The Beginning of a Long Journey

So, it all began the end of February.  I went in for my annual OB/GYN appointment and my doctor found a lump in my right breast.  With no history of breast cancer in my family, he didn’t think it was anything but referred me to a breast care specialist to be sure.  A couple of weeks later, on March 15th, I went in for a mammogram, an ultrasound, and met with the doctor immediately following.  The doctor showed us the ultrasound and looked right at me and told me it was cancer.  What?  I went into that appointment thinking it was going to be nothing, so those were not the words I was expecting to here.  While I was there, the doctor did a biopsy of the tumor and I had an MRI later that afternoon.  It was a long day and a day I won’t forget.  Side note:  the MRI is awful.  It is worse than what you see on TV.   They put you in this tube, it’s loud, and you can’t move – at all.  The technician told me not to sneeze or we would have to start all over.  Perfect for the girl that has bad allergies…and it’s pollen season!  Anyway, I got through it and the results of the biopsy and MRI told us that I have infiltrating ductal carcinoma.  It’s the most common type of breast cancer and the most treatable.  We know that the tumor is fairly large.  It’s the size of a strawberry (or a little bigger) and we know it is fast growing.  Oh boy.  The MRI showed that my left breast is completely clean.  It did show that one lymph node on my right side is “irregular.”  That could mean that the cancer cells have moved into the lymph node or it could mean they did not get a clear MRI reading.  Don’t know exactly, but will soon enough.

A week later, on March 23rd, we met with the oncologist.  She talked us through more specifics of the biopsy or pathology reports and we talked about treatment options.  The oncologist still needs some additional data to get specific but we walked away with a fairly high level plan.  On Tuesday, March 29th, I go for additional tests:  a bone scan, a CT scan, and an echo cardiogram.  The bone scan and CT scan will tell us if the cancer has spread to other parts of my body.  Please pray it hasn’t!  The echo cardiogram will ensure my heart is in good shape to withstand treatment.  So, treatment.  Well, I will have to undergo chemotherapy.  And that will happen first and fairly quickly.  Followed by surgery – most likely a mastectomy.  And then reconstruction i.e. new boob(s).  From what I understand, the typical treatment plan for breast cancer is to do surgery first to remove the lump, then chemo, and then reconstruction.  But over the past, call it 10 years or so, they have in many cases flip flopped the treatment.  Data shows equally are effective.  If I do chemo first, they will be able to watch the lump decrease in size and thus will know the chemo they have selected is working and killing any other cancer cells that may be in my body.  It is sounding like I will have chemo every 2 -3 weeks, for 6 – 8 treatments.  I will lose my hair approximately a few weeks after my first treatment.  Lovely!  Then once chemo is over, I will have surgery to remove the right breast.  But, at this point I am thinking about having a double mastectomy just so I don’t have to go through this again!  And at the time of surgery we will do reconstruction.  So I will get a new set of boobs.  And I will be lobbying for a tummy tuck while I am in there!  We will see how that goes!

We meet with the oncologist on Friday, April 1st to discuss the test results and a specific treatment plan for me.  Right now I am scheduled to have a port placement on Monday, April 4th in my chest (yuck) so that they can administer chemo and do all the blood work from there.  While it sounds absolutely awful, I am told by many that I will appreciate having it there vs. having to go through my arm every time.  And if all goes as planned, I bet I will be starting chemo later that week – the week of April 4th.  But we don’t know for sure yet…

How are we doing?  Ed and I have been operating primarily from a place of denial.  We have good moments and bad ones.  I physically feel fine but the past couple of weeks have just been mentally draining.  We feel so lucky to have such a great support system.  Our family, friends, and neighbors are awesome.  We are going to need all the love, support, and help we can get throughout this process.  We haven’t told Gracie yet, but will soon.  And are doing the best we can to spread the word.  It’s difficult though to repeat it over and over again.  For those of you we have not talked to personally, we hope you understand.

Why is this happening to me?  That’s a question I ask often.  I don’t know.  But those of you that know me, know that I believe things happen for a reason.  Is there a mission in this for me?  Don’t know but I bet I will figure it out through this process.  We are ready to fight this and win.  We have to.  There is no other choice.

My “IT Department” has created this web site to allow us to keep everyone posted and in the loop throughout this process.  We hope you will find it helpful.

