Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cancer

When I saw the words invasive and in situ ductal carcinoma on my biopsy report I was shocked, scared, and heart broken. It hit me....I have breast cancer. And then I wept.....

I'll start at the beginning. Back in September I noticed a lump in my breast when I was pumping, but I was still pumping so I just figured it was related to my milk or a small clogged milk duct. I monitored it, but it didn't change. In October I officially started weaning and the lump size still didn't change. At the beginning of December, after not pumping for over a month, the lump was still there so I called my OB office to ask if I needed to get it checked out. A visit was scheduled for a breast exam where I was told that the lump was round and moveable which was a good sign, but that they wanted to get it checked out further just to be safe. I was sent for an ultrasound. On the ultrasound they found what appeared to be a solid mass with smooth edges that measured about 2 cm x 1.5cm. The ultrasonographer told me it was likely something called a fibroadenoma that was harmless and very common after pregnancy.

I followed up with the surgeon the next week where he looked over the ultrasound report, did another breast exam including palpating my lymph nodes under my armpit, and told me that he agreed with the ultrasonographer....it was likely a fibroadenoma, but because it appeared solid so he recommended getting a biopsy just to cover our bases.

So, on Friday the 16th I had the biopsy done and the tissue samples were sent to the pathologist. I was told the results should be back in 48-72 hours. On Monday night I had a message from the surgeon stating he was sorry that he missed me as he was heading out of the office and that he would call me first thing Tuesday morning. I knew the results were back, so I hopped on My Health (which is a website Intermountain hospital has for patients to be able to access their medical records) and with Trav by my side we read the report.

Tuesday morning I talked with the doctor (who was unaware I had access to the results and was a little angry with me for looking it up...oops! He wanted to be the one to tell me I had cancer) and we scheduled an appointment for later that afternoon. We spent 1 1/2 hours with him discussing what happens next. He was amazing! He explained my treatment options and we made a basic plan.

So, the next steps are a mammogram on the 29th and an MRI shortly there after. These are to screen for additional cancer in my breasts to make sure there isn't more that we don't know about yet. The results of those tests will help us know if we should do a lumpectomy only or if I will need to have a mastectomy. Right now we think we'll just have to do the lumpectomy, but we will see. My lump appeared to be noncancerous in the beginning too, so I'm not ruling anything out quite yet. We are thinking the surgery will be sometime the first week of January. They then take the cancer and officially stage it. Right now it looks like a Stage 2 cancer, but we will know for sure after the surgery. The next step will be meeting with the oncologist. I have lots of questions for him. Then I'll start chemo. Once the chemo is done I will probably need radiation too. That is pretty much all we know right now.

I'll keep you updated as more info comes along. We have a private facebook group that will have regular updates. Let me know if you want to be invited. I am actually doing great today (the last two days have been rough though). I'm definitely shaken emotionally and there are ups and downs with the tears. I know I'm going to be okay. It is curable. That is what matters....there is still hope. It is going to be a journey and I only hope I can endure it with dignity. I'm afraid of chemo, of losing my hair, of being sick, of reproductive issues afterwards. I hate telling people and watching others be uncomfortable around me. I'm still me and right now I feel great physically--I just have this darn lump. I don't mind talking about it as long as you are okay if I tear up depending on the day. It is going to be journey.....thanks for being willing to come along with me.

Thanks to all of you! I love you so much. I feel your prayers literally--they have given me so much strength and comfort these last few days. Your support is overwhelming. I promise we will use you when we need you. The worst is yet to come, and, so is the best.

13 comments:

KrIStiN said...

Oh Bree...that is so heartbreaking! I know you'll do great! There is a book u need to get..its about overcoming cancer and those sorts of things! amazing book..i'll get the title from my mom!! It has definitely helped her through her 3 cancers..stay strong!

Ryan and Shannan Hoffman said...

Breann, thank you for sharing this journey publicly. It will help to have all the payers and support in your corner.

I wanted to let you know how much I have admired you from the first time we met. I know what a loving, kind person you are, and what a strong person you are too. I know that you will fight this and you are strong. Prayers will be offered from our family and we wish you the best as you start this journey. Love you!

Jared and Katie said...

I know you will be able to overcome this! You are in our prayers. You are such a strong person.

Jana said...

You are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. I can't even imagine what you are going through, you are incredibly strong.

Mindy said...

I hope that everything goes well. You will be in our prayers. I'm glad you shared your story!

Misty said...

You are such a strong and amazing person! You will overcome and will be (and already are) an inspiration to all of us!
And when times get tough, know that we are ALL behind you and willing to help in any way we can!

erin and shaun said...

Hey Breeann - Sorry for the comment overload between this and facebook! Just wanted to tell you that I mentioned this to Shaun and he really wants to talk to you if you are willing or want. Like I said on facebook, he spends a lot of his time in residency learning about and dealing with breast cancer. He wants to make sure you are getting all the best, most up-to-date info and treatment options. He also thinks it would be good to talk to someone outside of the formality of your doctor's office. Anyway, no pressure if you aren't interested...he just wanted me to offer. We are thinking and praying about you! 801-694-9385 -Erin Mendenhall

The Smith's said...

Wow, that's all I can even say. My heart just goes out to you and your family. I can't even imagine what you're going through. You are definitely in our thoughts and prayers and I'm always here if you need. But it sounds like you've got an amazing support system and I'm sure everyone will be there for you the whole way through. Keep us posted and we love you!

serra said...

oooh bree......

NRougeau said...

Bree -- I spoke to Travis yesterday and told him that I am a 17-year breast cancer survivor. I had it in my 30s when my children were in first and second grade, and I have watched both of them grow up, one served a mission, both in college (and one now graduated) and both married in the temple. If you want to talk to someone who has been through it, give me a call. It helped me so much at the time to talk to others who had experienced it, and I'm available to talk or just listen to you anytime, day or night. I understand.

Sara said...

I have no words. I have been in shock since Derek got travis's text and fighting not to cry. You are an amazing woman and have so much strength that I know you can fight this. Just remember that the savior is always within arms reach and is there for yo. We love you so much and you will be in our prayers.

Please send us both an invite o the Facebook page.
Let us know if there is anything we can do.
Derek and sara

Stacey said...

Wow. I haven't checked your blog in a while...
Will you invite me to your FB group?
I know we aren't family, but I care about you and will pray for you and your family.

Stacey

Meg said...

Bree - you have been on my mind so much lately. We are praying for you and wishing you the best. I would love to be added to your facebook group to be kept up and help anyway I can.