Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Double Whammy! My Story

On July 23,2008, I heard the four words that every woman fears "you have breast cancer."

I had prepared myself in advance as I had this gut feeling that I had cancer.
I honestly knew I had cancer before I had been told. Because of my past medical background (x-ray technician, mammography technician, CT technician) and the internet researcher that I am I knew. What I wasn't prepared for was additional news about my breast biopsies. Not only did I have invasive carcinoma in one breast but had carcinoma in situ in the other breast. After hanging up the phone at work and throwing something against the wall, I sat down and said to myself "Wow, I am dealing with cancer in both my breasts." I knew immediately what I wanted to do and have never wavered from that decision ! (but first I needed to do some research). I can live without my breasts, but I will not live with cancer and the fear of it returning at some later date. I wanted a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.
I received several surgeons names from my doctor as to who to see and she up front told me who she would go see if it were her. Ok, good place to start. Call and make an appointment with him. I then went to the Susan Komen website message boards hoping to find someone in the area who I could connect with. I found a woman in town and emailed her asking who her surgeon was and her surgeon was the doctor I had just made an appointment with. She highly recommended him. I then needed to do some research on reconstruction options and found that a fairly new reconstrucion option is available in the Milwaukee area at Froedert Hospital. DIEP flap reconstruction- taking the fat from your abdomen and basically putting it in after your old, crappy breast tissue has been removed. I wanted to see this doctor and see if that was an option for me. Within 2 weeks I had met with a surgeon and plastic surgeon and had all my options. I did not even feel the need to go for a second opinion. I felt very confident that this was the right surgical team for me. Unfortunately I was not a candidate for the DIEP flap (my plastic surgeon very politely told me I did not have enough fat. (gotta love that man!) On to option B-soft tissue expanders with implants in 4 months. It was either that or go breast free (NOT!)
My surgery is Friday September 12, 2008, at 8:30 AM. We will await the final pathology report after surgery and go on from there. I am fairly certain that I will need chemotherapy, not sure about radiation therapy. When you are first diagnosed with cancer life becomes a bit overwhelming, but after sorting through options and details and once a plan is in place, you then begin to feel in control again. I am now in a holding pattern counting down the days until surgery, wishing it was already over at this point. Waiting is the worst. Waiting for appointments, waiting for results, waiting for surgery, waiting for answers. More to come........

No comments: