Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yesterday was a really weird day.  Everything was normal, except it was completely different!  Ella and I went to Starbucks for breakfast and I took her to school late.  We talked.  I assured her that by letting me have a bite of her Cap’n Crunch covered doughnut, she would not catch what was making me sick. 
 I started making a list of things that I needed to get done and started checking them off!  Make appointment with tax guy, check.  Laundry, maybe tomorrow.  Grocery shopping, I’ll wait for Rick.  Hair cut, check.  Pick up order at Lifeway, check.  But back to the hair cut.  It was way past due, but as I sat in the chair, I fought back the tears while thinking this is going be my last haircut for a long, long time.  I like my hair.  I will miss it.  Then I looked across at another station and remembered sitting there as my hair was done for my wedding.  That was also the chair I sat in when we came home from our honeymoon and I cut off over 10 inches to donate to Locks of Love. Back then,  I never would have guessed that I would be where I am now.  I was floored when I checked my e-mail and there was one from a friend that was asking if she could help in a certain way.  Only God knew that what she was offering was the very thing that was weighing on my heart the most.  Only God could have laid that same burden on her heart and nudged her gently to offer her services.  Only someone that listens to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and obeys can bring a sister in Christ pure joy!  But that’s how it’s supposed to work. 
Today Rick held my hand and we met with my surgeon.  I was hoping that we would walk in to the office, sit in chairs across her desk like they do in the movies and she would tell me my surgery date and lay out the next 3-4 months of treatment for me and answer the majority of our questions.  Then Rick and I would go out to lunch and coordinate our schedules, and then we would go buy some new cute jammies and slippers for the hospital.
That did not happen. 
We did get some answers.  My cancer has a name: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma HER2 positive. (I think I’ll call it “Ike” for short.)  I will be having surgery.  I will be having chemotherapy.  I will lose my hair.  I will not wear a wig.  But there is still a lot up in the air as to what order these things will happen in.  Dr Ogren would like some more answers before any decisions are made.  While IDC is the most common type of breast cancer, the fact that I am “so young” changes that a bit.  And the size and shape of the cancer is not normal.  Unusual, rare, not typical.  I heard those words a lot today.  And “so young.”  It turns out, I am “so young.”  She gave us three options to consider:

A)    Start chemotherapy and try to shrink the cancer. Then do a lumpectomy.
B)     Do a lumpectomy and then do chemotherapy and watch as the years go by, my chances of getting cancer again gets higher and higher.
C)    Do a mastectomy.  Then chemo. Possibly radiation.  Get reconstructive surgery.

Then she said,  depending on what she sees on the MRI, she may take all those options off the table and tell us what we are going to do.  Right now, I’m praying that even though Ike has left the duct and invaded the tissue,  that he has not left the building and stays contained in the breast and does not go visiting my lymph nodes. 
We discussed the possibility of returning to infertility treatments and possible pregnancy following all of this.  I did not like her answer.  By the time we would be given the checkered flag to start trying again, I would be no less than 35.  Suddenly I am not “so young” anymore.  And then came the list of why nots.  I got tired of listening to that, and I was just overwhelmed with everything she was saying, so I checked out for a second as I tried to figure out exactly what color her sweater would be considered.  Too orangey to be salmon, but coral didn’t seem right either.  She would fit in really well with flamingos that are fed a heavy diet of shrimp, so I think I will call it flamingo.  
So, as if dealing with an invasive, aggressive cancer diagnosis wasn’t enough to deal with, the added burden of this news has made it even more difficult to handle.  This is the hardest part for me to face right now.  This is where I need to trust God and know that when He seems to be saying no, He’s probably just waiting to bring about something greater than even I could have imagined and completely blow my mind.  He’s awesome like that!  So I’ll wait.  Besides, have you met our daughter?!  My cup runneth over…
So the next step is getting an MRI.  We scheduled that before we left for the following Tuesday since my insurance company needed four days to preauthorization.  Yeah, that’s not happening! So I came home and made a phone call to the insurance company and then the scheduling department (here again, it was quite nice that I knew the inner workings of this process, so I could help it along!) and I reschedule the MRI for tomorrow.  Much better!
Then more calls to the insurance company to check additional coverage and check to see if the recommended plastic surgeons were in network and if my plan covered reconstructive surgery.  So, after examining the business cards of the plastic surgeons that she recommended and deciding on the shimmery one with the cool last name, I called and made an appointment for a consultation. 
Now, armed with more information and more specific terms to google, I googled.  Here’s the closest description I found to what I heard from the doctor in the flamingo-colored cardigan.  Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and HER2. 
There were a couple bright spots in my day, though!  I came home to some beautiful flowers from an amazing friend.  I should have been tipped off when she asked for my address earlier in the day, but I believed that she really was “updating her records.”   Then there is another friend that has an uncanny ability to time her e-mails and mail deliveries perfectly!  I’m having fun watching for all the ways God shows up each day. 
Ella and I finished her Valentine's for party tomorrow. Aren't they cute?!


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