My Breast Cancer Journey

One night in early July 2011 as I was lying in my bed reading I felt a lump in my right breast. Approximately two weeks later at the urging of dear friend, I was examined by my Nurse Practitioner, Laurie who referred me to Anne Arundel Medical's Breast Center.  On Tuesday, July 26th, I had a mammogram and sonogram in which they found 2 nodules and a lymph node that was "borderline abnormal". I underwent a Biopsy procedure that Thursday morning and met with Dr. Lorraine Tafra, Breast Surgeon on Friday, July 29th, 2011 to hear the results and discuss an initial treatment plan. The results showed that I had Infiltrating (or Invasive) Ductal Carcinoma in my right breast.  

Through a series of additional diagnostic procedures including an MRI, another ultrasound and an additional biopsy of one of my axillary lymph nodes, it was determined that I would undergo a double mastectomy with placement of expanders and a sentinel lymph node biopsy on August 25th, 2011. Based on the pathology report from the surgery I was told that I had Stage IA breast cancer, the surgery had successfully removed the cancerous tumors and the cancer had not spread to any of my lymph nodes.  This bit of good news meant that I would not need to have radiation treatment, but chemotherapy would most likely be indicated based on my age and the aggressive nature of my cancer. Although there was some debate concerning the exact chemotherapy regimen, I underwent the most aggressive chemotherapy regimen available consisting of 6 sessions over 18 weeks of TAC (Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Cytoxan). While I received chemotherapy, I was also having weekly or biweekly injections of saline into the expanders in order to prepare me for the second phase of reconstruction in which silicone implants would take the place of the expanders.  This second surgery was performed on February 29th, 2012. On May 16th 2012, I underwent the third and final surgery consisting of a nipple/areolar reconstruction using tissue grafts taken from my lower abdomen. Because the pathology reports revealed that my breast cancer feeds off of estrogen and progesterone, I started taking the drug Tamoxifen on March 10th and will continue taking it for the next five years.  

I found it extremely therapeutic to journal throughout the process on a website called CaringBridge.  Through my experience of journaling on CaringBridge, I decided to enter the blogging world and establish “Pinked Perspective”.  I have archived most of my journal entries from the ten months of walking my breast cancer journey here on my blog.  In December 2011,  two videos creatively outlining my journey were used to illustrate a sermon on Broken Bodies at our home church.  Click on Introduction Video and Interview Video to watch the videos {photos and videos courtesy of Josh Shirlen and Bay Area Community Church}.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, would you mind emailing me when you get a chance?