathology. First there was a preliminary that I was suppose to get on Weds, the day of surgery, and then I was also suppose to have something else by Friday. Obviously that did not happen!!! Can I just tell you how difficult it is to go day by day not knowing what the next day or week will hold? Not sure if you have to have another surgery or if you will have to begin Chemo next week and making contingency plans at work "just in case". The "NOT KNOWING"!!!

Anyway, I got the phone call today from my Surgeon after I called about 3 times. I guess some Doctors deal with so many patients that they really don't think about the person on the other end and how even a couple of hours seems like an eternity. I try not to hold it against them as I know that they have alot they have to deal with as well. "Invasive Ductal Carcinoma" he says, which means my cancer is back. Not exactly sure how I was feeling. I kind of went through an up and down thing. One minute I was ok, the next minute.... not so good.

I tried to prepare myself for this as much as I possibly could and I think I did a decent job. I guess having cancer before prepares you for what you are about to face. Alot of praying took place, which helped me more than words can say!! Thank you to everyone!!! I truely felt the prayers, but I can't help to wonder did I pray enough? Did I do something wrong? I know that God only gives us what we can handle and I have no question that there is a reason for all of this, but was there something else I could have done? Now, I know all of you out there is saying "No Natasha, you did nothing wrong", but do you ever feel that way? I find myself questioning did I do everything that I could possibly do? I guess feeling this way could be normal and I am sure that I am still trying to justify it.

I have an appointment with my surgeon on Wednesday at 2:15pm and I plan on calling my other Doctors tomorrow, so that we can get the ball rolling. I would be in their office tomorrow if I could!! I will be sure to keep everyone updated!! Love you all!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Beginning

Well, First off I would like to thank my sister Marie for inspiring me to create my own blog. Normally, this would not be something that I would remotely be interested in, but since she began hers, I see how it really can touch others. I feel more and more connected to her and her family, which by the way, I have the most adorable nieces on this earth!!!

See I told you they were cute!! That will be just a few of the many pics of them I post! Anyway it has been great seeing what is going on with them. Although, too much of it has been about me lately and I really hate that! Hopefully this will help myself and others cope with the situation at hand. For those of you that really don't know my story, here it goes.

I was diagnosed on March 23, 2004 with Stage 3 Breast Cancer at the age of 28. I immediately began chemo and it continued until August 25th 2004. Thankfully my body took the chemo well as it had reduced one tumor nearly in half and the other tumor disappeared. Because of that, I was able to have a lumpectomy on September 23rd instead of a mastectomy. Once healed, I began radiation until December 11th. There was a total of 33 treatments of radiation in all. My skin was dry, but I had a really nice tan!!!

I really felt violated in some ways. Here I was 28 years old and they were talking about taking my breast away, possibly never having children and to top it off, my hormones were out of whack!! No one should have to go through that at that age. Not sure why I had to go through that, but the one thing I realized was that God knew that I was strong enough to handle it.

Well, I survived that ordeal and was able to keep my breast. Still not sure if I could have kids or not, but I have been able to move beyond that. My hormones began to level off a little and I wasn't having the hot flashes so often and so fierce!! My Doctors had me on a schedule. Every 6 months I would have a mammogram and a CT/PET scan and I would see my oncologist every 3 months. After about a year, they were cut down a little. Mammograms were still every 6 months, but the CT/PET scans were only once a year and my Dr visits were cut down to every 4 months. PROGRESS!!!! I was finally starting to feel like a normal person. I hated having to go to my boss each month and give her a list of all my Doctor appointments. Although she understood, I just hated it!!!

This brings us to this month. August. I am just a few months shy of saying that I am 2 years of being cancer free when I had my routine mammogram.

August 1st 2006. I am in the little room with other women, which I always feel a bit awkward since I am the youngest one there, and of course conversation gets going. As always I get asked how old I am and why I was there. Gladly I share my story with the ladies cause I am a SURVIVOR and proud of it!!! There was another older lady there that had ovarian cancer when she was 19 and had to have a hysterectomy. Now she has found some lumps in her and they are checking them out. Others are there for routine mammograms or follow ups. One lady there said how horrible this all was and we all are making the situation worse for everyone by talking about it. Both the lady and I looked at her and I said, "Don't think of it that way. Think of it as this lady has survived 50 years and I am also a survivor. It doesn't always have to have a bad ending." The lady with ovarian cancer agreed with me as she too was a very positive person. They all agreed and I felt good that maybe I gave some hope to someone there that may have been diagnosed after I left. After all, I truly believe that is why God allowed me to have cancer. To be a positive influence on others that are also battling this horrible disease.

My time had come....... I really dreaded this part. They could take pictures of my left breast all day long, but I absolutely hated my right breast being put in that machine to squish. Talk about pain!! It would bring me to tears each time. I guess it is from all the scar tissue and stuff, but all I know is that it HURTS!!!! So I am all done and I go back to the little waiting room to have the radiologist review the films. I get called back to talk to the radiologist. At this point, I know that it is not good. Normally if everything looks fine, they send you on your way. They had me sit down and the radiologist proceeds to tell me that they found some micro-calcifications in the same area that I once had cancer and I needed to have this removed as soon as possible. Tears clouded my eyes as I was trying to process everything that she was saying. "In most cases, this is normal and there is no cancer, but with your history it is better to be safe." Well I had arranged for my mammogram first thing in the morning so that I could go straight to work. Appointment at 745am, I should be in work no later that 9am. Besides I work right across the street from the hospital. By 10am even my boss knew what I was about to tell her. She began looking things up on the internet, which then sparked me to do some of my own research. Micro-califications are normal, but could be signs of early breast cancer. It echoed in my head. Early signs of breast cancer. I knew at that moment that I had it again, but I was not wanting to verbalize it yet.

The following Wednesday, I had a routine PET Scan. My Right breast, my left ovary and a spot on my spine lit up. They think that the spot on my spine is just arthritis, but the other 2 are very iffy. I had surgery on my right breast this past Wednesday August 23rd for them to remove the areas and to do a biopsy. I am now waiting for the results for that, which I should have by Monday. Once I have those results, I will be able to put a game plan together. I have to have my left ovary removed, so if I do have cancer they want to remove it before I do chemo.

That brings us to now. I know that this was a very lengthy entry, but I figure that if I want to do this, then I need to do it right!! Hopefully I will have the results on Monday and if so, I will be sure to update this.