Breast cancer diagnosis and the new path I’m taking

I chose eddies and currents as my blog name because I see life as a stream or river.  Well, I’m not in an eddy right now, but instead the current has swept me up, and I’m on my way to some new place.  Less than two weeks ago, I found a lump in my left breast.  I’d noticed some pain there but had dismissed it because it felt like the pain from the many other breast cysts I have and have had.  It would hurt some but then go away for two or three weeks.  The pain had become more persistent in the last week or two, though, and I checked and found a lump that scared me.  So I went to the surgeon who had taken care of a big cyst I had about four years ago.  He thought this one was a cyst, too, but got nothing when he tried to aspirate it.  I’d had a mammogram in November, and it came back okay.  The surgeon sent me immediately on this time to get a mammogram and an ultrasound and then the radiologist came in and tried to aspirate.  Nothing.  So he did a biopsy.  I had to wait over Labor Day Weekend for the results.  And though I was trying to stay calm and think positive thoughts, I had a bad feeling.

A week ago I found out that the lump is breast cancer.  The radiologist gave me a good idea of the treatment path but of course said it depended on what they found with more information, like the MRI I had the next day.  A friend went with me when I met with the surgeon on Friday, and my sister, who lives in New Hampshire and works in Massachusetts, was there via my cell phone.  The surgeon said the best course of treatment would be chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy.  Today I met with the medical oncologist and got his perspective.  Another friend was there with me taking notes, and my sister was on the phone again.

I’m learning that insurance rules when/if you get things done.  I had a PET scan scheduled for today, too, but insurance canceled it because they have to speak directly with my doc.  So it’s rescheduled for Thursday morning with an echo cardiogram before it (because the chemo treatments can be hard on the heart, and they want to be sure it’s okay).  Now I’m waiting to hear from my surgeon’s nurse as to when he can put in the port for chemo so that I don’t have to worry about vein problems with the chemo.  And when I get the port, I’ll go straight for my first chemotherapy treatment.  That should be very soon, certainly by Friday if not before.

I’ve always been scared of needles and really dislike medical places, so I’m being pushed into facing my fears directly.  I’m also afraid of illness and death . . . and people coming into my house because I’m such a clutterbug!  I get to face my biggest fears all at once.  I’ve said for the past few months that I’ve gotten close to letting go of trying to control my life and how it evolves, and I believe that this cancer situation will help me get through that barrier.  I got very close to letting go after the tornadoes, but I pulled back into worrying and trying to figure everything out and be prepared for it.  I don’t think I’ll be pulling back this time.  This cancer diagnosis is both terrible and wonderful.  I’ve asked for support on Facebook and have been nearly overwhelmed with the responses.  I know that if I don’t share my pains and situations with people, then they can’t help me.  And boy, I have so many, many offers of help!  I’ll be calling on many people through this path of treatment and healing because I know that they really do want to help.  Yes, I do expect to heal completely, to be cancer-free.  One of the great blessings of this to see how much people care and how they are loving and giving and supportive.

I’ll use this blog as a way to share information with those who are interested.  I can post here, and both Facebook and non-Facebook friends can check in to see what’s going on.  I’ll also be sharing the journey in ways other than the purely medical perspective, because this will have great impact on my emotions and thoughts and spirit as well.  And those of you who know me know that the thoughts and spirit will be a big part of what I’ll express here.

Many, many thanks to all of you who have offered up prayers on my behalf and who have sent me positive energy.  Please keep doing just that.

4 thoughts on “Breast cancer diagnosis and the new path I’m taking

  1. Ms. S, though it has been 15 years since I sat in a classroom listening to our discussions. Every time I drive to my moms I pass your home and tell my children “that is where my favorite teacher from high school lives”. Though I hated Grammar and Reading with a passion, I really enjoyed your class. I remember we had read a book (though now I cant remember the name) and we had a open forum on the death penalty. While we disagreed on the topic of discussion it was truly wonderful to hear others point of view.

    Now, as you are heading on the next journey of your life I have more reason than ever to admire you. Along with a good reason to stop by. I will pass this information on to my family which still resides just over the hill. With the amount of former students that live near you I am sure your yard will stay in pristine condition.

    If ever a need, big or small. Please know you can count on me.

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