HALF WAY THERE!

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Finally I have a computer I can sit down and use.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted an update. As a matter of fact I haven’t posted since I’ve been in treatment, and now I am half way done.  Not too many horrific side effects for me, but enough to make me look forward to when this is over! Of course, ALL my hair is gone, I still have lashes and eyebrows. Fatigue, fatigue, fatigue! Can you say fatigue? That is my biggest challenge and it is due mostly to me [already] being anemic. Normal red blood cell counts should be between 12 and 15.5. I started at 9.5 even before chemo treatments.

By the time my 4th treatment was due, my red blood cell count was down to 8.4. I had also developed a bladder infection, and what sounded to be a virus when the doctor listened to my lungs. Because of the anemia, my doctor had me sign a consent in case I needed a blood transfusion, for the bladder infection she gave me a 3 day supply of Cipro,  and for the virus (cold) she postponed my 4th treatment for a week. It worked wonders!!! When I went back the next week, the infection was cleared, the cold gone and my blood count was back up to 9. I have to say this past two weeks I have been feeling very very good!

Tomorrow will be my 5th treatment and the start of a new medicine “Taxol”. It is said to be a lot less toxic than the first part of the treatment. So I am looking forward to feeling better and better. Oh yes, the lump in my left breast has shrank so far from 4.5 cm to about 1.5 cm. And you can barely find the lymph-node under my arm. So the plan is working. I see the surgeon in November. His hope is that the lump is small enough to remove and spare the breast. My hope is to be cancer free. In other words ‘by any means necessary’ lol.

My friends and family have really been supportive! My daughter and two of my first cousins are sporting baldies and say they will keep them until I’m done with treatment. My children have been the best! My husband spoils me, although I know I get on his nerves. He has volunteered to be my designated “punching” bag  in times of frustration, but I try not to punch too hard or too often.. 😉 I will let you all know how the new treatments are working out and I will try to update at least once a week and maybe little short updates on a daily basis. so until next time…TO GOD BE THE GLORY…. 🙂

 

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THE PORT (PART II)

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Got the port catheter implant on Thursday. It’s soooo SUPER  ugly!!! lol.

Going to the beach with my family tomorrow!  Wednesday I’ll be at church celebrating my pastor’s 22nd pastoral anniversary [in ONE place]! Thursday is theee day…pray for me..lol

I am so not looking forward to these chemo infusions! But hey, sometimes the road to victory has a path with a battle or two…or three…or four…or…you get the picture. I’ll be back to tell ya ALL about it! 🙂

TO GOD BE THE GLORY…IN JESUS HOLY NAME..AMEN!!! 😉

THE PORT

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Hi all!

Here are the new updates concerning my treatment plan.  This Thursday, the surgeon will implant a temporary device called a port into my chest. The port is used for chemotherapy infusions, it is a lot safer than injecting the medicine directly through a vein in the arm.  My first treatment will begin on the 12th. I will be receiving a dose dense combination of Adriamycin and Cytoxan. The treatment will be administered every two weeks,  four times, followed by the chemotherapy drug Taxol, which will also be administered every two weeks,  four times. This will be a total of 16 weeks of chemotherapy.

Normally surgery is performed to remove the tumor before chemo is given, but because this cancer is so aggressive and has now started to grow in my right breast as well, my doctor have decided to start chemo first in hope that it will shrink some of the tumor and keep them from spreading. If it proves to be responding well [half way through treatment] then surgery may be an option. It looks as if a double mastectomy may be what the doctor orders. Why? Because I am under 50, the cancer is triple negative, and in both breast and I have a [male] cousin who is also being treated for breast cancer, my doctors believe I may have a genetic disorder or gene [BRCA-1] that causes breast cells to mutate and become cancerous. Hence, to keep risks low, all breast tissue should be surgically removed.

When it come to breast cancer, reconstructive surgery is no longer considered cosmetic. Instead, it is now a part of treatment and insurances have to cover it. As a woman, I appreciate this long thought out and fought out breakthrough, as you can probably imagine why!  In some cases they can start reconstructive surgery right after the removal of your breasts, just so you won’t have to see yourself without your longtime homies!! You will be renewed, and so will they!!!

