Well, I received my MRI results and I have to say it was NOT what I wanted to see. I guess I can say in short that my cancer is growing rapidly, and my lymph nodes may have been affected. I guess the bottom line is, the cancer looks like is has spread to my lymph nodes. At the rate of replication of my cancer, by the time I get to North Carolina I will more than likely be at stage 2 cancer. I am still at stage 1, but it doesn't look like it will stay that way for much longer. I am still waiting for my genetic panel to come back to see if I have the BRCA 1 or 2 genes.
I met with my PCM and pain management specialist yesterday. He is an excellent PA who went to Emory and I have a lot of respect for this man. His suggestion was for me to leave for North Carolina immediately. So - instead of coming in July, it looks like we are pushing that date up to the first few weeks of June. We are going to wait to get my genetic panel back from Dr. Tarhar, and then we will be leaving this place for better options. I have to give a shout out here to Kristen Scott for going out of her way to research oncologists and breast surgeons at UNC that are currently taking patients! We are calling today to try to make our appointment for next month. SO far, I have most of my films on hand and I am just waiting on one set - the mammography ones. That imaging center was probably the rudest and most disorganized. The woman who did my mammo was so incredibly rude to me - like I was wasting her time because I was too young to have cancer. Well lady, cancer doesn't seem to discriminate based off age.
I also wanted to stress something in this post. I can't tell you how important it is to have an ACCURATE family medical history. I never really imagined myself getting cancer - I was thinking more autoimmune because my father has an autoimmune disease (although controlled now). Your family history is really important when it comes to cancer screening. I do not follow the epidemiological profile for someone to have aggressive breast cancer - so the only answer is that genetics played a large role in me actually getting cancer at age 31. I don't smoke, I don't drink, I workout consistently (even when sick), and I try to eat the best I can even though I do cheat sometimes (okay a lot of times). So my family history is really important for me. I am about to air a bit of my own familial dirty laundry (sorta) but I have no idea what my paternal grandfather carries genetically. I never met the man, and I have no idea what his family history entails. So paternal grandfather is a big old blank for me. When there are holes and gaps in the familial line based on what you know, it can add difficulty in finding which genetic side may have contributed or if this is just a freak diagnosis that just happened. I tend to believe in the science and not chance - I do believe that genetics played the largest role and the way I am thinking at this point is that I will test positive for BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 or both.
I wanted to say to all of you THANK YOU for the outpouring of love and support. Many of you have reached out to me via e-mail, phone calls, DMs, facebook, ect, and have offered all kinds of help for me and my family. I never imagined so many people would help us the way that all of you have. Many of you donated your hard earned money to us so we could make our way to NC without too much financial hardship, and also to help pay for an medical residuals we may incur during this process. Those of you I know personally who donated I tried to send you a thank you card just to express how grateful I am. Each and every donation I tried to write something back to let you know that I see you and appreciate you. Many of you have offered help in the realm of services and I am so thankful that we will be able to navigate our way through the UNC system (even though we have been there before). Many of you offered to come out and be by my side when I go through chemo, radiation, or both. You have no idea what that means to me. A lot of you are more like my family than just my friends.
I plan on crafting some items (because I LOVE to craft when I am stressed out) and sell them on this site, which will be another way that you can help donate. I love to sew so I will be making some hand sewn items including apothecary. If you want to donate that way, and get a little something handmade by me out of it, that is awesome too! I do have an ETSY shop, but I sell mostly massage holsters for other massage therapists in fun prints, because lets face it, the black ones just get boring. Plus mine are machine washable.
I am working on trying to get my CEU accreditation through the national board of massage therapists. I have taught CEUs before, but I have to develop a syllabus and other materials in order to offer 12 CEUs to those that need them. One thing I will say that is important in regard to a cancer fight is keep your mind as BUSY as possible. When you stew on a situation by not keeping busy compounds your situation and makes it worse. I hate this saying but you know the saying: "idle hands are the devils workshop" UGH (I hate that) - in this case there is some truth to that statement. I need to keep my mind as sharp as possible, and I hope to offer two platforms for my CEU course - online and in person. Developing this class keeps my mind busy, crafting keeps my hands busy. You don't want too much time in the day to think about your own prognosis.
This situation has been a huge stressor for me and my family. The key is trying not to let this tear you and your family apart, which in my case so far it hasn't gotten too crazy yet. I always wait for the other shoe to drop - and in the past week ALL my shoes fell off the roof. Luckily I still workout and do my best to stay positive - and even though people make me beyond angry sometimes, something I have realized is that life is too short to dwell on the things that piss you off to no end. Holding grudges and all that crap is just toxic - so - I just let it go (or at least I try to). Sometimes there are people you want to bitch slap, but we know that isn't helpful, although WE ALL KNOW it makes us feel better. :o)
Yesterday was a rough day all around, but today is a new day that I am alive and kicking. That is really all I can ask for right now. My hands are still working, and the medication my PCM Rx. me I am FINALLY ABLE TO EAT something other than oatmeal! Hurray for small victories. The little things sometimes mean the most.
I hope all of you have a safe and happy Memorial Day (I haven't forgotten). Remember those who we have lost WAY too soon in life and those who still serve today. Those of you doing the memorial Workout MURPH, please stay safe and hydrated. Make sure you distribute the weight of your body armor evenly around the body so your foot strikes the ground with even force. Yes, I studied body armor and its effect on the body when I took biomechanics in college. I got on A on that research paper. Push yourself, work hard, eat hearty, and share memories.
Remember...I love you and I am thankful for you.