Stage. Grade. Markers. Genes. Generous. Ample. Fatty. Aggressive. Angry. Options. Chemo. Radiation. Support. Drains. Sentinel. Walk. Risks. Metastatic. Spread. Sugar. Caffeine. Stretch. Nodes. Survival. Pink. Pink. Pink. Pink. Pink.
The volume of information in my brain is exhausting me. I heard from my oncologist on Wednesday that my breast cancer is not "sleepy" as we had hoped. After a basic screening mammogram three weeks ago detected two abnormalities, I had a second mammogram, then a sonogram, two biopsies, another mammogram, confirmation of Stage I cancer, an MRI, another sonogram, another biopsy, and then an official diagnosis:
I have a 2.5 cm invasive ductal carcinoma labeled Stage II with an "aggressiveness" rating of Grade 3. These cells are growing RAPIDLY at a rate of 98% within a given time frame. Cells have left the milk duct in which they started growing out of control, and I now have some lymph nodes that look suspicious. Lymph nodes carry cells to other parts of the body, so there is a pretty good chance this cancer has gone hunting elsewhere.
The pathology report on my lesion indicates that it does not have estrogen or progesterone receptors, but it does have the HER2 receptor, a protein that likes to eat and feed the cell so that it can grow. So here's the plan:
I will have a lumpectomy within the next couple of weeks. The surgeon will take the cancer and a suspicious lesion above it and then do a test to see if my sentinel lymph nodes have the cancer. If they do, all the lymph nodes under my left arm will be removed. Chemotherapy will start in January, followed by radiation in the spring.
There is also a spot on my liver, and I'll have a PET scan to look at that next week.
I have a toddler to raise and two businesses to run, but I DO NOT HAVE LESSON PLANS TO DO, A SUBSTITUTE TO FIND, OR THE ANGST OF DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO GO TO SCHOOL ON A ROUGH DAY. I am so very, very thankful that I work from home now.
Close friends who follow my blog, if you ask how you can help, I'm giving you a task. I will need support, and I'm going to be proactive about setting up a schedule so that my family is not exhausted. I'm asking for two-hour chunks of time, meals, shopping, cleaning, and babysitting. Once the surgery date is set, I'll need bits of help from a lot of friends and family so that my husband and parents are not worn down.
I'm not a simpering victim who will curl up and die. I am His beloved, and I am surrounded by family and friends who will let me get away with only brief pity parties. I welcome any and all love an encouragement. Bring it on.