Monday, June 07, 2010

Health Update

It is a strange time between a cancer diagnosis and treatment, something I have recently found out first hand. Thankfully, I have done a lot of work this year that prepared me to put it in perspective and deal with this recent setback in the best way possible.

Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with Stage I Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer. It came out of the blue but was caught early via my annual mammogram. I was called back for a second scan to check a suspicious looking area and then they wanted a biopsy. At my wonderful friend Kathy Kelly's urging, I went to the amazing new Boston Breast Diagnostic Center in Wellesley MA to get a second opinion. I was sure Dr. Levin would tell me it was nothing and didn't need a biopsy but we moved right one from what she saw on the ultrasound. Even then I was sure the pathology would be clear. It was not.

There's a tiny mass, 9mm in size, looks to be contained and treatable via lumpectomy plus radiation. After the Breast MRI which supported the prior diagnosis and suggests that the lymph nodes are probably not involved, Dr. Levin said my experience should seem more of a nuisance than a treatment which was comforting to hear. I met with the surgeon and the oncologist about a week ago and they agreed with Dr. Levin's assessment and we put a plan in place.

My outpatient lumpectomy surgery is scheduled for June 15th, next Tuesday, at Brigham and Womens in Boston. My surgeon is Dr. Susan Troyan from Dana Farber, my oncologist is Dr. Ann Partridge and my patient advocates are my experienced cancer survivor sister Cindy and my wonderful husband David. I will stay with my sister Karen for the first few days after surgery and home with David and Islay Bear as soon as I feel up to the trip.

It is a very strange time between diagnosis and treatment but I feel that I am in the best hands I can be in medically and expect to be reporting that I am cancer free very soon. They say it will be about a week before we know how the pathology turns out - we're of course hoping for clear margins, no lymph node involvement and nothing more than they can see on the scans/MRI. I have a follow up meeting with the oncologist on June 28th to decide the course of radiation which I will do here in upstate NY locally.

The picture above is a picture of my new friend Amy Grimes' forearm just before she set out on the Relay For Life which of course brought tears to my eyes. I have been getting all sorts of cards, good luck charms, pink jewelry, uplifting emails, and cancer fighting eating tips from people which is helping keep me positive and focused on the amazing things I have in such abundance.

Please keep me in your prayers on June 15th and keep up with those annual mammograms, ladies!


Elaine said...

Thank you for sharing this journey with us all. I'm sending you a BIG hug attached to this comment.

You are on (as always) my daily gratitude list and in my thoughts and prayers.

Here's to the all clear VERY soon. I just KNOW that all will be well.


Kathy said...

Thanks Elaine - sharing has been very healing. I am so glad that cancer is no longer a dirty word that you don't say out loud. All of my peeps, you included, have kept me bolstered up with love through this and I'm ready to face the surgery on Tuesday.

Anna said...

Am on the every 6 mo mammo plan...heading over on Tues for that. Will think of you when I am there and know that everything is just as it should be (for both of us).


Stacey said...

Oh, Kathy!

That image of Amy's arm is amazing! I got goosebumps when I saw it and read the story of it. Thank you for giving me so much to celebrate as you focus your energy on all the good that is available to you, and that you make available to us, your readers, supporters and biggest fans. :-) Much love to you, s