Saturday, May 30, 2009

And the MRI result

I went to have the MRI on my hip on Friday around lunchtime. I went in there a little bit concerned about the tongue ring, but I was assured that there was nothing to worry about there. So I crawl into the machine. (Really not clausterphobic! Yay!) The tech starts the machine and I feel something poking me at the top of my head. I thought it may be the headphones I was wearing so I reached up and...holy crap...I forgot to take the bobbi pins out from my hair. They were sticking straight out, boring into my head. I debated for a bit whether I should just ignore it, but I had visions of it slowly drilling into my skull and brain. I then reached up to take them out, when something stopped me. Wait a minute. If I pull them out, I don't know if I could hold onto them and then they become a projectile. I could lose an eye. So once the first test is over (a minute and a half total), I calmly tell the tech that I forgot to take the pins out of my hair. He quickly came in and got them for me. On with the test for the next 35 minutes.

Friday, May 29, 2009

PET Results

I called the doctor's office yesterday to get the results of my PET scan as well as the pathology of the cancer cells. I called in the a.m. and then again around 3:30. (I am not usually this persistant, but I realized this is MY LIFE). The receptionist checked to see if my message was received and informs me that the doctor wants to talk to me and will call me later. (Seriously? I've been here before and it wasn't good news last time!)

So, I fret the remainder of the day about what could be the problem. I have learned that when I am really worrying about something, I tend to withdraw into myself. I'm actually so self absorbed that I pay attention to nothing else. I feel really guilty when I am like this because the kids start acting up to get my attention. Something to work on.

The doctor called around 5:15 (at least I didn't have to wait too long). I escaped to the closet so that I might be able to actually hear what he had to say. Everytime the phone rings, the kids start screaming and fighting with eachother. If I leave the room, THEY FOLLOW ME. I have found that I can go to the closet, sit against the door and the clothes make a soundproof room, kinda.

The doctor tells me that there was some abnormal shadowing around my hip and the radiologist was concerned that it could be cancer. I have been having pain in my hip for almost 2 1/2 months now. It actually started around the time I was doing Taekwondo. I remember trying to kick and it would hurt. The pain has gotten worse and I feel it when I am lying down as well. It has actually made me old because that leg is weak and I have to use my hand to move the leg when I am sitting.

The doc asked me if I had ever injured it in a car accident or something. No. I did tell him about Taekwondo and he didn't seem convinced. He told me he was speaking candidly and he is very concerned that it is cancer.

I am going to have a MRI of the hip and a CT guided biopsy (Woot! My insurance company must love me!) as soon as possible. I don't have a problem with the MRI, but the biopsy is a little concerning. It sounds painful and places me as the pincushion again. The last time I had a biopsy, I had a weird reaction that put me in the emergency room for 10 hours. I don't want to do that again.

I am supposed to start chemo on Monday and the doc says we may have to delay it a day or two to get this done. He wants to know everything that he is dealing with. I am ready to start chemo. I want to get to the treatment part now. The tests are annoying and all the while I still have cancer and we aren't treating it yet! I am getting really frustrated. Every day we delay this is another day longer that I have to do this.

On another note, the doctory did say the cancer cells are estrogen receptors. I believe this is a good thing because they can cut the estrogen and the cancer cells will lose their food supply.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

PET Scan

Today I had my PET scan. This is the one test that I have been anxiously waiting will be able to tell me whether or not the cancer has spread anywhere else besides one lymph node. When they called me back, Shawn came with me to hold my hand while they started the IV. I really hate IVs! Every time I have needed one, it takes forever and there is usually digging involved. Each nurse that tries lets me know she will only stick me twice and then call someone else. It is absolutely horrible! This time, a really HOT guy came in to start the IV. This is apparently what I needed because it took no time at all.

Once the IV was started, he injected me with a type of glucose with a radioactive tracer. The reclined me back turned down the lights and everyone had to leave. I was sitting in a lead protected room all by myself with a camera watching me. It was WONDERFUL to have this absolute quiet time to myself. I wasn't going to waste it sleeping, so I read for an hour. Oh, the luxury.

After an hour, the tech came and got me for the scan. It actually wasn't too bad. I thought I would be afraid of going into the "tube", but that was not a problem. The problem was when they covered me in blankets and then strapped my arms down. This was NOT OK. I took a deep breath and she asked me everything was OK. I told her that I didn't like being tied down. She then loosened the straps so I could move a bit. Of course I didn't move, but just knowing that I could if I needed to helped immensely.

The scan lasted approximately 1/2 hour and then I was on my way. I was radioactive for the remainder of the day and had to act like I had the flu and try to stay clear of the kids. This was difficult because everytime I sit down, someone thinks they need to share the same space I am occupying.

