Tuesday, August 18, 2015

You have Breast Cancer - 4 words you don't want to hear

The past week and a half has been a whirlwind for me.  In July I noticed that I had a lump in my armpit.  I figured that it was a lymph node and that I was fighting an infection of some sort.  I decided to watch it.  A few weeks later I noticed another one.   I still wasn't concerned.   Then, I noticed that my armpit area was swollen.  I had recently started a new weight lifting program, Body Beast, that had me lifting heavy.  I figured that I had twisted something putting a weight down.

Finally, I decided I needed to go get it checked out.  I started Googling "lumps in armpit".   Well, Dr. Google and I determined that I had some weird form of Bird Flu Ebola West Nile H1N1 strain of flu.  But, I decided to let the real doctor's take a look.   The problem was, I didn't really have a doctor.   I called the Clinic to get a doctor's appointment, and said that I needed a general practitioner.   When I told her what was wrong, she said that I needed to see an OB/GYN, because the armpit is considered part of your breast.   Woah, Google didn't tell me that!  They got me in that very day, last Monday.  The doctor I saw did not feel anything during the breast exam, but the lymph nodes concerned her.  She referred me to the Komen Center for a mammogram.    I went there Monday at 8:30 am.  They did the mammogram, and then the doctor said that he wanted to do an ultrasound.   I could see his face, and it wasn't good.  He said he saw a mass in my right breast and then he showed me the lymph nodes in my right armpit.   He then showed me the ones in my left armpit.   They looked nothing alike.   He said that he wanted to do a biopsy, today, right now.   I immediately freaked out, momentarily, but pulled myself together.  They did the biopsy and made an appointment for me to come back at 2:30 on Thursday.  On Thursday morning, they called and said that the pathologist needed more time with my tissues, and they changed my appointment to Friday.

When we went back on Friday, it was the same as the initial diagnosis.   I had breast cancer and it has spread to my lymph nodes.   I felt like all of the air was being sucked out of the room.   How was I going to tell my Dad?  I had told my children, Ryan and Steff the night before.   I have 2 granddaughters.   How do you tell them this?  

The Komen Center is wonderful.   I have a nurse, a breast navigator, who will be with me the entire process.   She is scheduling appointments and making sure I get in quickly and don't get the run around or put off.   She has already pushed my appointments up.   She had already talked to my surgeon, who said that I will need chemo before surgery, and then radiation after surgery.   I don't know the extent of the surgery yet, it will depend on today's MRI and the PET Scan that I get soon.

Since then, things are moving quickly.  I went today, Tuesday, and had lab work done.   Then, I had an MRI on both of my breasts.   On Thursday, we meet with my oncologist at Illinois Cancer Care.  

To say I'm scared is an understatement.   But, I'm also at peace.   I know that, however things turn out, I will be fine.  I'm saved.  I'm not ready to leave, and I intend to fight every step of the way.  I think all of those years of teaching Turbokick will help me kick cancer's ass! 

I'm otherwise healthy, I eat healthy, I exercise, I'm STRONG.   I will continue to exercise, I will continue to eat healthy, I will continue to drink Shakeology (no soy!), I will continue to LIVE!!! 

1 comment:

  1. We all love you, Aunt Jackie... And we're going to be with you every step of the way! Love always, Barclay and Snidely <3 <3 <3