Well, it has been a couple of weeks since I last blogged. And really, not a lot has happened. I did go to my counseling appointment. The woman I met with has 20+ years experience working with cancer patients. She used to work at a cancer resource center. She really knows her stuff as far as cancer treatment goes. It was a nice visit, I basically told her about my diagnosis, the treatment I have had so far, and where I am at now in needing to make a decision on what treatment I wish to proceed with... and what a hard time I am having making that decision.
She suggested getting a second opinion, not because I don't trust my doc, but as a third party to provide more input, and maybe help me make a decision on what I would like to do next. I thought that was a good idea, and have been busy making calls to my insurance company and to the Med Center. I am going to meet with an oncologist that specializes in breast cancer on September 8th. I got all my registration paperwork in, and my medical records and pathology slides over to them this last week, so I am all ready to go...just waiting now.
This week I will see my oncologist, get my blood drawn, and will get herceptin. I look forward to going, because I feel like something is happening that way. I also have my second counseling appointment this week ...and so far she hasn't said "so how does that make you feel?", but I suppose that will come sometime. I also have the kickoff breakfast for the "Making Strides" walk this week. This walk is put on by the American Cancer Society just like the Relay for Life, but the proceeds go specifically to breast cancer research. The walk is in October, and I will be doing that as well.
I better get going, I have a kiddo that needs to get to bed, because he has his first day of first grade tomorrow, and he needs me to play ghostbuster.
What am I thankful for?!?! I am thankful for today, and being here to make sure there are no ghosts in my sons room and to kiss his little head and tuck him, and make him feel safe.


Enough with the SIGNS

Okay, I have a few concerned souls who have asked me about when I might actually follow through with the whole seeing a counselor thing. Well, let me tell you, I have actually made honest attempts in the past as I said I was going to-

Attempt #1: I called a therapist that was a referral from a friend who had breast cancer. When I called this therapist I went through the initial info over the phone only to find out that she did not take my insurance, and while a good therapist is not a thing one should turn down, I thought that the $130 a visit might get a little pricey once I opened my mouth and she realized the number of visits I was going to require! =)

Attempt #2: I finally decided to get a referral from my Oncologist for a Psychologist at the cancer center. I checked with the same friend from my previous attempt, and she said great things about this Dr, so I went ahead and called. HOWEVER, the psychologist was out, and it just so happened that her scheduler was also out, SO I would have to wait until Monday to call back and schedule an appointment. So, when Monday arrived, I was feeling much better and thought that my two failed attempts to schedule an appointment was a SIGN that I didn't really need to see a mental health professional!

Attempt #3: Today, I came into work and decided that after the long weekend and the constant weighing of options, maybe today was the day I would followed through with scheduling that appointment, so... knowing that I would be more likely to actually go if it was in Lincoln, I found someone in town who has experience working with clients who have cancer, and who actually came recommended as well. So, despite my many hesitations, I picked up the phone and dialed her number. HOWEVER, when I called they told me that the computers were down, so they could not make the appointment but that they would transfer me to the voicemail of someone who would call me back to schedule when the computers were back up and running. Now, knowing me, you should now understand that this alone was ringing in the back of my head as a SIGN, but when she attempted to transfer me and disconnected me...now THAT was CLEARLY a SIGN! However, much to my dismay a friend from work was simultaneously sending me a message- after reading my BLOG- that now might be a good time to schedule that appointment for "professional help", so...I did pick up the phone, call back and successfully left a message for them to call me back to schedule (however, I did give a false name and number- no, just kidding). It just so happens, that when they called back to schedule, I was gone at my acupuncture appointment and missed the call. Now really, is that not a sign? Should it be this hard to schedule an appointment if it was meant to be?!? You guessed it, I thought it was a sign! So, I didn't call back.

Later in the day (several hours mind you) I was going about my business when another work friend was on his way out for the day and nonchalantly said "goodbye, and hey, make that counseling appointment". OKAY!!! -so enough with the signs! I made the appointment, and I go tomorrow morning. Geesh, did they have to have an opening so soon!?!? I was thinking maybe next week would be soon enough!!! =)

In all seriousness, I do honestly believe it will do me good to talk to someone who is not emotionally invested in me. Someone that I can share all my fears with, without having to worry about making them scared or sad or angry in the process. So, assuming I don't get struck with a terrible asian flu or blow a tire on the SUV, all the signs point to- YES, I will be seeing a therapist!

Really, you don't all need to all cheer at once. That might hurt my feelings! Okay, probably not! =)

What am I thankful for?!?! Friends who nudge me in the right direction, despite my heel dragging.


Major Soul Searching.

