Friday, January 6, 2012

A Different Type of Journey

In October we were so busy, getting our 5th Wheel packed and our house ready for the winter ahead.  We were 95 % packed and almost ready to go.  We were excited about our plans and looking forward to going to some areas we hadn't been before.  

The day before our planned departure, I received a call from the Radiology place where I had gone to have my yearly mammogram.  They found a dense area on the mammogram and I was asked to come back in for another mammogram and an ultrasound.  So, on the day we were to leave, I had another appointment to see the radiologist.  No big deal, I thought, these things happen, and I'm sure we will be on our way the next day.  This was not to be.  After looking at the area on the ultrasound,  the radiologist said I need to see a breast surgeon for a biopsy.  Still thinking our trip would only be delayed another week or 2, I was able to get an appointment with a surgeon the following week.  Long story short, I had the biopsy and it came back positive for Invasive Breast Cancer.  It appeared that it was caught early, and the hope is that it hadn't spread.  The surgeon recommended a lumpectomy and told me that chances were good that it hadn't spread and that would mean 6 weeks of radiation.

A few weeks later, after numerous tests and procedures, I had the lumpectomy.  After the surgery, we were under the impression that all went well, all the margins were clear and nothing had spread to the lymph node.  I went back to the surgeon for followup.  She told me the surgery went very well and the margins were clear.  However, they did find that there was a very microscopic amount that spread to the sentinel lymph node.  It was only 1mm.  But, this may mean that I would need chemo as well.   So her scheduler made appointments for me with a Medical Oncologist as well as a Radiation Oncologist.

My appointment with the Medical Oncologist went very well.  He said he really wasn't concerned about the microscopic amount that went to the lymph node, but couldn't say until further testing if I needed chemo.  A test was done that involved sending a piece of the tumor to a special lab in California.  The test is called an Oncotype DX.  This is usually done with early stage breast cancer.  They test 21 genes in the tumor to determine the likelihood of a recurrence.  It took a couple of weeks for the results to come in . Unfortunately, my test came back as intermediate to high risk and chemo was recommended. 

It seems like a lot of time goes by between all the appointments and testing that has to be done.  I have had a bone scan, cat scan, blood tests, and most recently my heart was tested to be sure there are no problems. Last Friday I had my port installed.  We are now all set, and I finally started my chemo yesterday.  I feel pretty good, so far, but realize I will have some not so great days.  I will have 6 rounds of chemo, 3 weeks between each treatment (should take about 4 1/2 months) followed by 6 weeks of  radiation.  Of course, I am not happy about all this, but I really want to get this started, in order to get this over with and back to my normal life.

Al and I were disappointed that we are unable to travel this winter, but we are so thankful this was caught early and we know we will have many years ahead to travel.  We are also thankful for all the support we have received from all our family and friends.   Many prayers have been said and we are so encouraged that I will be completely cured.  This is not the journey we have anticipated, but I must say, it is something we have always known might happen.  None of us know when something like this will come into our lives.  So, for now we take one day at a time, do what has to be done and pray that all will turn out ok.

I know this is not supposed to be what my blog is about and I am determined for it not to be!   We are hoping to go away again next October and do all the wonderful things we had planned for this year.  Many thanks to all our friends and family for your continued support and, most of all your prayers.  We love all of you so much!