Wednesday, July 21, 2010

words from a breast cancer patient and nurse

Its easier to write a note then small little status updates about breast cancer and fighting the battle for life. People ask me all the time how i do it? My answer is always the same, I do what anyone would do i think ,cause i have things to do yet. I guess I've had a different attitude from the get go of diagnosis of breast cancer, I initially cried like a baby in a strangers arms because i went to the Dr alone. That was my choice I didn't want to have my family or friends sad, i knew what was coming i'm a nurse. I had a mammogram then they kept me and said we have to do an ultrasound, this was the sign to me that it was what every women feared, I know too much i'm a nurse. Then after the ultrasound in walked the radiologist with a nurse, I took one look and i knew, you don't see the radiologist unless its bad. "Michele I am so sorry to be the one to tell you but you have breast cancer." I didn't hear another word every thing else was a blur except a Dr giving up her free time to biopsy me that day if i would consider staying. Time is of the essence when you have a lump do not ever wait to get it checked. Every minute can cost you your life.
Biopsy: I was a modest person before breast cancer and there is no dignity in laying on a table in a room full of strangers with everything showing. They give you pain medication locally and epi is injected directly into your breasts , which then causes shivering when they have to give you a lot of it. Tumors are very vascular so when they enter them the bleeding can be bad and sometimes unstoppable. They insert markers inside each lump for surgeons later and vacuum out tissue samples for biopsy, the whole time i kept thinking this truly sucks my boobs are all out there i'm shivering and shaking so bad its awful and they have needles in my breasts. The whole time i thought "dear God please please don't let it be breast cancer." They could be wrong i thought, however the drs were very sure it was and told me so, the biopsy was to find out what type so they could go after it. A girl can still pray and hope.
Well the rest is history as you know it was Lobular carcinoma in situ, and Noninvasive (in situ) breast cancer, and invasive,Invasive (infiltrating) breast cancers spread outside the membrane that lines a duct or lobule, invading the surrounding tissues. The cancer cells can then travel to other parts of your body, such as the lymph nodes. If your breast cancer is stage I, II, III or IV, you have invasive breast cancer.Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS), estrogen and progesterone receptive positive. What this means is i had two different types of cancer some not so bad some bad, all hormone receptive which is a good thing because there is better prognosis for this type of cancer. When cancer spreads to other organs in the body its stage IV no one wants this. I was diagnosed stage II i had hope huge huge hope.

TREATMENT: bilateral mastectomies, 14 lymph nodes removed, which all in itself is no picnic of a surgery, on the spot reconstruction TRAM, Tram is when they reconstruct using your abdmn muscles and tissue to rebuild you, bad part of this is you have no core after they do this yes you have a tummy tuck but you have no core muscles. Im a turtle on its back when lying flat there is no getting up unless i twist and use my lateral muscles. My statement to my surgeon when she suggested this surgery was "yay no more sit ups!" hehe well you have to joke about things sometimes the laughter makes you forget the seriousness of the situation.