Have you ever felt like the rug was yanked out from under you just when things seemed to be going your way? I hate to admit it, but I did when I found out I had breast cancer.
When I first joined the Pink Sisterhood in March, I decided right off that I would stay positive and do my best not to worry. So far, I think I’ve done pretty well with that. I am very lucky and thankful to have so many people praying for me and sending me positive thoughts.
I was blessed by several amazing women who were kind enough to share their breast cancer survival stories with me. Just knowing you are now cancer free is a great comfort to me and I am so thankful you beat this! For those of you that are still fighting the fight, thank you for showing me how to be brave and strong. Ya’ll are my heroes, each and everyone one of you!
Sadly, two women in my close family have already had to deal with breast cancer. Praise God though, that both of them are SURVIVORS!
When my cousin, Holli, told me recently that her Mom, my Aunt Sue has been cancer free for over 23 years I felt so empowered! I could hardly believe it had been that many years ago that she was diagnosed. WOW!
I’m so happy that my sister, Donni has been cancer free for over 3 years now! She has been so helpful whenever I’ve had questions or concerns. Thanks, sis for always being there for me. My other sister and my brother have also been exceptionally supportive and have made me feel cared for and loved! The outpouring of support from my entire family has touched my heart beyond measure and has given me so much strength. I hope they all know how much I love them.
The Pink Sisterhood, Part 2
My second surgery was on March 30 to remove additional breast tissue and 3 sentinel lymph nodes to check for additional cancer cells. Thankfully my daughter, Elecia and my husband, Patrick were both able to come to the hospital to keep me company while I waited for my surgery.
I’m very lucky that Donni works at the hospital and could periodically drop in to check on us and to pray with us. I even had the same caring hospital staff again, which was a great comfort to me!
Due to unforeseen circumstance, my surgery ended up being a little later than scheduled. So needless to say while I waited
patiently I was getting very hangry. Don’t you just love this word? It always makes me laugh! I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to miss a meal, EVER! I apologize to the other patients as I think they probably heard my stomach growling! 😉
The time finally arrived for my surgery. The memory of being wheeled to the operating room is so cloudy now…no matter how I tried to etch those brief moments into my brain…it just didn’t happen. I know it’s due to the anesthesia given prior to going into surgery, which is a good thing, but still it’s a weird feeling.
Before I knew it, my surgery was over and I was in the recovery room. The pain this time was definitely more intense than it was from the previous surgery as I had 2 incisions this time. Right after woke up, the first thing I asked the nurse was if they had installed a drain in my arm pit. When she said no, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. I knew this meant that they had only taken a few of the sentinel lymph nodes because the initial testing during surgery did not show any cancer. I was so thankful for this.
It was great to see my family when I got moved back into my room. I was still pretty loopy, but was given a Coke and some crackers to help stave off my hunger. My goodness did those taste good! After about another hour I was released from the hospital and we headed home. Once home I had a bit of dinner then napped the rest of the day.
Remarkably, the pain was short-lived and I was able to get back on my feet in no time. Granted, I did get a bit tired mid-day for awhile, but a brief nap on the hammock looking at the sky and listening to the birds took care of that! Usually both dogs and sometimes the cat joined me on the hammock.
Waiting for the final pathology report…and waiting some more.
I had my post-surgery follow up 6 days later. Elecia went with me, which was a great comfort as she always seems to know which questions to ask for me. Her love and support throughout this whole ordeal has been amazing. Elecia, I love you more than you will ever know.
My surgeon reassured me that I was healing nicely and told me not to worry. I had hoped my final pathology report would be given to me at this appointment, but no such luck. He promised me that he would call me as soon as he received the report.
FINALLY ~ Eleven days after surgery I received the call about the pathology report. To be completely honest, waiting was SO difficult for me. UGH!
No cancer cells were found in the additional breast tissue that was removed, which was good to hear. But, in the first sentinel lymph node two isolated tumor cell clusters were found, each containing only 10 to 20 cancers cells. I am STILL not going to allow myself worry about this and I will do everything in my power to stay positive!
I plan on discussing the pathology report with my oncologist during my first appointment with him on May 3. At that time I will hopefully learn what the next step will be and if I will need to undergo a round of radiation. As far as I know, I will probably not need chemotherapy.
When this started at the beginning of February with a questionable mammogram, I knew my life had to change. Although, I did not know how or when it would change.
One thing I knew for sure was that I really wanted to create this blog more than anything, but at the time I was working a 40 hour a week job I enjoyed.
For months prior to my cancer diagnosis I had been working on the blog on nights and weekends putting in at least another 30 hours a week. It was fun learning the ins and outs about blogging, creating the website, compiling ideas, etc. I was truly LOVING every minute of it. It felt like my dream of blogging was finally coming to fruition.
Then breast cancer abruptly interrupted my plans.
I knew there would be many upcoming doctors appointments that would keep me from working my full time job. These would also rob me of the time I wanted to devote to my blog. Somehow, I just needed more hours in the day, but how? Then I thought to myself, what if I could quit my job and work full time on my blog instead? Could it really be feasible?
I’m the nerd in our family and I do the monthly budget so I began crunching the numbers to see if it was doable for me to quit my job. After doing lots of calculations and reviewing last years budget it looked like it could work!!! Sure, we would have to tighten the purse strings and make a few minor changes, but it was definitely doable…
More important than the blog though, I knew that no matter what the outcome of all of this was, I needed to take better care of myself both physically and mentally. My inner voice kept telling me, if you don’t do this now then you will never take the chance. I knew I didn’t want to look back later in my life with any regrets about this.
So after much prayerful consideration, I plucked up my courage and talked to my husband. I shared my concerns with him regarding my health and the need to take better care of myself and of him too. I also discussed my desire to quit my job so that I could begin blogging full time. He definitely had his own concerns and rightly so, but once we ironed out all the details we agreed that I could try this.
It was harder than I thought it would be when I left my full time job. I honestly enjoyed what I did and was sad to leave. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss my former co-workers. They have all been so supportive throughout this and have wished me well on my blogging journey.
It has been so exciting getting to work on the blog full time! I have been learning all sorts of new things. My dogs and my cat have been grateful to have me home and I’ve been enjoying their company and “help”. They are my constant shadows! It’s been nice to be able to work in the yard to get some projects done as well. I have some blog posts in the works regarding these projects and can’t wait to share them with you!
It’s been fun trying all sorts of new recipes and having dinner on the table at the same time every night! Plus I’ve even lost a few pounds! 🙂 We are definitely eating better and have finally cut out most of the processed food in our diet. We are eating a lot more fruits and vegetables as well. For the last few years I have been trying to buy all organic food for us, but have now doubled down on this effort.
Right after my diagnosis, I purchased a juicer and have been juicing everyday. I can tell a huge difference in the amount of energy I have from drinking the fresh vegetable and fruit juices. Plus I make the dogs tasty treats from the pulp! It’s a win-win for sure!
Wow, I’m sorry this is such a long post, thank you for reading to the end! If you have any questions or if you have your own story to share please do not hesitate to contact me. Stay strong!
REMEMBER TO DISCUSS WITH YOUR DOCTOR THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING AN ANNUAL MAMMOGRAM! EARLY DETECTION SAVES LIVES!