Sunday, July 31, 2011

"I Run For Life"

By Melissa Ethridge

"Streams in the Desert"

A good friend gave me a copy of L.B. Cowman's "Streams in the Desert" - 365 daily devotional readings.  It was so touched by the devotionals that spoke to my heart, that I gave each of my 3 daughters a copy for Mother's Day.  My recommendation is get yourself a copy and give a copy to all those you love - especially those in need of spiritual comfort.  I must share with you today's devotional:

July 31
With skillful hands he led them.  (Psalm 78:72)

"When you are unsure which course to take, totally submit your own judgment to that of the Spirit of God, asking Him to shut every door except the right one.  But meanwhile keep moving ahead and consider the absence of a direct indication from God to be the evidence of His will that you are on His path.  And as you continue down the long road, you will find that He has gone before you,  locking doors you otherwise would have been inclined to enter.  Yet you can be sure that somewhere beyond the locked doors is one He has left unlocked.  And when you open it and walk through,  you will find yourself face to face with a turn in the river of opportunity - one that is broader and deeper than anything you ever dared to imagine, even in your wildest dreams.  So set sail on it,  because it flows to the open sea.

God often guides us through our circumstances.  One moment, our way may seem totally blocked, but then suddenly some seemingly trival incident occurs, appearing as nothing to others but speaking volumes to the  keep eye of faith.  And sometimes these events are repeated in various ways in response to our prayers.  They certainly are not haphazard results of chance but are God opening up the way we should walk,  by directing our circumstances.  And they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights of a city seem to increase as we speech toward it while travelidng at night." - F.B. Meyer

"If you go to God for guidance, He will guide you.  But do not expect Him to console you by showing you His list of purposes concerning you, when you have displayed distrust or even half-trust in Him.  What He will do, if you will trust Him, and go cheerfully ahead when He shows you the way, is to guide you still further."  - Horace Bushnell

As moves my fragile boat across the storm-swept sea,
Great waves beat o'er her side, as north wind blows;
Deep in the darknesss hid like threat'ning rocks and reefs;
But all of these,  and more,  my Pilot knows.

Sometimes when darkness falls, and every light's gone out,
I wonder to what port my frail ship goes;
Although the night be long, and restless all my hours,
My distant goal, I'm sure, my Pilot knows.
- Thomas Curtis Clark

Saturday, July 30, 2011

MRI Was Good!

MORE GOOD TESTS RESULTS!!! Got the MRI results back of the breasts and underarms and the cancer is JUST where we already knew it was - in the left breast - about 2" X 3". Thanks for the prayers & keep 'em coming. Gotta' long road ahead, but I'm ready for the journey with God, family, and friends by my side.

I go see Dr. David Euhus at UTSWMC on Monday.  I pray that he is the one for me!  Doctor shopping is not fun.  Taking him all my test DVDs, CDs, & film.  He was faxed all my written biopsy and tests results.  Cannot wait to talk to him.  Think I'll go buy a tiny tape recorder so I won't have to struggle to remember so much later on.

Quote for the Day:  "We must trust the Lord through the darkness, and honor Him with unwavering confidence even in the midst of difficult situations.  The reward of this kind of faith will be like that of an eagle shedding its feathers is said to receive - a renewed sense of youth and strength."  - J.R. Macduff

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good Tests Results So Far!

The breast surgeon from Bedford called me while I was in the dressing room trying on tacky little old lady snap or zip up the front dusters for my surgery recovery (stylin' granddaughter Caitlyn will NOT like these - ha).  The total bone scan was CLEAR (they just noticed some of the arthritis I like to complain about) and the CT scan of the chest and abdomen was also CLEAR!  Praise God from who all blessings flow!  Still waiting to hear on the breast and underarm MRI - it takes much more pictures and takes longer to get results back - but I expect them back on Monday.

Sorry for so many updated posts today - but good things are happening fast!

Scripture from SLP friend, Lisa -   Phillipians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Another Major Change!

Dr. David Euhus' office just emailed me and they WILL SEE ME SOONER!!   August 1 at 1:30 PM!!!  I'm crying tears of joy and relief!  God is good!  (And thanks friend, Carolyn!!!!!),,20095,00.html

Change of Plans!

