Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You have breast cancer

Those are the words I heard on Monday October the 12th at 12:05 p.m. I had felt a lump in my right breast two weekends before and had been to my MD to check it out. He sent me to the Breast Cancer Center at St. Johns Hospital for a diagnostic mammogram. The same day they did an ultrasound and that doctor told me she wouldn't believe it if the results came back negative. What? Me? No one in my family has ever had breast cancer. In fact nobody that I know of has had Any kind of cancer, except for my sister with melanoma.

Then on that Monday my doctor called and gave me the news. I really already knew what he was going to say, from the ultrasound doctor. But I didn't really expect to hear this news ON THE PHONE! I had left a message with the nurse earlier in the day saying that my husband and I would come over to discuss the results. My doctor told me he had never had to do that before! That's because it Shouldn't be done on the phone!!!

From there he scheduled me an appointment with an oncologist. Dr. Raju, a woman. I liked the fact that she was a woman. She actually has breasts. (Not that men don't. But you know what I mean.) Mickey, and my mom and dad went to this appointment. The nurse seated us all in a tiny examination room. Again... I expected to meet with her in her office, with her sitting behind her desk and explaining everything to us. NOT....
She put my chart up on her laptop and began reading the test results. She said, "You have advanced ductal carcinoma and it's bad". Then she just looked at the floor and shook her head. I can't count the times she did this. Talk about freaking you out!?!?! Hadn't I felt anything before now? Why didn't I know about this sooner? How could this be at least a stage three cancer and me not know it? I thought I was the one who was supposed to be asking the questions. She did an exam and then immediately called the surgeon, who is just a few buildings down. He was in surgery at the time, but agreed to meet us in 15 minutes. Can you believe what I was thinking by this time? I talked my parents into going home before we went to meet with him. They looked so pale and fragile. I assured them we would call the minute we left.
This guy was all of 30 years old~if that... I like that too. I think young doctors are so much more informed than the older ones. Sorry, doctors. But anyway he said the same thing. This cancer is bad and at least a stage three. He said I must first do chemo and then he would see me in the spring for surgery. A mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time. This new procedure is called a something flap. It involves taking fat from your lower abdomen and making a breast out of it. I thought he was kidding when he said you get a tummy tuck too. He scheduled a CT and PET scan to see if the cancer had spread to my bones or other organs. Those tests were on Thursday the 22nd also at the hospital.
And on Friday the 23rd I met the surgeon again. This time in the "holding cell" awaiting the surgery to put the chemo port in.
My life has been in S L O W motion since all of this happened. It honestly feels like the diagnosis was a month ago. I have to keep looking at the calendar to have it all make sense. Actually it was only 16 days from diagnosis to putting the port in.
Tomorrow Mickey and I go to "chemo class" at 4:00 and they will schedule the first treatment then. It's not really a class as I would have assumed, it's a one on one with us and a nurse. Explaining what to expect, etc.
In just these few short days I have bought two wigs. One blond, the other red. And yesterday evening I had my hair cut short. Razor cut at the nape of my neck and then coming down longer to my chin in the front.'s like slow motion, but has happened so quickly.
I started keeping a journal on that Monday. And I am seriously thinking about writing a book and maybe titling it, "You have breast cancer. Take two aspirin and don't call me, I'll call you." Do you know that I didn't receive as much as a pamphlet at the oncologists office and I have had Several times where the doctors offices haven't even returned my phone calls! It is absurd. I thought that maybe I could write a sort of instructional manual for breast cancer.
So that's what I've been doing and why you haven't heard from me in so long.
And THANK YOU to all of my friends and family who have sent cards, flowers and well wishes my way. I'm astonished to know the number of people all over the country who are praying for me and my family. Again Thank You.
I'll write again soon.
Say a little prayer please. And please go get your mammograms.


Maria said...

Sheri please know that you will be in my prayers everyday.

Woolly Mammoth Woolens said...

I'll keep you in my prayers. Stay strong.

Jan said...

Sherri....I found your blog while I was at Millie's Mats. I went to Etsy....and read your note there, and decided to check out your blog.

I am so sorry to hear your news. My heart just cries for you. I don't know why it happens, but sometimes people get the most idiotic dr.'s. They either have no feelings, or they have numbed themselves. Not good for their patients. Please, know that I am praying for you. We just went through this with our daughter (in-law, but I hate those extra descriptions....!), and so, I know how your folks feel. I will be praying for them too. And your husband, and whomever else is affected. God will get you through this!!!

Jasminmoon said...

I'm so sorry and apologize on behalf of the entire medical a group we are callous....I'm sorry for your experience so far...not that any experience with cancer is good....I was lucky enough to get an oncologist that was very compassionate and kind, from the beginning (5 years ago) she gave me a hug every time I was in her office.

Your in my prayers dear one, hang in there, fight like a girl.

Keep us if you have a question or concern...I survived the cancer and chemo and I'm also a nurse...I did a combination of traditional and alturnative medicine. I threw up once. I did chemo on Thursday and went back to work on Monday. I was only off 2 weeks after a lumpectomy...

Love and light to you Sheri,

katie said...

Sheri, this is a difficult subject to write about, but you do have a nack for writing. Keep that journal and you will someday be a help to some one else.
You are in my prayers.


Kathy (woolfind) said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the news. Please keep your eyes and your heart lifted upward. You will be in my prayers. I love the idea of you transferring your emotions down onto paper. You go and write that book!! Keep us updated when you can.

