Scanned, Squished and Skewered – The new life of my mom’s boob.
It’s been a month since her diagnosis, and my mom’s boobs have been through a lot. They’ve been exposed to numerous people; cold, hard surfaces; and needles. If only there was a way to warn the poor girls that it’s only going to get worse! They’re definitely gonna need some therapy when this cancer business is all said and done.
What we’ve learned:
- 2cm tumor in upper outer quadrant of right breast = stage one (that is if it hasn’t spread to the lymph system, which we will find out after her biopsy this Thursday)
- Diagnosis: IDC: Infiltrating = invasive, likes to spread to other tissues. Ductal = cancer began in the tubes that carry the milk from the milk-producing lobules to the nipple. Carcinoma = any cancer in skin or other tissues that cover internal organs. Apparently this type of cancer is a sneaky little bastard and likes to spread via the lymph system. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), IDC is the most commonly diagnosed breast cancer.
- “Extensive necrosis” on pathology report of her dissected tumor. This means there was evidence of dead cells and debris. Apparently this is indicative of a more aggressive tumor. Aka this little booby has problems!
- Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC): According to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, this bad-boy subtype of breast cancer lacks receptors on the surface of the cell that fuel most breast cancers; estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2). On a node that is positive to any one of these hormone receptors is typically responsive to chemotherapy. However, TNBC tumors are not, meaning there are fewer choices on the menu for targeted treatment.
What’s happened so far:
- Aug. – 2 routine mammogram
- Aug. 6 – nurse calls saying mammogram showed a lump in each breast, come in for further testing. The world stopped rotating for my mom at this point
- Aug. 14 – ultra sound and repeat mammogram
- Aug. 31- lumpectomy and biopsy
- Sept. 5 – diagnosed with TNBC via biopsy results
- Sept. 9 – mom turns 55
- Sept. 11 – BRCA test done, met with surgeon for possibility of mastectomy
- Sept. 13 – MRI of breast
- Sept. 19 – BRCA results came back showing no mutation, aka negative! (this is a very good thing, means that her risk of developing cancer (again) is probably the same as that of people in the general population). MRI showed more “unusual” tissue in lower quadrant of same breast
- Sept. 24 – PET/CT, mammogram, and ultrasound to check up on unusual tissue
What’s to come:
- Oct. 10 – MRI guided needle biopsy of newly found unusual tissue
- Oct. 11 – removal and biopsy of any cancerous or suspicious lymph nodes around right breast and insert port at the same time. (Ports are implanted catheters, small metal devices under the skin that are kind of like semi-permanent IV’s, and are better alternatives to getting an IV every time the patient gets chemo since eats up their veins)
- Hopefully SOMETIME soon we will find out what chemo regimen the MDs recommend. I say MDs plural because I plan on getting several opinions for treatment. This isn’t like choosing between Kotex and Tampex, after all!
How she’s doing:
- Periods of confidence, where she can talk about it to family and strangers without batting an eye.
- Periods of denial, where she’ll say, “I don’t have cancer today,” and won’t let you even say the “c” word.
- Periods of tearfulness/sadness, which are usually sudden and precipitated by seemingly random triggers.
- Periods of motivation, where she’ll follow up with doctors, research her diagnosis and cancer specific financial aid programs.
I think she’s right on track with the normal stages of acceptance. Lately she seems very empowered and driven to become more healthy overall. She started going to the gym again, about five days a week, she makes yummy (and sometimes not-so-yummy) raw veggie smoothies, and has started meditating.
We’re all very anxious to get the results of her lymph node biopsy, which will give the MDs more info on how to proceed with treatment, so we can get on with it!
Friends and family have been more than helpful. She’s received soup, flowers, and gifts, not to mention the unmeasurable love, positive energy, and prayers by countless friends, family, acquaintances, co-workers, and prayer groups from Christian to Buddhist and everything in between.
All that being said, have you felt your boobies lately?
Are you interested in sharing your cancer story? Let’s get started! lumpycards.com/share-your-cancer-story