Earlier this month I discovered a lump in my right breast, I had it biopsied and turns out I have cancer. I'm 42 years old and while I knew I was in a higher risk category (since my mom had breast cancer) I did not see this coming so soon!
Immediately upon hearing the doctor say cancer my mind blurred into a dreamlike state and ever since I've felt like I'm having an out of body experience. The first few days after such a diagnosis -so far- is the worst. The fear of the unknown is absolutely paralyzing. My mind was a battlefield between truth and lies and the lies were winning. Without exception it was the darkest period of my life. My mind ran wild with the what ifs. My fear was never once for myself, but for my husband and children.
And then the medical appointments began! I've been poked, prodded, twisted, and turned and here's what we know so far:
I had an MRI on my chest and the obvious cancer is only in my right breast. There are two different types of cancer that form in the breast and, always the overachiever, I have both types. Also, I have two tumors one medium-sized and one small. (think golf ball and dime)
We don't have the full picture yet because that won't come until I get a PET scan this Tuesday which will show if there is anything else lurking around in my body, then ultimately surgery will tell us more (ie lymph nodes).
But for now we know my cancer is stage 2 on a scale of 4 being the worst. There is no obvious cancer anywhere but my right breast, but again PET will tell us more. My cancer is feeding on hormones that my body naturally produces which makes it more routine (that is good).
My oncologist is Dr. Stephen Davidson at the Montgomery Cancer Center. He is awesome and came highly recommend by folks from all over the state of Alabama. I'm going to consult with a few surgeons, but surgery is down the road a bit.
First, we have to shrink the golf ball. I wondered why we didn't just cut all the cancer out/off immediately and Dr. Davidson explained that your long term prognosis depends on the stage of your cancer at time of surgery. I'm at stage 2 right now, with a few rounds of chemo the hope is they can get me to stage 1 prior to surgery which will significantly increase the odds that they can eradicate this particular cancer from my body.
I will do 8 rounds of chemo beginning Monday, December 29. I'll have treatment every two weeks. By mid-January I will lose all of my hair. Sad, huh? My hair is so fabulous! But never fear, my friends Nicole and Trudy have already planned a "Scarf Party" for me -- wigs, hats, scarfs, wraps I'll need it all! Every body responds to chemo differently but of course fatigue and nausea are the two cornerstones of flushing your body out with poison. Just HOW tired and sick I'll get is yet to be seen but I'm trusting for the best! I will continue to work and we will maintain life as usual. Jason asked if he needed to stop training for the Montgomery Marathon coming up this spring and I said, "Absolutely Not!" We will press on.
How do I feel right now? Perfectly normal. I've got lots to do in the next week including deep cleaning my house and organizing/simplifying my life some. Not sure how you simplify a life with four kids and three jobs but I'm gonna work on it!
How is Jason doing? Amazing. He makes me laugh 24/7 which is the best thing in the world!
Eli and MJ do not know yet and Jason and I are praying over how and how much to tell them. If you see me in public and my babies are with me and you mention the "C" word I will kick you right in the gut...hard. I say that in love, of course.
I have such an amazing network of friends and family and I will lean on all of you over the next few months!
While I did not expect this to happen to me, this came as no surprise to God. He has allowed this into my life and He will use it for His glory. I am His vessel, my life is not my own and the good work He started in me in 1972 will be completed in His perfect way and perfect time. I do not fight this bad news, rather I embrace this as an opportunity -- an opportunity to glorify God and edify others. Trust me, you have not lived until you have faced the possibility of dying. (I'm NOT going to die, but let me tell you those first few days were very dark) Nothing in the world looks or feels the same to me anymore. What seemed so important two weeks ago no longer matters.
This coming week I meet with a surgeon and have a PET scan. I'll keep ya posted!
No guilt in life, no fear in death this is the power of Christ in me. From life's first cry to final breath Jesus commands my destiny! AMEN