I never thought I'd be writing this today - but sometimes God find ways to get through to your heart and senses.  I was led to seek an appointment with Dr. David Euhus at UTSWMC by information received from a friend and from the personal experience of a nurse at a different medical location even.  God had Dr. Euhus call me himself last Tuesday - directly - and offer his services.  He wanted me to come in that day - but I was wear of 2nd and 3rd opinions.  Why, did I turn him down?  Well, after these signs from God, and after reading DR. SUSAN LOVE'S BREAST BOOK last night - the Bible on breast cancer - I knew I had to see absolutely the most top notch, highly recommended medical team of doctors in this area.  All my records from the tests today (which I do not know the results as of yet) will be faxed to Dr. Euhus.  I will also take him my pathology report from the biopsy and the CD of my breast sonogram and diagnostic mammogram.  I have an appointment with Dr. Euhus at 11:00 a.m. next Friday, August 5 - next available on his schedule - unless he returns the personal call I have in to him to see if time is of the essence for an earlier appointment.  I FEEL SO GOOD AND PEACEFUL ABOUT THIS - finally!  Thanks for all your prayers and continue to pray that this may be my answer to a successful outcome.

I am cancelling my appoint for Monday with the plastic surgeon in Fort Worth because there is a chance I will not be using the breast surgeon that referred me to him.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plastic Surgeon Consult

I have an appointment with the plastic surgeon recommended by the Bedford breast surgeon on Monday at his Fort Worth office.  He is the plastic surgeon who will reconstruct my perky new boobs! 
As I already said, the breast MRI, CAT scan for chest and abdomen, and total body scan will be done tomorrow at Methodist Hospital in Mansfield.  Monica is picking me up and taking me and Michele is staying with me all day.  They are a great little tag team.

Those results to see if the cancer has spread (continue praying that it has not) will depend on the next steps.  If it has spread I'll have to have chemotherapy before the bilateral mastectomies.  If it has not spread, the plastic surgeon & breast surgeon will immediatley plan their schedules with the hospital's to set up my surgery.

I have been reading up on what to do to prepare for the surgery.  This is what I've found out so far:
* Get out my robes, gowns, pajamas, and shirts that button up the front because I won't be able to put anything on over my head.
* Get a stack of take out menus handy.
* Get myself 2-3 sports bras with front closures. (How the heck do I know what size I'll need with my boobies gone?)
* Set out my slip on shoes and slippers because I will not be able to bend down to tie or pull on shoes.
*  Have at least 2 ice packs for each side.  (I would have never thought of that!)  They help with swelling and alleviate soreness.  You don't want them too big or heavy though because you could find the pressure from the weight to be uncomfortable.  They say Target sells ice packs for children that work perfectly.They are found and fit perfectly inside a bra (but was warned, they usually have a princess or Spiderman on them!).
*  Charge my electric razor becuase it will not be easy to shave under my arms after surgery.  You also don't have much feeling in the area.  An electric razon will allow me to safely shave under my arms.  Well, that's good to know!
* Set everything I need at waist level because I will not be able to reach up into cabinets or closets.  (I remember one time in 1985, when I had back surgery after a car wreck, I was at home recouperating.  I dropped a Ding Dong on the floor & had to pick it up with my toes so that my dog wouldn't eat it and die!  That was squishy between my toes as I crushed the chocolate against the cream filling!
* Can you think of anything else?
That's all the info I've had time to find out today.  Have books to read and more online research to do!

I cut my hair about 3" today because that long stuff was bothering me.  I now have a short, layered bob like I've worn a lot in the past.  This will do me until chemo starts and we have a head shaving party!

I have two good friends that are very knowledgeable about wigs and have some very cute ones for themselves.  They are each going to take me to their favorite wig salons in the Dallas area to get me set up for when the hair goes.  You know they say, "HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW".    I've seen some real sassy wigs online & cannot wait to get a couple!  I'll get short, gray ones to match my natural hair. 

Dr. Brian gave me a prescription for 0.50 mgs of Xanax and I slept like a baby last night!  Woohoo!  I didn't even wake up to go to the bathroom.  She is a life saver, in more ways than one!