 

 

Comments

  1. Mark Hope says:

    I have been thinking of you three so much in the past couple of days since learning your news. It goes without saying that we are all wishing you every kind thought and prayer as you begin your treatment. Love and cheers!, Mark

    • gini & patrick cobb says:

      Meredith,Ed, and Gracie,
      keeping you close in our hearts today as you went through various tests. know you both must be exhausted!
      rest well .
      best love,
      gini& Patrick

  2. Silvia Burgoon says:

    M – Can’t stop thinking about you guys…stay strong! Remember, just a bump in the road. Sending positive vibes and lots of love and hugs!! Silvia

  3. Melissa, Sean and Lydia... says:

    Meredith, Meredith, Meredith…….. First let me say this website is fabulous… big big props to your IT department.
    Jana called last week and told us about your scary news. I wanted to call you right away but knew you had your share of people to talk to and update so I decided to wait. She called today and said this blog was up so……..
    Hello… please know we are all thinking about you and of course wish for a fast and speedy fix to this pile of @%*&% that has been pushed your way. You WILL beat this beast…. It just may talke more patience than at times you think you may have. But you are young and strong and ready for a fight i am sure.
    I can’t really imagine what you are going through, but I did spend the better part of 3 years in and out of hospitals and Dr. offices with my parents. It was draining and amazing all at the same time. Amazing because I met some really wonderful people who devote their lives to helping people… True angels an earth. If you have not already met some, I am sure you will.
    Please let us know what we can do to help. In addition to sending constant positive vibes your way, we can of course help with Gracie, your Mom, Dad etc. Please let us know. And of course, when things settle a bit we would love to come for a visit. Lydia has been asking about her “lIttle cousin” Gracie so she of course would love to visit too. Stay positive, strong and fabulous!!! You are in our constant thoughts and prayers!

    Love,
    Melissa ( Sean and Lydia)

    PS: HUGS to Ed and Gracie

  4. Wendy Lamb says:

    I am so sorry to hear that you are going through this. I just learned last night that my brother’s wife was just diagnosed, too. She has a 4 cm lump in her left breast. She is 48 and has 4 children (youngest 12) and hasn’t told them yet either. It has been a rough week all around. My prayers are with you and your family, especially as I will be walking this journey with my sister-in-law, as well. Your IT department ROCKS! And, I love your positive energy… I will share your website with my sister-in-law. God bless you! I expect you on your feet by the fall and rooting for the GT football team (with your white & gold outfit on–note from the GT fan fashion police!)

  5. Jana & Rick says:

    Meredith,
    you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. Stay positive and don’t get into any “dark” places.
    Rick is 3 years in his treatment of prostate cancer and doing well. If and when you feel like talking, give us a call or let your Mom tell us it OK to call. Thanks to Ed for the web and blog….please stay in touch.
    Stay strong….we love you.

    Jana & Rick

  6. The Gotts says:

    Much love and prayer from the Gotts. We are here anytime and in anyway you need us.

  7. Erik Campbell says:

    Hi Meredith, stay strong & positive. Just remember, when one door closes, another one will open. My thoughts and prayers, are with you. Love, Erik

  8. Sheryl Sculley says:

    Meredith,
    We are thinking about you, Ed, and Gracie and sending all positive thoughts and prayers your way. I just talked with your mom and she spoke of your strong and upbeat attitude. Keep it up! Our Susan B Komen race for the Cure is next week in San Antonio. I’ll be running for you! Love, Sheryl, Mike, Courtney, and Collin

  9. Meredith,

    You WILL get through this. Also, … you are NOT alone. We’ll get through this together and we’ll share experiences. Not that I want anyone to have to go through this to share stories, but … here we are and I hope I can help with answers to questions that most people won’t know.

    I am thinking of you, Ed, and Gracie during this difficult journey. Let me know what I can do.

    Much love and support,
    Fran
    770-826-6091

  10. Danielle Chacko says:

    Meredith,
    I just learned of your news and send you all my love and prayers. The women in my family are very, very very, familiar with breast cancer with six diagnoses and all have beaten the crap out of it and you will too! With the love, support and laughter of your family and friends you will be flaunting those new tatas like a supermodel in no time. Your journey will be tough for a wile but you are much tougher. Hats, scarves, wigs, or just a beautiful bald head will be temporary and only a blip over the course of your lifetime. Your positive attitude and how you are facing and tackling the unknown is so admirable.

    You have plenty of prayers coming your way! All my love- Danielle

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