I hope to get my results by Thursday. Hopefully this will be good news. Wish me luck.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Wow! Really?

Well on May 14, 2009, I was diagnosed with invasive ductal adenocarcinoma (breast cancer). The cancer is in at least one lymph node as well. Weird. I am only 32 years old. How did this happen. Did I mention that I have 3 little ones? 7, 5, and 2? How am I going to do this? I know that I have to beat this thing. I am still needed here.

I was shocked at first. I received a phone call from my doctor and was told that he needed to see me and my husband in his office. I already knew. Shawn came home and we drove to the doctor's office. There really wasn't much conversation in the car as we drove to the office. It was kind of weird, I can't say what he was thinking, but I was scared out of my mind. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally arrived at the office.

When the doctor came into the office, he was very nice about the whole thing and told us that we were going to go for a total recovery (well I would hope so...). He let me know that he already called the surgeon and oncologist and I would be seeing both of these doctors early next week. He also gave me a long list of vitamins I needed to start taking right away. (This proved to be difficult as I do not take pills regularly and continue to forget them most days.) We left his office and the ride home was filled with phone calls and tears.

The weekend was very anticlimactic. Most of the time we were just going through the motions, and emotions were not openly expressed. I remember that I cried a lot, but tried to keep it to myself. Several people asked me if we were going to tell the kids. We planned to, we just wanted to wait until we could wrap our head around the idea first. We finally told the kids on Sunday night. We let them know that mommy was sick and the doctors were going to give her medicine to try to make her better. They were really good about it and didn't ask a lot of questions right away. We left the floor open if they decided they had questions later as things started happening.

I was really having a tough time deciding to go ahead with a mastectomy, but on Sunday, I kind of came to a realization that it might be the best option. I definitely wanted to have reconstruction surgery however. On Monday, I went to the surgeon's office. The surgeon came in, asked me some questions and left telling me to get dressed. I quickly did, but was in shock. Seriously, I was putting my breast in this man's hands? He won't even talk to me. He was gone for awhile and I was getting rather disgusted when he came back into the room. He told me that he was reviewing my films and then had called the oncologist to give his recommendation. I was feeling much better about my choice in docs now. At least they were communicating and making me feel like I was a priority.

The surgeon's suggestion was to do chemo first since there wasn't a clearly defined mass within the breast. He said he wouldn't know if he got it all if he went in now and cut. He also said that it was possible to save my breast if the chemo was able to shrink the cancer enough for a lumpectomy. (Yeah!) This information however was bittersweet. I don't know if I want to risk a lumpectomy or not now. I did leave the surgeon's office feeling a little bit better because I knew things were happening now. I wasn't just sitting here wondering...

On Tuesday, I went to the oncologist's office. When I checked it, I was surpised at how crowded the waiting room was. It was actually very sad for me. Many of the people didn't look happy in there. I hope this was more due to their wait rather than their plight. When I saw the oncologist, he examined me as well and left me to get dressed. While he was gone he was reviewing my films. He informed me that he was in agreement with the surgeon. We needed to do chemo first.

When the doctor went through the risks of the cancer recurring and the risks of chemo, it was a tough time. He wanted me to have a heart scan to get a baseline on my heart muscle as chemo can damage my heart, although it is a rare side effect. (What? Damage my heart? If my heart doesn't work, what is the point of all of this?). The doctor told me that I would recieve 6 cycles of chemo, once every 3 weeks. (My thoughts...holy crap, there goes the summer!). I was also informed that I was going to lose my hair. When he left, Shawn had his first weak moment. He wanted to just cut it out and then have chemo. The thought of 18 weeks of chemo really upset him. He said he didn't want to see me go through that for so long.

Tuesday was by far the most difficult for me. This made it a little more real. Shawn was stressing out and he was not that pleasant of a person to be around. I was afraid that I was going to suffer horribly and undignified. I was going to lose my hair and it appeared that I was going to be stuck numerous times with IV's, shots, blood draws, etc. This was going to really suck!

Since this time, I have already had my heart scan and I will have my PET scan on Tuesday. Chemo will begin the following Monday, June 1st. I am debating purchasing a wig, or just sticking with hats and scarves. Shawn and Tiffany think I should just go bald; they say it is a badge of honor, but I don't want people to look at me and say "She must be sick." I also want to try to be as active as I can through this time so that I can. I don't want my kids to see me sick either. Positive thoughts are the key right?

Everyone was very supportive right away. I am blessed with wonderful family and friends that have come forward to offer help and support. I thank you and love you all. I will not be able to make it without each of you.