My sweet little 3 year old granddaughter, Ava, wanted to see my boo-boo.  I showed her yesterday (only the badly bruised top of my boobie) and she quickly reached over & kissed it before I knew what she was doing.  She goes to a Christian school - and let me tell you, that girl knows how to pray!!!

This all seems so surreal.  I feel like I'm living someone else's life.  As Hoda said, "I'm floating above it all, wondering whose life I am watching."  This is indeed an out of body experience.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Test Day Plans

I have an appointment at Methodist Hospital in Mansfield Thursday to get all my tests out of the way.  I will have a Breast MRI, CAT scan of chest and abdomen, and total body bone scan.  These tests are to see if the cancer has spread from the breast - PLEASE PRAY FOR ME THAT IT HAS NOT!!!!

Chemotherapy will be after the mastectomy surgery, unless the cancer has spread.  Then, chemotherapy will be done before the surgery.  I pray that is not the case.

I have to be at the hospital at 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning, and cannot eat or drink after midnight Wednesday.  It will be a long day of tests - approximately 6 hours.  Monica will take me, Michele will come to the hospital to stay with me, then Monica will take me home.  The results will be in either Friday or Monday.

I will be receiving a call later today to schedule my appointment to consult with the plastic surgeon.  That could be a trip to either his Southlake, Fort Worth, or Keller office.

Plan Is Evolving!

Here are the notes my youngest daughter, Monica, took yesterday:

Notes From Breast Surgeon in Bedford: 
·         No lumpectomy, definitely mastectomy for left breast
·         Treat the local disease by performing a mastectomy on left breast
·         Look at the risks…see if the cancer is somewhere else…use the MRI to determine that.
·         Grade tells about the cells dividing and how normal they are – Mom = Grade 2
·         Stage tells how big it is.  This surgeon thinks maybe stage two and it is 5 cm.
·         Will need the bone scan to see if it has spread to the bones.  The most common place to spread is the bones; however she didn’t think that it had.
·         Will also need a cat scan to see if it has spread other places, i.e. lungs and liver.
·         Didn’t feel it in the lymph nodes but the data from the path reports and MRI will help show if it has spread
·         Mom might need anti-estrogen meds
·         Mom will probably need chemo – it depends on the lymph nodes and receptors
o        4-6 treatments
o        Once every three weeks
o        She recommends either oncologists at either the  Bedford or Arlington South Texas Oncology Centers.
·          The recommended plastic surgeon for breast reconstruction offices out of Fort Worth, Southlake, and Keller. The mastectomies and the  beginning of reconstruction are done at the same time.
·         If the MRI, which is to be done in a few days in Mansfield, looks normal, mom doesn’t have to do the double mastectomy, however, with breast cancer there is a 10% chance cancer will show up in the other breast over the next ten years.  With lobular cancer, the risk is even higher. 
·         If mom didn’t choose the double mastectomy, then she would still have to have a lift and reduction so the breasts match.  Double mastectomies will probably be done since it is easier to go ahead and alleviate worries of future occurrence
·         The tissue expanders are the most common, easiest, and safest.
·         After the double mastectomy, the surgeon would leave the skin flaps.
·         The plastic surgeon would insert an empty implant under the muscle.
·         Over the next two to three surgeries, the surgeon would stretch it out with saline, eventually take it out and put in a new implant, and then do the nipple reconstruction.
·         Mom will probably not need radiation but we won’t know for sure until we have all of the data back from the tests.
·         Mom will spend 2 nights in the hospital and then heal at home with drainage tubes for ten days to two weeks.  She will not be able to raise her arms during this time so everything from the shelves and cabinets at home will be brought down to reachable waist level before the surgery.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Marvelous Monday!

This will be short and sweet until more details follow tomorrow.  Baby daughter Monica took me to see the breast surgeon in Bedford today for my 2nd opinion.  We both felt like she is the breast surgeon for me. She gave us a plan and answered our questions. We have tremendous confidence in her so I have decided to go with her.  We had a celebration family dinner at El Gabacho with my precious granddaughters and son-in-law afterwards.  However, I am weary and brain dead.  Monica took notes and taped the consultation on her iPhone.  She is going to go home and type them up and send them to me.  I will share with you tomorrow - more information than you probably want to know.  I trust this breast surgeon and just cannot put myself through anymore consults and opinions.  She gave me a prescription for Xanax so I can cancel my appointment tomorrow with the internist that doesn't seem to know or understand me - who would not refill my prescription without another appointment tomorrow afternoon - remember, I just saw him last week.  I felt like going to his office and pulling a Shirley MacClaine - remember Terms of Endearment?.  Can you just see me at his receptionist desk trying to convice him to give me something for anxiety as I am screaming?  Now, I don't have to do that.  : )

