April 3, 2016
I apologize for not writing a post these last few days. As many of you reading may know, I am currently in Arizona enjoying time off for the kids’ spring break. It definitely has been a nice break. The best part is just being together as a family with Lenny as he has taken some time off as well. I wanted to go on vacation without thinking too much of my diagnosis and what will take place.
I did receive a call on Friday from the general surgeon’s office. They wanted to know how long I was going to be gone and arranged all my testing for the first weekday I would be back. I am now scheduled to meet my medical oncologist, have my first mammogram, have an MRI, and a Chest x-ray and lab work completed on April 11th. They then have a time blocked out for me April 13th for a biopsy only if there is anything further that is discovered. I will then have surgery on April 18th. I am not sure what surgery will be performed but that is what lies ahead. At this point a lumpectomy would be the best fit if nothing else arises.
Ever since this news I have felt in a bit rushed as it was to my understanding surgery would follow a few weeks later after the additional testing. I also have wanted to read the book my doctor recommended so I could be completely informed. This is the bible of breast cancer however, and I personally feel it is important to know all my choices as far as surgery goes and what treatment will be best. I had a friend actually gift this book to me and I was going to start it once I returned home since it was still in the mail before I left. I recently have downloaded it on my mother in law’s kindle to get started to get started now.
April 4, 2016
I began reading the “Breast Book” by Susan Love. So much information to take in but I love it. I’ve been skimming the chapters trying to gather an overview and to understand my diagnosis a bit better. I come upon a lot of statistics that I continue to share with Lenny as I read them. I find the statistics and percentages interesting. Had I read the information I’ve touched on so far in this book just a few months ago, it would have put me at ease that my risk of developing breast cancer would be pretty low to my understanding. There was a list and I was able to put myself into almost every category which stated, combined, would drop my risk significantly. However, all those categories, stats, and percentages don’t matter now in my case. I have the cancer and obviously my cancer wasn’t the cause of any of these but possibility the exposure to external risk factors or possibility I may be a carrier of a mutated gene for cancer. What matters now is treating it and treating it in a way that will lower my chance of it returning.
Learning more about the genetic testing regarding the mutated gene referred to as BRCA 1 and 2 has also been interesting. As I mentioned in a previous post, only 5% of all breast cancers can be attributed back to being a gene carrier of the disease. There are women who will get tested before ever getting cancer to make their own conscious decision on what they will do if it does come back positive, as Angelina Jolie did. Not everyone with the gene will develop breast cancer but those who inherit it will have a higher risk. What I did not know is the same mutated gene accounts for ovarian cancer as well. My doctor did explain if for any reason I am a gene carrier they will want to proceed with a double bi-lateral mastectomy along with an oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries). I do have a first-degree relative, my mother, who had breast cancer, and both of my Great-Grandmothers on my mother’s side also had breast cancer. You might think I have inherited the gene based on family history. What I have come to learn though is there is a much larger group of women whose cancer is polygenic. This means there is a family history of breast cancer that isn’t directly passed on through each generation in one dominate gene. Some members of the family get it and others don’t. This category would suggest the cancer is actually genetic but it is not noticed as the BRCA 1 or 2 gene. Hopefully we will begin to see further discoveries on genetic testing.
The evening I found out I had the cancer, my PCP wanted me in the next day to send away for the genetic testing, as long as I agreed with it. I did. The only thing I wanted to know was if my insurance company could discriminant against me in the future. I know of the act I believe that went into play in ’08 or ’09 but I do know there are variations of it determined by the state you live in. I obviously did not have the time to research this before heading into the office the next morning. The rush in getting it completed so quickly was because it would take two weeks to get the results back. The positives of it will allow us to know either way what precautions to take for our girls and it will allow for the correct treatment for myself. Lenny and I were both for it. I should be hearing back this week, as I did have the test completed two weeks ago this Wednesday.
I will be writing hopefully again tonight or tomorrow to share more on my experience of what my Pastor calls my, “Awakening.”