Well, my doctor called right before we left for a weekend away with the kids.
This is what he said. I do have residual cancer in my breast. There is too much tissue that needs to be removed in order to do a lumpectomy and radiation, so my options are to have a mastectomy or see how long I can go on the herceptin alone without the cancer growing. There is a good and bad side to both. If I have a mastectomy, the surgery could weaken my immune system enough that cancer could grow elsewhere in my body or if I don't have the surgery, then I am leaving cancer cells sitting right there on my chest, which may or may not respond to the herceptin treatment.
He also said that I can wait the three months until I am scanned again and see if the breast responds to the treatment, and if it grows, then I could have a mastectomy...however, in my head, that means waiting until my system is weaker and then having surgery, and that seems a little risky to me. I think if I am going to have surgery, I should do it while I am as strong as possible.
The doctor did say that I could be maintained for years on herceptin, but I need to know what is going to get me 10-15 years, not 3-5 years...my babies are still pretty little!!!
I had a pretty long weekend, filled with the joy of playing with my children and the overwhelming fear of cancer taking me and leaving my children behind...I cried a lot, but we made it through, and I managed to keep it hidden from my kiddos! (I hope!)
Well, I have been gone, so I have to get stuff done around the house!
What am I thankful for?!?! Weekends away with my children, making memories!!!


No news.

I waited all day for a phone call from my doctor, but it never came. So...I will call in the morning to see what is going on.
I hope you all get more sleep than I will likely get! I hardly slept lastnight in anticipation of today's telephone call with my doctor, and now I get to do it all over again!
I guess that give me more time to research my options, and also to look up what types of things my insurance will and will not pay for in terms of reconstruction if I have a mastectomy or two. There really is a lot to think about...
What am I thankful for?!?! Snuggling up on the couch and watching movies with my boys!


Over-Hyped Appointment

Okay, here is the low down on todays appointment... went in and got my Herceptin, which makes me feel a little better.
Doc said that he is going to take my case to "the board" which consists of several radiologists, surgeons, and oncologists, and they are going to discuss my case. He is going to bring up the options of maintaining me on current treatment vs. lumpectomy and radiation vs. mastectomy. He is also going to discuss the possibility of reconstuctive surgery and the ability to detect recurrences, etc.
Basically, his opinion of the mammogram is that the masses are gone, but there is an area of suspition which is highly suggestive of cancer. I got the impression that he would like me to have a surgery of some type, whether it would be a lumpectomy and radiation or a mastectomy, to get better control over my primary site.
He said that they may want more testing, such as an ultrasound or a breast MRI. He said that he would call me on Thursday, and the surgeon may also call me on Thursday to set up a consult time.
Until then...we wait some more, and I do a little soul searching, and my hubby and I go through our feelings on the options.
Today I am asking my kids what they are thankful for:
Skye- "I am thankful I have good parents" (What a good kid!)
Laken- "...watching a movie" (He's 3, he hasn't learned to suck up yet!)


Almost 3 weeks

It has been almost three weeks since I last had a chemo treatment. I am feeling pretty good. If it wasn't for this cold that I have, I would be feeling exceptionally good.

Today I spent most of the day trying to get caught up on things that have been slipping behind around the house. Which is a good feeling. I am trying to get time to move so that it will be Tuesday. I am anxious to get to my Dr and find out what my options are at this point. While I have been speculating, I really do not know for sure until I get in there to talk to him.

I celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary on Friday, and got 2 dozen roses at work! That was quite a surprise! I plan on celebrating 15 and 20 year anniversaries as well, so we have got to get this treatment plan figured out.

I have been spending a lot of time figuring out my new and improved nutritional plan. We went to the farmers market on Saturday and found a couple of different people who have free range cattle and chickens, which will be better for me, because they have not been given growth hormones. My mom gave me fresh eggs, and I am working on the soy milk, but it is a little more difficult. The soy cheese is pretty good. I have cut out white flour and processed sugar, so I tried some wheat pasta, which was tolerable and wheat bread, which I think I can learn to like.

I am considering doing some genetic testing to see if my children's children or my sister will be/are at a increased risk for Breast CA, and to see if I am at an increased risk for a second primary of ovarian cancer.

That is about all I know today. I will update the blog after my appointment on Tuesday.

What am I thankful for?!?! 10 years of marriage with someone that I love.



I got the results back from my mammograms today.
They were unable to identify any distinct masses on the films, so that is great news. The original mammogram showed 3 distinct masses, 1 of them was quite large with two smaller ones. These are no longer visible- or are just too small to see.
The mammograms were done here in town, but they are now sending the films over to my Oncologist at the Cancer Center, where he will look at them, he will have a radiologist that he trusts look at them, and also a breast surgeon.
I will be going to Omaha on Tuesday, the 9th, and I will be having my Herceptin treatment and will find out what "my" medical team thought of the films, and we will go from there.
Right now I am back in the waiting stage...but good news is good news, you can't knock that!
The hubby and I are busy researching the best diet to help keep this stuff at bay, and I have started on the diet full-time now. It is a little hard to get used to, and restricts any eating out due to the number of prohibited food items and cooking products, but it is worth it! (Coincidentally, donuts are on my list of bad foods and it just so happens that they have brought donuts to work two days in a row now! What are the odds?!?!) Geesh!!!
The only other thing going on right now is the painful reality that my hair has not yet got the memo that I am stopping the chemo, as it has been thinning out more than ever in the last couple of weeks...If I go through 6 rounds of chemo with all of my hair, and then lose it AFTER chemo ENDS, you may all get to see the crazy dance...which, much like the happy dance, is NOT TOO PRETTY!!! =)
What am I thankful for?!?! My little boys, who are patiently waiting for me to come snuggle them and kiss them goodnight! Gotta go!!!