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.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

We've rented a flea market booth!

What were we thinking? I was ready to donate all the rest of the stuff in the basement. As a matter of fact the DAV truck was coming to our street in a few weeks! But Mickey said HE was just going to rent a booth and put the stuff in it!
It was quite a wreck when we rented it. The back wall was brick but painted yellow. The floor is concrete, but painted hunter green and sponge painted with white blobs. So we went to work.
We hung burlap on the back walls and white fabric on the sides (to cover the dusty chicken wire!) Then painted the floor a clean white and I stamped these fleur-de-lis on it! Yesterday I filled it up with HALLOWEEN decorations and dress-up supplies!


The painted floor

Hung some shutters

And Voila! Yesterday at about 2:30!

Wish us luck. We chose the STD flea market that's close to the MSU campus~ Hopefully the kids will find some costumes for Halloween!