Finding Out You Have Cancer Is Never Easy

Finding out you have cancer is never easy.

Neither is finding out someone you love has cancer.

I will never forget sitting in the oncologist’s office in my early 20’s with my Mom and Dad finding out all the details of my Mom’s Ocular Melanoma. I remember asking the Dr. if it was hereditary and if I should be worried about getting it. He said it was not, but that 3 out of 4 people would be diagnosed with some sort of cancer in their lifetime.

I always figured one day I would get the news that I have cancer, I just never thought I would be 41 (41 and 1 day to be exact.)

In 2014, I found a lump in my right breast and had some swollen lymph nodes under my arm. I had a mammogram and ultrasound done and everything was clear. A friend told me she had similar issues but they were related to caffeine and when she cut that out, they went away. So I decided to give that a try and sure enough, they went away. The Dr. said they were nothing to worry about and I could drink caffeine and just know what would happen if I did.

I stayed off of it for a while, but eventually started drinking coffee again, as I missed having it in the morning. So a few months ago, when I noticed a lump in my other breast, I didn’t think much of it. In August I decided to ditch caffeine again so that it would go away and also made an appointment for a physical, since I hadn’t had one in a couple years.

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Waiting is Tough

I’ve had a stomach ache all day. Yesterday I felt nauseous all day, and today just have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that doesn’t go away. My mind just knows something is wrong, even if I feel fine. I hope that goes away as I get used to the idea. It still seems so foreign. I find myself just walking around the house, wondering what to do. (Part of that could also be that since the girls have been back in school for 4 days, the house is cleaner and Iā€™m more organized . . .therefore I have less to do on the weekend.)

I went to workout this morning. It always challenges me. I love the friendships I have built with the women there. But of course my mind goes straight to wondering how long I will be able to keep going to it. Even just wondering if I can go the Wednesday after my biopsy next Monday. The silly things I wonder about!! I guess there’s always modifications as I need it.

I wonder how my Dad is doing with the news. He has lost 2 parents, 2 inlaws and a wife, all to different types of cancer. And now his daughter tells him she most likely has it? 19 hours is too far to be away from him right now . . .

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Heaviness and Depression

It was a long weekend, not because of anything that happened, but just because of the news and the fact it kept coming to my mind. Life will never be the same. Never again will I be able to go to the Dr. and answer no to all of the medical history questions like I did last Wednesday.

I felt like I was walking around in a daze. I just have this feeling of heaviness and depression. Different things keep coming to my mind and I try and get them out right away, but then a new one will pop in my head. Grrrr! I think not know the exact details of what is wrong is that hardest. I’m praying for a cancellation so I can get an earlier biopsy. It’s hard to wait this long and then know I have to wait a few days after that for the results.

I’m grateful for the texts, phone calls and emails from friends and family, just letting us know that they care and are here for us.

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Waiting with Nothing to Do

It’s strange having the girls gone at school so long each day. I have a long list of things I’d like to get done and yesterday was a great productive today. However, this afternoon, I really feel like doing nothing. So here I sit on the bed, doing just that.

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Biopsy Day

I finally made it to biopsy day. I started the day with a haircut to get ready for the cruise next week and did a little shopping. Then lunch with Tom who was working from home. Glad I had a busy morning to keep my mind occupied. I didn’t sleep well last night. This morning was full of text messages with scripture and encouragement from friends. šŸ™‚

The biopsy hurt a lot more than I thought it would. The lidocaine they gave me for the local didn’t get deep enough into the tumor and the first needle REALLY hurt. She injected more lidocaine through the needle which took some of the pain away after a few minutes. The second biopsy on the swollen lymph node only hurt when they were numbing it. The biopsy pieces were the size of grains of rice.

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What to Expect from a Breast Biopsy

The account below is my personal experience. Each person’s experience/treatment is different, depending on their cancer and care. This is just my story, shared in hopes of helping others.

When the radiologist told me I would need to have a breast biopsy, she told me that most women handle it very well. So I chose to not research it or look into it at all. She told me the radiologist would numb the area and then use a needle to taike a few samples from the lump and also from a lymph node. She said there would be a loud clicking noise, but that it shouldn’t hurt.

That was true for the second biopsy, the one taken from my lymph node. A small pinch for the lidocaine and then a loud click and some pressure to take the sample.

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The Biopsy Results

I got a call from Dr. MacAbee (my primary care Dr.) at 9am this morning. I did not expect to hear anything today and was so surprised to get her call. The biopsy came back positive and it is malignant, both the tumor and the lymph node. She said it’s Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I was able to call the breast surgeon’s office and get an appointment for 1 pm TODAY instead of having to wait until Monday morning. šŸ™‚ Praise God for that opening!

After workout (which I had to miss because of the biopsy on Monday), Jen stopped by with a latte and a muffin and I was able to tell her in person. We chatted about it for a bit and then more about life. We spent some time in prayer. I’m so glad she came over!

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How is This Possible?

It still baffles me that I have breast cancer. Today as I’m in the dressing from getting ready for my MRI, and the technician was asking me questions, I had to say, “I have breast cancer.” It just doesn’t seem real.

I’m going in for all these test and Dr. appointments (while trying to hide them from the 3 kids until we know more). I feel wonderful. I’m unpacking snorkels and waterproof bags from amazon.com and thinking about what to pack for a 10 day cruise on a Princess cruise ship (my dream vacation) with just my husband to Mexico to celebrate our 20th anniversary. (God’s timing is perfect! Well, it always is, but sometimes it just seems more obvious to me than others.)

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What to Expect from a Breast MRI

Let’s get a few things clear. When someone tells you it’s going to be loud, they don’t mean it’s going to be a loud humming noise and you’ll be able to listen to the music you have selected to listen to on YouTube.

What they really mean is that there are VERY LOUD PULSING BEATS FOR MINUTES AT A TIME.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, here was my experience today as I went in for a breast MRI.

When I was taken back, I got changed into two gowns and some very large pants. I answered some questions from the technician and then was taken to a semiprivate waiting area where I had an IV put in. Just a quick pinch and that was that. šŸ™‚

Once they were ready for me we went into the scan room. I’m sure it has a technical name, but I have no idea what it is.

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More Waiting…

As I write this, I’m sitting on the back of the Crown Princess in one of their lounges overlooking La Paz, Mexico. Being on a cruise has been a great distraction, except for the shooting pains and sore breast that have started in the last few days. šŸ™ I got a little choked up as I wore my spaghetti strap formal and also my bathing suit, wondering if I’ll ever be able to wear them again. Funny the things that go through your mind.

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