After posting my link to this site on Facebook last night, I became sick to my stomach. It was a bit overwhelming and I wasn’t quit sure I had done the right thing. I felt vulnerable as I am never one to really share much about myself. This morning reading all the wonderful comments and support made me realize it touched more people than I expected. I felt as if I had just possibility embarrassed myself. However, It truly was so kind to read all the supportive messages and responses. I feel blessed to be going into this journey with such a great support group. From now on people can visit this site and read my blog as they wish which allows me to feel a bit more at ease without having to post anything to Facebook.
Today I received a call from a nurse at Lutheran explaining more information about my diagnosis. She was very informative and was able to give me some initial answers we have been waiting for. She explained I have Invasive ductal carcinoma grade 2 cancer. What does that mean? Invasive means that the cancer has invaded or spread to he surrounding breast tissue. Ductal means that the cancer began in the milk ducts, which are the “pipes” that carry milk from the milk-producing lobules to the nipple. I was shocked to hear the cancer began in the milk duct. I asked her if this meant I got cancer from breast feeding because to my understanding breast feeding lowers your risk of developing breast cancer. She then said it could have been but that its very rare. I have breastfed three children for a combined total of 3 years and four months. I would think that would be a huge reducer…lol. Anyways, she went on to explain the different grades. There are three grades of cancer. Grade refers to how different the cancer cells are from normal cells. Grade 1 is a low grade and looks a little bit different from normal cells and is usually slow growing. Grade 2 is an intermediate/moderate grade. The cancer cells do not look like normal cells. They are growing a little faster than normal. Grade 3 is a high grade. Cancer cells look very different from normal cells. They are fast growing.
Grade is different than the stage of cancer. Stage refers to how far the cancer has spread. I have not had a full exam at this point only a biopsy of the one lump (tumor) I had felt. I will be getting a full exam this Thursday. The nurse also said I might not get the full understanding of what stage cancer I have until after surgery.
After the “big news” call from my doctor last Tuesday evening. She asked I come into the office the next morning to have some lab work done (only time I have been to the doctor since the news). I was recommended to have the gene testing done to see if I am a carrier. This test is called the BRCA test which I understand to carry the gene mutation for breast cancer is very rare. It only accounts for 5% of breast cancers. Having this knowledge however will inform us further on the treatment plan and the likely hood of me developing cancer again n the future. I should have my results on this test by April 6th.
I want to thank everyone once again for your thoughts and prayers. I have received many messages and phone calls and if I haven’t responded yet or called you back just know I will!