So the next time I post, it will be to let you know how the port surgery went and then treatments. I will be going to the beach on Monday with my family. My eldest son came home yesterday and will be with us for ten days!!! I will find reasons to laugh, smile, shout and praise…because God has TRULY been good to me!!! 🙂  Until next time…

TO GOD BE THE GLORY..IN JESUS HOLY NAME…AMEN 😉

ONE MORE TEST

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Hi everyone!

It’s been a minute since my last post, so much has gone on this week. A friend was in a serious accident this weekend with her daughter and grandson. She’s doing good, spirit’s up and she is encouraged! Tiffani, her daughter is a real fighter and there is hope that she too will pull through this…her grandson…well, he was playing video games when we got to the hospital…lol. GOD IS SO GOOD! 🙂

Me: The surgeon called me yesterday to let me know that the small lump that was found in the right breast is the same type of cancer that is in the left breast. However, this will not change the treatment plan. I will have to start chemo before surgery as opposed to after surgery. The next step will be inserting a port for the chemo infusions. This is an outpatient procedure that will be done in a day’s time. The surgeon informed me the paperwork is being done for that. I will also be given a test to make sure my heart can stand the chemo; this is standard.

“14 days” that’s what I’ve been told about how soon I am likely to start treatments. Now this thing is becoming a little more [UN] surreal to me, but I am still encouraged!!! Thanks for the calls and the encouraging comments. I will give an update on how my appointment goes today. Look for a new category: A TREATMENT PLAN. Until next time, GET THOSE MAMMOGRAMS!!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY….IN JESUS HOLY NAME…AMEN -)

FINALLY SOME !!!GOOD!!! NEWS……

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I just received a call from the breast care coordinator, she let me know the bone scan came back negative! NO CANCER in my bones! SOMETHING is shut up in my bones…but it AIN’T NO CANCER (pardon my english) LOL. All my blood tests results were normal. My iron is a little low [I’ve been anemic for years] but that will be brought to normal with a supplemental plan.

I didn’t know how much this piece of news would lift my spirits. I want to give a special thanks to David. I got up in the wee hours of the morning to go to the bathroom, when I got back in the bed I put my head in my hands and [for the first time] I cried. Don’t ask me how he heard me [being as though he was calling the hogs and I thought I was being very quiet] but all I felt was his arms wrap around me from out of nowhere! No words, no comments, just loving arms. I don’t have to tell you, I had a very peaceful rest.

I could sure get used to this good news thang! Like maybe, when I go back, they’ll say: Mrs. Lawrence, we’re not sure what’s going on, but we don’t see nothing, nowhere!!! I don’t know if anyone has ever danced a jig at Jefferson before, but I’m gone need my mule for a dance platform! lol lol lol. Anyway, I just had to share, because I’m so THANKFUL! 🙂

TO GOD BE THE GLORY…IN JESUS HOLY NAME…AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! 🙂

3 For 1 TODAY!

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Today’s schedule:

9:30-Radiation injection for bone scan

10:30-Ultrasound of new lump found in right breast

12:00-Actual bone scan

3:00-Meet Medical Oncologist and blood work completed

Whew! I feel like I just came home from work! Where do I start? Ok, I’ll catch you up from the last post. The bone scan results won’t be in until sometime tomorrow and the oncologists will call me with the results. Hopefully, it will be an early call, because I probably will not be able to focus on anything else in the meantime.

The radiologist was able to find the lump in the right breast, so an ultrasound guided biopsy was scheduled for next week. They are concerned it may be a new primary cancer (which, I am told, can be common).

My oncologist is VERY thorough! I know that I am in good hands. She was a little concerned that I have lost a few pounds since last week. I have to say, I really haven’t had much of an appetite, waiting for the results of all these tests. Once everything is done, I’m more than positive my appetite will return. Although the oncologist agreed with me, she did stress that I should get in as many berries and green vegetables as possible.