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

Sherry ~ I was going to email you today and ask what in the world happened to you ~ I thought your new booth was taking your time ~ I wouldn't have dreamed you were going thru such a traumatic experience. Know that this online friend will pray for your health every day ~ that you are able to walk this path with grace ~ and come out the other side with the ability to help someone else who is not as strong and as forthright as you are. Sherry ~ you have a 'voice' here in blogland that will garner you so much support and love! A voice that will surely help someone as all of us are able to help and suppport you!
God bless you ~ Alice

Alice ~ Folk Art Primitives said...

And I didn't spell your name right ~ but the sentiment is the same ~

In friendship ~ Alice

Rugs and Pugs said...

Sheri ~
I too was wondering where you've been! I am so sorry to hear your news. Please know that you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. Stay strong and fight this demon with all your strength.
Hugs :)

Imseeingraggedies Nutt said...

I am sorry about your cancer! I know from experience... it hits you like a ton of bricks! I had lymphoma. I discovered my bump 2 days before Christmas '07, had it removed Feb '08 only to find out that it was indeed cancer. A rare aggressive one. I really thought that my hair falling out would really freak me out, but I hated those wigs! I wore my knitted lil cap and it kept my head warm! I will be praying for you through this journey! You will be OK! HUGS!
PS I am still cancer free! And I go for another check up Nov 18th!

Orange Sink said...

Dear Sheri,
Please know you have my thoughts, prayers and support. The medical community despite their human weaknesses have wonderful and powerful technologies to offer. I know your family and friends will be there for you too. I am so proud to be a part of this blogging community of strong women who care so deeply for one another. Please draw on our strengths and know you don't have to fight this alone. Much love and healing energies to you! Cathy G

Ter'e said...

Sheri Darlin:
You are a tough girl. Much tougher than you think. I know you!
You have many many friends who love and care for you and we will help get you thru this - whatever it takes. Lots of us have big strong shoulders.
And of course, the Lord is on your side. Many people are praying for you already. Yes, in this short time.
Hopefully we will all grow and become more educated thru this experience.
Remember, if you feel lost, Deena is always an email or a phone call away. She's my #1 Woman of Strength! She'll help you. We'll all help you.
You're in my prayers several times a day!
Love you..........

Julie said...


I do know what you are going through as I was diagnosed with cancer more than 9 years ago. As a nurse, I thought I was prepared but I was not.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this very, very difficult time. Think positively and take one day at a time!

LIz said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers. Such a horrible disease.

JoJo said...

Sheri, you are, and will continue to be, in my prayers. I too know you're strong but a diagnosis like this can make you feel like you've been kicked in the gut and then hung out to dry.
I'm here for you if you need me. I also like your idea of writing a book about your experiences. A huge raspberry to everyone in the medical community who's treated you with less than the utmost respect, care and concern. I can't believe that they've actually not returned your phone calls......what??? Smack 'em.

The Paisley Studio/Sarah McNamara said...

Sending postive, healing thoughts your way.


SweetAnnee said...

email me

I have THE same thing..and had
the tram flap surgery.. You need
to educate yourself and see
what you're headed for..

Please ask me anything..I can tell you
MY experience...and help you know
what to expect.. The docs don't
tell you near enough..

Hug and prayers..

TamboinMO said...

You know I love you girl! You are so brave and I know you'll fight this with dignity, grace and humor. Talk to you soon!

kelley said...

Oh are in my thoughts and prayers...and I want to beat on all the idiots in the medical field you've been dealing with...

you are strong and you can beat know you can!

Jacque said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and even tho it feels like slow motion to you I am amazed at how quickly your doctors are taking action. I have women friends that this took months to get to where you are in treatment schedules already. Hang in there.

Kim said...

Sheri you are in my thoughts and prayers and I wish nothing but the best for you! You are and will be a survivor of this! I have no doubt you will fight...and win! :o) {{{hugs}}}

dulcy said...

Hi Sweetie......If you get where you can and feel like it, please call and we'll get together. It's good to hear what's going on. Tammy kept me updated as of a week ago. Take care, and hope to see or talk to you soon.


WoolenSails said...

I am sorry to hear the news and that you were treated so coldly by the doctors. It is hard enough without having to deal with people like that. I know a few people who had stage four and doing fine, it is amazing what they can do now. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.


Wendie Scott Davis said...

There are no words to say that are appropriate at a time like this. But it's important to let you know that we are all thinking about you. You have a big fight ahead of you and from following your blog for a while now, I think you will be the victor. I have so many survivor friends who have become the strongest role models in my life. I think you will join those ranks.
I send you all my best wishes and strongest thoughts for the months to come.

Libbie said...

Oh Sheri...I just clicked on alittle pic of you from another blog today & as I began reding my heart broke & I found myself praying for you & loving you. I can;t imagine what you have gone through or what you are going through but know that some lady (me) in MN is putting you on the top of her prayer list & is commiting to pray faithfully for you. I am going to go put your name up somewhere where I can see it & will pray often. I'll be here!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I will pray for you and keep you in my thoughts. I think a journal will not only be therapuetic but one day it might help someone else too. God be with you. Keep the faith and never lose hope.

Nishant said...

am so sorry to hear your news. My heart just cries for you. I don't know why it happens, but sometimes people get the most idiotic dr.'s. They either have no feelings, or they have numbed themselves. Work from home India