Just a quick recap of the past year – for those of you that are new :)

29 Jan

Hi again,

I thought I would put together a recap of the past year for those of you who are new to my blog. So here it is:

How it all began: I had a mammogram last year in January, it came back with “suspicious” results (indicators of a tumor). Just so all you women out there know I NEVER felt a lump and neither did any doctor ever feel a lump in my breast – so please, please, please get a mammogram, and preferably, get an MRI – even if you have to pay out of pocket for it – it can not only save your life, but can save you an incredible amount of misery by just catching it very early).

After the “suspicious” mammogram, I was sent out for another one, called a “compression” view mammogram to zero in on the suspicious area. This was done a few weeks after the first mammogram. The results of this one came a few weeks later and indicated the need for a biopsy – that’s when I knew in my gut that I had cancer. It just made too much sense – I had not had the same energy level for a while, although otherwise healthy, I just didn’t seem to rebound from a long day or long week of work the way I did in the past. Anyway, had the biopsy and waited several days and then got the news.

The news was simply that I had cancer and that it was an aggressive type. I got the news on a Friday – late in the afternoon. So, it was a long weekend of worrying about how bad it was going to be, could I survive it, etc.

Then lots of tests to determine whether the cancer had spread and determining the specific type of cancer. Fortunately, the cancer did not appear to have spread to any organs. Although it had spread to a lymph node – which meant maybe that is where it was stopped – the lymph nodes having done their job (that is my hope, of course) or – the chance that the cancer left my breast and went elsewhere. There is no evidence that my lymph nodes did not do their job –  all of the tests done indicated that the cancer had not traveled elsewhere. This was great news. There is always the risk that something microscopic made it’s way out – so to this day, I hope and pray that it was caught in time and nothing escaped the lymph node area. So far there is no reason to think that it went anywhere else. (It is also why I chose to go ahead and have radiation treatment, to radiate the lymph nodes that I still have – just in case – anyway – there is more on that aspect under “For Cancer Patients”.

After about a month of learning the results of tests, researching the various treatment options, second opinions, etc., I started chemotherapy on April 2nd, 2009. I finished chemotherapy on July 16 and the had surgery on August 7, 2009. After surgery (which went well) I was to start radiation treatments. However, radiation was delayed for sometime due to post surgery complications and two hospitalizations for infections (since I had chemo prior to surgery, my immune system was pretty taxed and the recovery from surgery was much slower than anticipated).

I started radiation at the end of October and finished on December 22nd. Radiation really zapped me (no pun intended)  but, I had never felt so weak in my life – couldn’t open a bottle of water by myself – still can’t do that actually, but I am a lot stronger than I was back then.

I spent most days in bed the entire day, except to go to doctor appointments – which are and were pretty frequent.

Now I am done with the aggressive parts of my cancer treatment (chemo and radiation) and am on the mend from the cancer. I am still pretty tired and have some limitations. But, I am getting there.

I still have some hurdles in front of me – two more surgeries and the continuation of my Herceptin treatments (which are every 21 days and expected to go through April or May). These treatments are given through an IV infusion and take a few hours or so to get through. I usually have the treatment on a Thursday or a Friday so that I can use the weekend to recover. It is nothing like chemotherapy in terms of the side effects. But, it does put me out for the weekend usually, so I have to pretty much just rest after that treatment. I get a lot of bone aches, fevers, and basically, I just don’t feel well. But, it goes away and I recover from it within a few days.

I am supposed to have all of the same scans that were run last year to determine if the cancer had spread. This makes me nervous, but, it is what it is. I have to know and it is now my lot I guess.  These tests will be run sometime in May 2010 after I complete the Herceptin treatment.

Today is a so-so day. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and haven’t accomplished much – it is just harder on some days. Especially if the day was preceded by a total lack of sleep 🙂

Anyway, this should pretty much put you up to date if you are new to this blog. Also, I added a category called Pictures (it is on the left side of my blog). What I have done is I have tried to put past blog postings that include photos in that category so that you can see pictures – if you are interested). I will also continue to categorize any new posts into the “Pictures” category so people can see new photos.

Well, thank you for reading. Feel free to contact me or to leave a comment here.

Please keep me in your prayers, as they are still very much needed.

Happy New Year (albeit a little late),

L.

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