I’m sort of in the same boat since my last post; still waiting on tests results! Guess what? If the bone scan does show there is something on the rib, it too will have to be biopsied, then I’ll have to WAIT for EVEN MORE results, before a treatment plan can be put into place. Hopefully, the bone scan is negative, for more reasons than one!

That’s just about it for today, nothing too colorful, nothing too different so far. Just CRAZY FAITH!!! 😉

TO GOD BE THE GLORY…IN JESUS HOLY NAME…AMEN! 🙂

P.E.T…M.R.I….BONE SCANS…OH MY!!!

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This one will be short and to the point…I think 😉

“Ok Mrs. Lawrence, get undressed from neck to waist and put this on” Another exam? I thought I was here only to speak with the Dr. I feel like I’m in a movie called ‘Fiddle On The Boob’. Get it? Instead of “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Fiddle On The…ok, maybe that wasn’t a good one, but anyway, after David and Shyla sits down and the surgeon’s nurse, the breast care coordinator, the social worker and the surgeon gets settled into the exam room…IT’S A PARTY!!! I probably should have set up an FB invite so everyone could be there lol. Just joking, I actually appreciate knowing that everyone who is a part of my care will be kept on the same page.

After the preliminary follow-up questions, my surgeon pulls up the pictures to go over the PET and MRI results. Remember in the last post when I mentioned the “One of those days” thing, and how I related it to my journey so far? Well, this is why:

  1. I found a lump so I search the internet and discover, it may just be hormonal; so I give it about 30 days and lo and behold: IT’S STILL THERE!
  2. My Dr. confirms, this is a mass. “We’ll get you some insurance and off to mammography you go, JUST TO PLAY IT SAFE!”
  3. Test shows mass size and position, a smaller lump and swollen lymph nodes. “But remember 80% of breast lumps are benign” Test confirms: MINE IS MALIGNANT!
  4. “Breast cancer is so common, and most can be treated with hormone therapy for a complete cure”. What I have is called “Triple Negative” and hormone therapy WON’T WORK!
  5. PLUS, the cells in this cancer doesn’t look like breast cancer cells at all! They have somehow evolved into cells you find from other types of cancers, which means this is a very aggressive subtype [METAPLASTIC].
  6. Then the Dr. explains to me that the MRI shows something in my right breast TOO! And the PET shows there may even be something in my BONES!

Well dippity do da…dippity day…my oh my…..”IT’S JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS!”

Shouldn’t I have stopped, dropped and be ROLLING on the floor laughing my BUTT off at this point? Well, guess what? Actually, I’M NOT! No, instead…I just let out a little…lol  and smh, but I remind MYSELF, and I leave you with this scripture: JOB 2:1-6. 😉

Regardless, of what is put on us, our LIFE is in the hand of the Father! Again, I thank you of traveling this journey with me. I have received many messages and phone calls of encouragement and I STILL remain encouraged!

UNTIL MY NEXT POST…TO GOD BE THE GLORY…IN JESUS HOLY NAME…AMEN! 🙂

LOL LOL LOL…..’It’s Just One Of Those Days!’

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Did you ever have one of those days when EVERYTHING seemed to go wrong! It may look something like this: You know you have an early morning meeting so you make sure to get a good night’s rest because you’ll be getting up an hour early [JUST] so you can be on top of your game. By the time you awake, you realize the time went forward and you forgot to set your clock, so you’re really up at your usual time. But that’s ok! You get up; you get washed; you get dressed. You throw those juicy ribs [from the cookout the day before] in the microwave so they’ll nuke while you put on your makeup. “Mmm…Breakfast of Champions!”

Got on your makeup! Now, where are those shoes? While you’re searching for the shoes you just knew were in the closet; in the black box; you swear you smell something burning. You stand, you sniff, you look around…and around…and around…Found them! The shoes! One peeping out from under the bed and the other one smashed by the radiator cover. “Oh well” they don’t look too bad and besides, that ugly crease will probably wear out soon enough.  So you put on those shoes and rush downstairs because heavenly barbecue cuisine awaits you, but smoke is coming from the microwave because you inadvertently added an extra zero to what you thought was only going to be 2 minutes. And now you want to cry!!!!!!!! Aaaaaand you CRY…lol….shame on you.

