In truth, I do not have the time or energy to attempt wit or humor. The best I can do is limit my use of passive tense. So, forgive the following poorly written, "just the facts" kind of post. I promise to infuse some humor into the next one (bad pun intended, because all puns are bad, right!?!).
Anyhow, on April 30th, 2014 ar 9:00 am Dr. Simon of the Mission Hospital Women's Wellness Center handed me a single piece of paper with four lines of text that thrust me forevermore into a sea of pink ribbons:
POORLY DIFFERENTIATED INFILTRATING DUCTAL CARCINOMA.
HIGH COMBINED HISTOLOGIC GRADE (3+3+3=9).
NO DEMONSTRABLE IN SITU COMPONENT.
ESTROGEN RECEPTOR NEGATIVE; PROGESTERONE RECEPTOR NEGATIVE; HER2 NEGATIVE.
* For those of you with a medical aptitude, this is the dreaded "Triple Negative" diagnosis.
As you know, I am not a Pretty in Pink kind of girl. While I love John Hughes movies, I never have, nor will I ever be your stereotypical girly girl. I was always more of a combination of the Joan Cusack and Female Athlete characters from Sixteen Candles. So, this is a particularly tough pink pill to swallow.
The pill, breast cancer. Not the cute, soft, fluffy, pink and glittery kind of breast cancer. Unfortunately, I have the wailing bitch of a banshee next to me kind of breast cancer.
The tumor is large (6 cm), it is aggressive (9 out of a possible 9 as far as grade), the tumor is not "in situ" nor is it contained within the duct where it started, and it is "infiltrating" or invasive. Lastly, it was not caused by, nor can it be treated with hormones (progesterone or estrogen).
Things are moving quickly. Here is the timeline to date:
- Tuesday, April 22nd: Breast Exam
- Friday, April 25th: 1st Ultra Sound and Mammogram
- Saturday, April 26th: Jimmy's Birthday Party
- Monday, April 28th: 1st Biopsy and 2nd Mammogram
- Tuesday, April 29th: Jimmy's 3rd Birthday
- Wednesday, April 30th at 9:00 am: Presented with Pathology Report for 1st Biopsy - Diagnosed with Breast Cancer
- Thursday, May 1st: MRI with Contrast
- Friday, May 2nd: 2nd Look Ultra Sound, 2nd Biopsy of Lymph Nodes, 3rd Mammogram
- May 2 - 7: Meet with some of the best Surgeons and Oncologists on the west coast to chose my team and treatment plan.
- Thursday, May 8th: PET Scan
- Friday, May 9th: Meet with my Medical Oncologist and Oncological Surgeon.
- Monday, May 12th: Echocardiogram
- Thursday, May 15th: 1st Chemotherapy Session
My treatment plan begins on Thursday with four months of "Dose-Densing" chemotherapy, meaning infusions are condensed, every two weeks instead of the standard three to four weeks. On the heels of chemo, I will undergo surgery, followed by six weeks of radiation and possibly more chemo.
I am assured that this treatment regimen is "appropriately aggressive" and although I may hear the Banshee wailing and wish for her to take me, she will not be able to touch me.
The picture seems bleak, but the prognosis is not. Without a doubt, this will be a tough year. I will be tested mentally, emotionally and physically. I cannot afford to be proud, I will draw on every internal and external resource at my disposal.
I am already humbled and eternally grateful for outpouring of love and assistance I continue to receive on a daily basis. Thank you to my family and friends for rallying behind and fighting alongside me.
Through the grace of God and the continued support of my family and friends I will survive this. I will dig deep, put one foot in front of the other all day, everyday and cross the finish line of this marathon.
My Nana always said I was cheeky and bold. As usual, she was right. I am stubborn, I am strong and more importantly I am pissed off!
I have a beautiful husband, children, and life worth fighting for. So, I am going to put my hair up, take off my earrings, and get ready to box this half-pint banshee bitch, even if it means wearing pink gloves.
With Love and Gratitude,