The loss of privacy, the gaining of strength and the great itch
A lot has happened since I last wrote. I've been doing my best to keep people updated through my Instagram videos (@love.is.loudest21) so be sure to check there if you haven't heard from me in a while.
For a person who has valued her privacy her whole life, I sure have had a ton of people look at and/or touch my boobs these past few weeks! At this point, it has just become a given: when you have breast cancer, your boobs are going to be looked at A LOT. Another aspect of my new normal!
But for all the things I've had to adjust to and change my life for, there has been one amazing gain: strength. My dad has always said to me "There's a strength in you yet to be revealed". And honestly, if you told me two months ago that I was going to be diagnosed with breast cancer but that I would be stronger than ever before I would have looked at you like you were crazy. There is no "rational" explanation for the strength and peace I've felt -- it is absolutely God.
That isn't to say that I haven't had moments where I have completely broken down -- I have. But my typical MO is to question everything ... why me, why now, why why why? And I can truly say I have not asked those questions a single time. I just feel peace. This is another part of my journey and it certainly doesn't look the way I thought it would, but it is strengthening me and I believe there will be good that comes out of this.
Now onto the great itch ... At the beginning of the summer, I started getting really intense itching on my legs. It would get so bad that I would scratch until it bled and scabbed over (gross, I know). My husband and I figured it must be heat rash and there was probably nothing that could be done. Well, yesterday at my oncology appointment I found out this could be caused by my cancer and I was told in no uncertain terms that I MUST STOP ITCHING. Like, seriously. My oncologist was adamant about it. Once I start chemo, my immune system will be greatly compromised and if I create an open wound it could become infected and lead to really bad things. So while this is a strange prayer request, I am asking for prayer that I would be able to handle the itching without scratching or better yet, that the itching would stop.
Now that I've explained the title of this post, onto some details:
The second biopsy for the 1/2 inch mass came back BENIGN! This is great news and leaves the possibility of a lumpectomy on the table.
My official diagnosis (until after surgery) is stage 2B invasive ductal carcinoma. It is also something know as "triple negative," which means I do not have estrogen, progesterone or Her 2 neu receptors. This is found in about 10-20% of breast cancers.
What my triple negative diagnosis means for me: Hormone blocking pills do not serve a purpose in this type of cancer, so hormone therapy is not an option. My cancer has the potential to be more aggressive, and therefore I will be starting chemo ASAP.
I was tested for 19 different common genes linked to breast cancer. The 9 most aggressive (such as BRCA1 and BRCA2) have come back NEGATIVE. I am still waiting on the last ten results, but so far, this is fantastic news!
There is one procedure I have opted to undergo before chemotherapy starts. I do not want to go into details right now, but please pray that this is successful. I am being given a very small window of time for this and it can be costly (but it looks like our insurance will cover it!) and unpleasant.
The plan of treatment is chemo, surgery and then either radiation (if I have a lumpectomy) or possibly chemo.
I have chosen my surgeon and my oncologist. They both seem wonderful.
Today I will be having blood work done. Please pray they are able to find a good vein without trouble, as this is often an issue.
They are scheduling an echocardiogram and the insertion of my port for chemotherapy. I am not sure if those will happen today or later this week.
We are considering going to Dana Farber in Boston. We have gotten second opinions on surgery and oncology locally, but there is a possibility we will go to Boston for a third opinion.
As always, thank you all for your love and support. All of your texts and phone calls are so appreciated-- please know, if I don't respond it is simply because I have been running around so much that I feel like I hardly have time to take a deep breath. But please know how much they mean to me!! Thank you for the cards and gifts. I love you all and am so blessed by all of your thoughtfulness and generosity.
I will try to update again soon.
All my love,
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