I will be contacted tomorrow for an breast MRI appointment at the hospital in Mansfield who has breast imaging MRI equipment - yay!  Then a CAT scan of chest and abdomen and whole body bone scan - we don't know where yet.  Then genetic testing to for the sake of my daughters and grandchildren.  Then an oncologist consultation and she thinks highly of one here in good old Arlington - yahoo!  I will need chemotherapy but possible not radiation.  Monica figured that the chemotherapy should be finished by Christmas.  I know my good friends JANET AND CHRIS will help me find a sassy wig!  I will also have a plastic surgeon consultation before the mastectomy/mastectomies.  How big do I want to be?  Nipples or no nipples?  At least I'll be perky again, folks!

At the restaurant, 3 year old Ava wanted to see my "boo-boo" & 6 year old Ella asked if I had already had my surgery - looking first at my chest, then my face - ha!  I told Ava I would show her my "boo-boo" in the morning when I baby-sit my precious granddaughters.  They are coming over for Mimi time and blueberry muffins while mom and dad go to their last meeting with their financial planner.  Of course, my "boo-boo", like any other, looks worse than when the biopsy was done - you know how bruises get darker and meaner looking after the initial injury has taken place.

Tomorrow, folks.  I'm going to bed early!!!  Tylenol PM here I come!

Monstrous Monday!

I have had much anxiety and sleeplessness since my diagnosis with breast cancer.  Right now I am "interviewing" breast surgeons to find the right fit for a medical team.  All I have as a regular doctor is my internist.  Well, he has failed me.  When I first got the diagnosis I called his office and told them I did, in fact, have breast cancer and was seeking treatment, but that in the meantime could he do anything to settle my nerves and help me sleep.  He called me in a prescription for 20 Xanax - you take one every 8 hours.  I called his office Friday after the biopsy results came in and asked if he would refill the Xanax, which was all taken, and if there was anything he could prescribe as a sleep aid rather than me taking Tylenol PM by the handful.  I got no answer last Friday.  I called today and repeated the same request.  Dr. Internist just had the receptionist call and tell me he will not prescribe any more Xanax or anything for anxiety or any sleeping aid until he sees me!  He saw me last week, felt my mass which he said was "just" dense tissue, sent me for sonogram and diagnostic mammogram, sent me to breast surgeon, found out I have breast cancer and still insists on me coming into the office to examine me before he will call anything in?  How insensitive and unnecessary is that?!  I asked the receptionist that called me back, "WHAT DOES HE WANT ME TO DO?  COME IN AND SEE ME CRYING AND SHAKING AND THROWING UP?  HE JUST SAW ME LAST WEEK!  DOES HE WANT TO FEEL THE MASS IN MY BREAST AGAIN TO MAKE SURE IT IS STILL THERE?" She calmly says, can you come in tomorrow at 4:30 PM?  I said yes, out of desperation, but.........

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Breast Surgeon Search

I am so confused as to which way to turn to select the best breast surgeon.  Each breast surgeon will have their own plastic surgeon to do the reconstruction surgeries, and their own encologist.  I need and want a great, aggressive team.

I welcome any advice or knowledge you have to help me get this choice behind me.

Here is who I have an appt. with tomorrow for a 2nd opinion:
Dr. Mary Brian:

Here are others that have been recommended:
Dr. Sally Knox:

Here is a list of breast cancer doctors at UT Southwestern Dallas Center for Breast Care:

Any other suggestions????

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Biopsy Results Appt.

Okay, here's the latest from Dr. Local Breast Surgeon that Dr. Internist sent me to - seems like local doctors refer you to local doctors, and I guess I'm okay with that.   She is nice, but very, very young.  And I have learned that you ALWAYS get at least a 2nd opinion so that you can have peace with whatever the plan of action.  Insurance pays for it & good surgeons expect you to do so and are not insulted.

