Life is mysterious. Sometimes things happen that don't make any sense at all. Other times things happen and you see clearly why it did. I am beginning to see the why behind all of the detours that have brought us to where we are today.
Back in March, Kevin and I decided to embark on a new adventure. We were about to become empty nesters and thought this would be a great time to try something new and exciting. Kevin took a position with a company that required us to move somewhere on the Gulf. We narrowed it down to the Gulf Shores, Alabama area. We have not made it there as of yet, but we did get a lovely corporate apartment in Mobile, Alabama, which put us in the exact place we needed to be at the time. (Please read prior posts to get some background on where our adventure began back in March).
We have made three separate offers on three different beach properties, but each one was sold to other offers. But now, I can see clearly why.
It has been a whirlwind since we arrived here in Alabama. Literally! We wanted an adventure and you bet we got one! I have pretty much stepped out of the social side of life to focus on me and Kev and how I plan to pursue things that are coming my way.
Here's the story:
Five days before we closed on our house in Knoxville and headed to Alabama, I had a mammogram. I was a tad bit nervous about it because a month and a half earlier I found a lump. Of course I brushed it off by telling myself it was nothing. I had just had my yearly pap a month prior and my OBGYN had given me a breast exam and didn't find anything. So I was sure this was just some fibrous tissue or something.
Well I was wrong! I knew it was when the technician took a second, then a third image of my right breast, squashing the heck out of the place where the lump was located. She then told me to please wait in the waiting area while the Radiologist checked out my images. They usually tell you can leave and they would call you with the results so I knew something wasn't right when she asked me to stay.
Within minutes she came back in and told me that there was definitely something new and suspicious that showed up and wanted me to get a biopsy right away, like now! So of course I agreed. Needless to say they took several samples and the next day my OBGYN called me with the results. Stage II Breast Cancer. I was shocked!
I could not believe it! There is no history of cancer in my family that I know of, I'm healthy, I eat right, I exercise, I meditate, I'm spiritual and I do everything right (or so I thought). How could such an invasive, unwanted, totally unexpected thing happen? Especially now, right when Kevin and I are beginning this new and exciting adventure!
The news shocked Kevin, to say the least. I didn't tell anyone else, including our daughters, for several days. It took me a couple of weeks to tell the rest of our family and it's taken me this long to share it with my friends.
It has been a tough month and a half. Everything has been happening so quickly. But thankfully, ending up in Mobile instead of Gulf Shores for now has shown to be quite a blessing. Moving to a new state where you have no family or established relationships puts you in a place of reliance on total strangers to help direct you and we were directed to all of the right nurses and doctors that are the best in the area! I feel so blessed to have this amazing team around me. They have all shown such great love and care for me and I am thankful to have them in my life.
I will go into more details regarding the whole process in a future blog. I truly believe that all things happen for a reason and this too has a purpose. Not sure what it is yet, but I'm determined to make it count!
So let me bring you to what's up now. I have had tons of tests, MRI, Bone Scan, CT Scan, an Ecography test, more Mammograms, Ultrasounds and another biopsy. They also found a lymph node with cancer in it and a second small tumor in the breast. Thankfully both tumors are small! Also, no other tumors showed up anywhere in my body in any of the scans (yay!) Since they did find a positive lymph node, I will start my healing process with Chemotherapy. Six treatments three weeks apart. Because I'm young for this and the cancer is estrogen positive I will have to begin genetic testing as well. It's a lot to digest for sure!
By this time you bet I had questions. Not only questions, but doubts and fears as well. I wanted to know all of the components to my cancer and what it would take to heal...forever! I have spent endless hours searching on the Internet and picking brains of doctors, nurses and former cancer patients. There really is quite a bit of information online and a lot of it is based in fear. At one point I thought, "Nope, I'm not doing chemo! I will beat this naturally!". Then I came to my senses and decided that an integrative approach is more rational and combining conventional methods along with alternative methods such as health, nutrition, exercise and meditation was the way to go.
It is estimated that one in eight women in America this year will get breast cancer (that's a crazy stat!) and I am one of them. This one I did not sign up for, but it chose me so now I have to deal with it. I have made a decision to turn this cancer from what is seemingly a negative thing into a positive one. You bet I am going to beat this unwanted and quite invasive disease and come out of this healthier, happier and smarter than ever!
So my next step was to get my port put in my chest and that happened on May 26th (not fun). The port will be used for administering the chemo cocktail into my body. It's not a pretty sight but I'm glad to have it (the port was put under my skin on my chest and is attached to a tube that goes into a vein near my heart and looks like a lump on my skin). My first treatment of chemo was this past Friday.
So far I feel really good! I really haven't had any side effects except for a little bit of dry mouth and feeling a little tired every now and then. On Saturday following my treatment, I received a Neulasta booster shot which promotes white cell growth in my bone marrow, which made me feel a little achy on Sunday, but aside from that I feel great! I'm still active and going on with life as usual.
The one inevitable side effect of the chemo cocktail that I'm on is hair loss, all of it! I have had long hair for the past 30 years and I must say, the thought of seeing clumps of long hair fall out kinda freaks me out! So to avoid the shock I got my hair cut off on Saturday and donated my ponytail to Pantene (Pantene makes wigs and donates them to cancer patients and will take processed hair like mine). I must say it was empowering to make that decision and I'm glad I did it.
My best friend and husband Kevin has been beyond amazing throughout this whole thing! This has affected him just as much as it has affected me and I am so thankful for his strength. He has shown me nothing but tons of love, support and encouragement and I am so grateful to have him to walk through this with. Love you Kev!
I have lots more to talk about, but I don't want to turn this blog post into a book, so I will fill you all in with details later. Just know how much I appreciate each and every one of you, and good thoughts and prayers are felt. Please feel free to communicate with me through comments on this blog, through facebook, calling me or through emails. You can also sign up for my email list to get updates sent to your inbox.
Luv you all!