Don’t forget you have a meeting and you’re not up as early as you thought you would be. So you rush to get your keys and head-on-out. But wait, your keys are nowhere to be found. So you attempt to call another household member to see if they have seen them, only to realize, you can’t find your phone either. This is where your pressure rises to pressure cooker status and you feel as if you are boiling on the inside, but you decide to stay positive. You stop, you calm down, you find your keys and your phone…wait for it…wait for it…IN YOUR POCKETBOOK!

After the battle of driving through traffic or the hustle and bustle of public transportation, you finally arrive at your destination. You rush into the building [still excited and positive] because you are so proud that despite your challenging morning, you still made it intact and on time! You sign in; you look around and you ask “Where is everybody?” The reply: “The meeting was postponed until tomorrow…didn’t you get the memo?” Your jaw drops, you shoulders slump and you think to yourself…’What could possibly happen next?’ As you turn to walk away, the heel on that radiator cover smashed shoe…breaks off! LOL LOL LOL!!! Then I accept “It’s just one of those days” and I look forward to the humor in the REST of the day.

That’s how I have to look at it. By the time I get to the 3rd or 4th thing that goes wrong in “one of those days”, I have to STOP…DROP…AND ROLL ON THE FLOOR, LAUGHING MY BUTT OFF!

Why am I telling you this? Because at this point, that is where I am in this journey.  I don’t want to scare anybody away by looking at how lengthy this post is, so I will continue the actual results of yesterday’s tests and my visit with the surgeon in the following post…THAN you will see exactly what I mean! STAY TUNED…..

TO GOD BE THE GLORY…IN JESUS, HOLY NAME…AMEN! 🙂

IN THE BEGINNING (PART 2, The Tests)

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On Tuesday, May, 23rd, I went for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. It really wasn’t that bad, but I didn’t learn much, except that there was another small lump and a couple of swollen lymphnodes under my left arm. Next step: a core biopsy of the two lumps and a fine needle biopsy of the lymphnodes. I was assured that the biopsy would definitely indicate whether or not there was something going on with these lumps.

On Thursday, May, 25th, two days after the first two test, I recieved two ultrasound guided biopsies of my left boobie 🙂 and a fine needle aspiration of the lymphnodes. Again, the staff was friendly and courteous, and the surgery was much less extensive than I expected. After the procedure was done, I was told that the radiologist would call me with the results within the next five business days.

During the wait, I enjoyed a nice Memorial Day weekend with my family and friends, and to my own surprise, I was able to keep from spilling the beans!  lol. Tuesday came, and the radiologist called me with the results. The smaller of the two lumps was benign and the larger lump was definitely cancer. Unfortunately, the swelling of my lymphnode was due to the cancer spreading. The next step: see the surgeon.

That Friday, I was in the surgeon’s office. I was told, I have the choice of a total mastectomy or spare the breast and just remove the lump. Ok, my question; why would I have my whole brest removed, if I have the option of just removing the lump His answer: because it is a higher risk of the cancer returning should I decide to spare the breast. But I have a little bit of decision time because due to the cancer spreading to the lymphnodes, I have to be given a PET Scan to see if it has spreaded to any other parts of the body.

Well, to bring you completely up to date, yesterday was my PET scan and an MRI was done just this morning. The results will be in by Monday and I will talk with the surgeon once again: this time to find out whether or not the cancer has spread and the treatment options available to me. Prayerfully, it has not spread beyond the lymphnodes, but if it has, it’s a small feat for my Father and the amazing things He does through His Son and His Holy Spirit!!!

Of course I have no idea of what the process of this journey will intale, but I can honestly say that I believe I will come out on the other side victoriously and my Father will certainly be glorified! So until my next post, which will probably be Tuesday or shortly after, I love you and I appreciate your decision to go with me through this challenging, yet victorious journey!!!! Thanks, love Shelly 🙂