Dr. Local Breast Surgeon said today, July 22:
The pathology report does confirm have Invasive Lobular Carcinoma in my left breast.  This type of cancer has an increased risk of occuring in the other breast so the treatment of choice is bilateral mastectomies.  There are 3 Grades - 1, 2, or 3.  Mine is Grade 2. 

Next step is to have a breast MRI of both breasts & my underarms to see if the cancer has spread.  She uses Insight Imaging in Fort Worth.  Dr. Local Breast Surgeon will have them call me for an appointment for next week.

She said reconstruction would begin at the time of the mastectomies.  She uses a Fort Worth plastic surgeon for reconstruction.  She said he would insert expanders - and keep enlarging them until I get the desired size.  I think then he inserts the implants.  It will take several surgeries  and months or years to complete reconstruction.  There is even a nipple reconstruction phase.  Seems like a lot of trouble since I'm the only person that ever sees my naked body.  But, there's always hope to find Mr. Right, right?

She said 3 hours before surgery they will inject the sentinel lymph nodes with a dye to determine if cancer has invaded the lymph nodes.  Then during surgery she will inject another color of dye to determine further lymph node involvement.  I guess this lets her know how much to take out.  The Pathologist looks at these two tests to determine the "Stage" of the cancer - Stage 1, 2, 3, or 4 - with 4 being the worse.  Let's pray for 1!!!!

Dr. Local Breast Surgeon recommends a local oncologist at Arlington Cancer Center. 

The Fort Worth plastic surgeon called me this afternoon to set up a consultation with him next Tuesday in Fort Worth.  I can keep or cancel this appointment according to out the 2nd opinion goes.

Oh, Dr. Local Breast Surgeon also said that the entire body MRI to determine if the cancer has spread to the bones, liver, etc., is done after the mastectomies.  INTERESTINGLY, I talked to another friend of mine who went through the same thing last year and used one of the highly recommended breast surgeons below, and she said they put her through all kinds of MRIs and tests to determine the extent of the cancer on the body BEFORE they did the mastectomies.  Wow - that is scary if that step was going to be postponed when maybe it shouldn't.

End of story for today.

I put a call in to Dr. Internist this morning to ask him to refill my Xanax prescription for my anxiety.  He only gave me 10 days worth last week - to which the pharmacist said, "Why did he give you so few?"  I also asked his office to call me in a sleep aid.  Tylenol PM is not getting me to sleep or keeping me asleep.  Well, he did not call in either, so I'm dreading the weekend on my own.  I'll call again Monday and see where they dropped the ball.  The pharmacist felt sorry for me and even said he would fax my doctor and asked him if he would prescribe me a sleep aid - the pharmacist knows my cancer story.  I cannot be choosy about doctors becaue when you are on Medicare it is impossible in my area to find a family doctor that will accept you...and only a handful of internists will accept Medicare with Aetna TRS-Care as the secondary insurance.  Your reward for being a lifelong teacher in Texas and getting old!

Wanting to hurry & get a 2nd opinion, names I had to choose from were either a breast surgeon with Texas Oncology at Baylor in Dallas or breast surgeon with Texas Oncology in Beford.  I chose to get a 2nd opinion in Beford because it is closer.  Both were highly recommended and are experienced breast cancer specialists.

I was fortunate the Bedford breast surgeo will see Monday at 4:30 for a consultation.  Praise to the Lord for getting in to see her so soon!  I have to take her my CD of the images of my breast sonogram and diagnostic mammogram and the pathology report from the biopsy is being faxed to her this afternoon.  High school girlfriend, Paula, has offered to take me for support as I think all 3 of my daughters will be unavailable - one out of town, one at a teacher workshop, and one works evenings.
Thanks a million to high school girlfriend, Brenda, for taking me today, taking notes, and helping me ask questions.  You definitely need two sets of ears and two brains when taking in all this shocking and foreign news and information.
Please continue to remember in your prayers as I begin this journey.  Feel free to share with me any advice as I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off right now.

