Year 2, Month 5 and 5 days: Storm clouds and rainbows

Year 2, Month 5 and 5 days: Storm clouds and rainbows

So, it is that time again.  Time for annual testing. My blood work always tells me I am healthy, my CT always points to the interesting lumps and bumps of life that I would never know about had I not required a CT in the first place and of course… the hands on exams.  Every girls least favorite.

This time we felt a lump.  I suppose it has been there since the last surgery.  So off to get an ultrasound I go.  Results state ” 1.4 x 2.7 x 0.4 cm Continue reading

Day 72: Knitted knocker test drive…

Day 72: Knitted knocker test drive…

I decided to give the knitted knockers a whirl today.  I have to thank my mother in law Joyce for making these for me.  It is strange on so many levels.  Where to start…

Size for the day: C two sizes smaller than the original set I had grown all myself…

I have strange sensations Continue reading

Day 62: Fighting for your joy…

Day 62: Fighting for your joy…

I have mentioned that cancer feels like a second job, all the research, appointments, decisions… I suppose you could say that fighting for your joy is a third job.  Cancer will do what it can to try and steal it away with the chaos and fear it causes.  It could just be adjusting to the new normal as this new theme dominates parts of your day, many of your thoughts and inserts itself into almost every conversation.  Of course that is the part that goes mostly unseen and unnoticed by the outside world.  Daily you Continue reading

Day 61: Data…

Day 61: Data…

So in addition to researching alternative treatments I am also looking at success rates of chemotherapy for breast cancer. Gotta admit, I am a wee bit less than enamored with what I am finding.

According to the table below and the report from the Royal College of Radiologists which this table comes from, we are talking about a Continue reading

Day 51-53: Cancer math madness…

Day 51-53: Cancer math madness…

Well… This has been a tough one to write.  I’m parsing through all the data and many emotions.
Many of you know that I saw the oncologist Thursday and things have been quiet since then… I am learning “cancer math.”  Cancer math reminds me of my marketing classes while I was pursuing masters of business.  My classmate Britt and I kept getting stuck on how certain numbers were derived, in class one day in total frustration, I decided that there were horses and unicorns and that marketing math was filled with unicorns made from assumptions based on some level of experience but truly they are assumptions and not tangible reality.  We will refer to cancer math as “kitten unicorn cancer math.”

Continue reading

Day 50: Post-op, pathology, staging, decisions and drains oh my!

Day 50: Post-op, pathology, staging, decisions and drains oh my!

WOW!  Where to start.  Today is a very mixed bag of good news and not so great news.  I am going to let the words flow through my fingers and try not to over think it.

Starting with some of the good news from the post-op appointment.  The drains are out and the surgical sites look FABULOUS.  The tissue is healthy and clear and it truly looks great.  Having the drains removed did smart a little bit, ok, right drain #2 smarted a lot… and I dropped the “F-bomb” again… but the doctor was very understanding.  Having the staples removed did not hurt at all.  I am still a day away from a shower though.

Pathology report was not what I was hoping for, Continue reading

Day 49: Getting my hairs set….

Day 49: Getting my hairs set….

I remember great gran going to get her hair “set” – gonna try that today.  I simply have not figured out a way to stay safely dry while washing my hair here at home.  Not to mention the whole hands above the head thing.  Hmm…. Pretty much everyone has offered to help, but honestly, the salon chair seems the safest bet.  Shoot… might even put on some make-up…  the photo is of course my anticipated after… LOL

Strange dream last night – for those of you who are into dream interpretation.  I dreamt Continue reading

Day 47: Strange sensations…

Day 47: Strange Sensations…

Remember the Twilight Zone episode, “Eye of the Beholder?” In this episode, the doctors and nurses are horrified and disappointed with the results of the surgery, and at the end of the episode, two patients afflicted with the same condition are headed into exile to a village of their own kind, a man stops them before they leave the hospital and says, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  That scene is going through my head as I look ahead to Wednesday’s post operative appointment.  I will be excited to get the bandages off for the first time and of course I will be curious to see how it all looks.

Four days post operative and I am definitely experiencing some new sensations.  Continue reading

Day 46: Even on drugs we can’t pull one over on ya…

IMG_0957Day 46: “Even on drugs we can’t pull one over on ya…”

That is a quote from my mom.  We went for coffee and stopped by the post office, everyone assured me we had the key.. on the way out… Rick and mom had empty hands.  I saw mom digging in the recycle for coupons… she has a black belt in shopping and is a coupon ninja… I said to sis… “Good God… mom is diving in the recycle bin for coupons” – little did I know that was just because they were trying to throw me off and pretend that all that was in the mailbox was junk mail.  Not sure if I still have my wits about me regardless of the drugs or if they are just poor at trying to pull the wool over my eyes.  😉  And I have inside information, Amazon sent me a text, I know I have packages… 😛

Emptying the drains still smarts a little.  My sister says Continue reading

Day 19: Meet Infiltrating (or Invasive) Lobular Carcinoma (ILC).

Day 19: Infiltrating (or Invasive) Lobular Carcinoma (ILC). Today’s post is more informational. This is the shortest write-up I have found ILC. As I think about the pros and cons of unilateral vs. bilateral, there is a lot of information even in this short article that make me lean toward bilateral. Especially the part where a mammogram won’t always catch it. This is an interesting process as you think about “removing” a part of your body. Especially when you are thinking about possibly removing part of you by choice… which we really won’t know until MRI results come back.

I was talking with an amazing friend last night and finally just shrugged my shoulders and said, “Me over-thinking, ugh… this is just vanity.” My friend says, gently, “Are you sure you aren’t confusing vanity with identity.” WOW. You need friends like that. It was a hard thing to ask and they were very aware of the impact of the question. It is identity. I do need to recognize that. Now… for the informational part:

ILC starts in the milk-producing glands (lobules). Like IDC (ductal), it can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. About 1 in 10 invasive breast cancers is an ILC.

Signs and Symptoms: ILC does not always feel like a breast lump. ILC cells may leave your lobes through one opening, staying together in a line. They can proceed to infiltrate fatty tissue, creating a web-like mass. This web of cancer cells may feel like a thickened area of breast tissue, and at first may not cause concern or pain. Unfortunately, if left undetected, ILC can develop into a mass that is about 3/4 inch (2 centimeters) to about 2 inches (5 centimeters) or bigger in size, before causing more noticeable symptoms.

When to Seek Medical Help: If you have any of these symptoms, get them checked out by a health professional right away:
A thickened area within your breast
An area that feels “full” or swells (not due to lactation or hormonal cycle)
Breast skin changes such as dimpling, thickening, or different texture
Nipple drawing in (retracting)

Because ILC can easily hide within breast tissue, a mammogram won’t always catch it, particularly in the earliest stages. If it does show up on a mammogram, it will be unclear as to its actual nature. Your doctor may send you for a breast ultrasound, which is better at detecting ILC than a mammogram. To get the best overall image of the cancer, you may need a breast MRI, so your surgeon will be able to see the size and location of the mass. Finally, to get a clear diagnosis of ILC, a breast biopsy must be done, so that a sample of the tissue can be examined by a pathologist.

Stages of ILC: ILC can be diagnosed from stages 1 through 4. It is more likely than IDC to occur in both breasts -– about 20% of patients diagnosed with ILC will have bilateral breast cancer. A breast MRI will help reveal this, and treatment can be tailored to combat both cancerous masses at once.

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