Mayo Clinic - ILC - ILC
Web MD - ILC
John Hopkins - ILC

Internet Description of Invasive/Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma of the breast:

Invasive or Infiltrating Lobular Carcinoma (ILC)

illustration of invasive lobular carcinomaInvasive or infiltrating lobular breast cancer (ILC) occurs when the cells in the milk lobule become abnormal. The lobular cancer cells look different from normal lobular cells and multiply without stopping. They spread outside the lobule into the surrounding breast tissue. ILC does not mean that the cancer has traveled to other parts of the body beyond the breast, but it has the ability to do so.

The terms well, moderately or poorly differentiated may also be used to describe ILC. Cancers that are well differentiated look more like normal cells in the milk lobules, while those that are poorly differentiated have lost many of their normal cell features. Moderately differentiated cancers fall in between.

Surgery, radiation, hormonal therapy andchemotherapy can all be used to treat ILC. Most women will receive a combination of treatments, although not necessarily all four types of treatments. The types of treatment recommended will depend upon the size of the cancer, whether the cancer is in the lymph nodes, features of the cancer cells themselves and your general health.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Hoda'ism:  The Diagnosis:  "My lumps were bad actors.  Malcontents.  Badasses." - Hoda Kotb

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Core Needle Biopsy

" The Mammotome"
Device on left is what goes into breast
for vacuum assisted core needle biopsy.
Well, today I get my core needle biopsy.  This almost seems like the cart was put before the horse, but after looking at my sonogram and diagnostic mammogram films and examining me, Dr. Local Breast Sureon felt confident enough to already say I have Invasive Lobular breast cancer.  The doctor said the biopsy results should be in Friday or Monday.  I hope it's not another weekend of anxiety like last weekend waiting for my first appointment to see the breast surgeon.  I couldn't get to sleep last night.  How does that old song go?  "Tossing and Turning...!"  I took one of the Xanax Dr. Internist gave me for anxiety about 7:00 PM and went to bed at 9:00 PM so I would be good and rested for today.  I decided not to take my regular Tylenol PM (which is how I've slept at all this past week) because I was afraid I'd oversleep or be groggy this morning.  Well, I was still wide awake with anticipation around midnight and got up and took two Tylenol PM.  It took it ages to work.  Then, I woke up like a jolt around 6:30 AM thinking about it all again.  A friend that dealt with losing her dear husband to cancer the over the past few years just told me I need to ask for some Ambien so that I can sleep.  That will be on my to do list for today.  Okay, next paragraph will be after the biopsy at 11:30 AM this morning.

The vacuum assisted core needle biopsy went well.  Daughter, Michele, went with me.  She and I were alone in the diagnostic room being nosey and taking pics of their fancy Mammotome machine with our Evo's - ha!  They numbed the breast before they inserted the device - which they moved around to take tissue samples from several places.  My mass is irregular and large.  The doctor said the results should be in either Friday morning or Monday morning.  They know the agony of waiting, so they made me appointments for both days to come in and have the doctor go over the results and discuss surgery options - for whichever day the results come in first.  Doctor said an ice bag and Advil should provide comfort after the deadening is gone.

Meanwhile, I've put out an all-call for help to my friends to research the best breast cancer surgeon I can find in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  A second opinion is always a must and I want to find a highly recommended breast cancer surgeon and oncologist.  This is going to keep me busy the next few days and weeks.

Well, I came home and started READING!  I bought the book "DR. SUSAN LOVE'S BREAST BOOK" because it was highly recommended by a couple of mastectomy survivors.  That book is 4" thick and I cannot wait to thumb through the chapters.  I am also reading "Hoda - How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee" - I am enjoying this book very much.  She has a great philosophy on Cancer and other things.  I also got a couple of breast cancer books from the library I'll give reviews on when I finish them.  Also ordered from Amazon Michael Barry's "A Reason For Hope" - another recommended book for those facing cancer.

Well, I'm sitting in my cheetah print recliner in front of my picture window, looking at my garden patio, and drinking green tea as I read.   Later, good folks.....

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Hoda'ism:  "Life is funny, isn't it?  On one day everything is perfectly normal.  Then the next day comes and it all turns upside down."  - Hoda Kotb

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It Began on 7-12-11

I realized in May I failed to have a mammogram last year.  Panic.  So, I did a self-exam.  Hmmmm, found a hard mass area which had dimpling, or rather a long dent to that area.  Oh, well, not to worry, I get my mammogram done next week, right?  After a little worry, I get my letter from Dr. Radiologist in May saying my mammogram was "normal".  Happy days!  But, after continuing to feel the same abnormality in my left breast, I called my physician I'll call Dr. Internist.  He had me come in for an examination.  He thought it was just breast "density", but had me immediately go across the street to the imaging facility for a sonogram.  A tech did the sonogram, showed it to the radiologist down the hall, and came back saying he wanted me have a diagnostic mammogram right then.  So, down the hall I went for that.  That was the first time I ever had Dr. Radiologist come right into the dressing room and speak to me - not a good sign.  He said, "You need a biopsy, and I'm calling your doctor right now."  He ordered the mammo tech to take two more pics to give to the breast surgeon that would be doing the biopsy.  Dr. Internist called me on my cell on my way home and gave me the bad news.  He said he would call me the next day with an apppointment for a biopsy with a surgeon.  I asked him if I couldn't get this done in a different imaging center.  With a not too great bedside manner, he replies, "No you need to have a surgeon do it in case it is something bad."  Yikes!  His office called me the next morning to tell me they had scheduled me an appointment.  So goes the first day of my new adventure.

Normal you say????
So, what is that darkened mass on the sonogram my internist ordered  after your "Normal Mammogram"?
  Oh, yeah, it's Invasive Lobular Cancer of my breast!!!

This was all in bad timing!  Not only am I worried that I have breast cancer, I am absolutely heartbroken over missing the yearly week at the beach with my family.  There's nothing like taking in God's creation of sand and surf, and watching precious grandchildren make sand castles and look for seashells with you.  My youngest daughter has rented a beautiful beach home right on the beachfront in South Padre Island and they invited me to go with them.  I was so looking forward to spending time with my wonderful daughter, son-in-law, and two precious granddaughters, age 3 and 6.  Oh, well, there's always next year, right?  Health has to come first!  So I stay home to check out this new curve thrown my way.

I had to wait one week to see the breast surgeon - which was nerve wracking.  Dr. Internist called in some Xanax to help with the anxiety.  What I have learned is that mammograms alone are not enough to catch breast cancer.  Some masses you just have to feel.  Some are so small you cannot feel them and they do not show up on a mammogram.  However, my mass was so huge it just looked like breast density, I guess.  Scary!  You just have to be on top of everything in this regard.  I'm just glad I was persistent in determing that I did have breast cancer and I hope we caught it early enough.  All I can say, is you know that expression, "Have you hugged your children today?"  Well, I say as a reminder to all women, "Have you checked your breasts today...or this month?"

On the next Monday my daughter, Michele, (you need two sets of ears for stressful dialogues about cancer) took Dr. Local Breast Surgeon to be examined and for her to study the CD of images I brought her from the mammogram/sonogram facility.  Dr. Local Breast Surgeon told me the images indicate I have Invasive Lobular Cancer and it affects both breasts so I would need mastectomies on both breasts.  She told me that I need to have a needle core biopsy in her other office where that procedure is done - but not until Wednesday. The breast surgeon said it did not appear to have spread to my muscles. A breast MRI will be done to detect if it has spread to the muscles, lymph nodes, etc.  Appointment made for biopsy on Wednesday
Friends and family are extremely supportive.  Prayer chains are started.  Googling this type of cancer.  Buying recommended books on cancer.  Going to the library for other books on cancer.  The fight begins!  I will remain positive and beat this demon!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Fear is understandable.  Just don't forget that Jesus is in the boat with you. - Michael S. Barry

Monday, July 18, 2011


May 12, 2011
Dear Breast Lady,
Your mammogram appears normal....blah, blah, blah.
Dr. Radiologist

Dear Dr. Radiologist,
I don't think so!  I feel a big ole' hard mass in my left breast.  My breast has dimpled or dented along that entire area of the lump which anyone with fingers can feel.  Also, my nipple is wanting to invert and I don't think it is out of shyness.  I think I'll just tell my physician that something is not right here.  Sorry to doubt you, but I have a life to live and don't think you are contributing to it.
Lumpy, Dimpled Breast Sharon

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Hoda'ism:  They were like "lumpy squatters that had been setting up camp inside me for who knows how long." - Hoda Kotb