Well, I updated most of you yesterday that Jim and I finally got in contact with people who are proactive about cancer unlike Vegas. We haven an appointment with the UNC Oncology clinic next week to meet with several physicians including: Oncologist, Breast Surgeon, Radiation Specialist, Fertility preservationist, and Geneticist. It will be an all day event for both Jim and myself. Probably the most difficult for me to process out of all of these is the fertility preservationist. I will tell you why here in a second. I wanted to tell all those who donated and helped out THANK YOU SO MUCH! You have no idea how incredibly expensive it is to fly out, get the hotel, rent a car, and have someone watch your dogs all within a week notice. It is crazy expensive and you guys really made this happen for me and I have no idea how to thank you but through my blog and personal notes to you guys. We are trying to do this on the cheap as well, but even so it is truly a financial burden to do all this. It REALLY makes you question the healthcare system in America - I mean really makes you question it and how it can be fixed so people that are not as fortunate can still get decent care. The healthcare in Vegas is awful - you don't meet with a "team" of doctors - it is just scattered all over the place with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. At UNC everyone is in the same wing and they all meet together a few days before your appointment. You will see the same 5-6 physicians for the duration of your treatment. Another excellent treatment center that actually reached out to us was in Texas, which from what I understand is number one in the nation in cancer care. I was also stunned that the Phoenix clinic never called us back or e-mailed us - so it has been interesting to see how this entire system works.
Now, onto why the fertility preservationist is the most worrisome. There is a strong possibility that my treatment may require hormone treatment or total removal of my ovaries. I waited quite some time and never had children. I was more focused on my career than anything, which included my education. I had planned on trying to have kids AFTER my MLS program was completed and I had traveled with World Health Org., Rubicon, or Doctors without borders - which would have put me at roughly 35 or so when I tried having kids. I thought I had plenty of time, but the realization for me that I may not carry my own child is extremely difficult. I mean - it all most feels as though the option has been stolen from me. This is a difficult pill to swallow for myself and I can only imagine how Jim feels. Also - the simple fact is, if I died, I left nothing behind - I didn't leave a single part of me in this world and that is VERY VERY difficult for me to face. My hope is that if I lose everything - my ovaries, uterus - I will be able to use a surrogate to carry Jim and I's child. The other side of this is that if I lose both of my breasts, I will never be able to breast feed my own child - I will never be able to bond with my child in that manner, and that too is very disheartening. I guess I should say I don't regret waiting, as I wanted to be ready to have a child, but I am also sadden by the fact that I may never have that opportunity.
Things are changing very rapidly in my life. The pain has started, and it isn't pleasant. Since my cancer is located is a strange spot - literally on the border of the pectoralis muscles and breast tissue in the 11:00 position - the pain all most feels like it shoots through my heart into my back. Also my underarm hurts pretty consistently as well as my left shoulder. My temperature is crazy, I get hot and then cold without warning all most like menopause. Yes, I do know what menopause feels like ladies and gentlemen - I was on lupron for endometriosis and I was only supposed to be menopausal for 6 months - BUT I was menopausal for 18 MONTHS!!! It was the worst time I have ever had with my lady parts. I was dry as the Sahara desert and super uncomfortable all the freaking time. I personally don't recommend it.
Please continue to keep us in your thoughts. We are doing okay, and my sister Ashley has been a huge supporter and I love her dearly for being the secure rock that I need. She will talk to me at 2:00 AM if I need her (and she has), and I am forever grateful to her for that. Jim has taken time off work to be by my side, so my small family is here for me whenever I need it and I love them dearly. Our families have been supportive and there for us when we need it most, and I am forever grateful to them.
All of YOU have been nothing but encouraging and loving, and I am so very thankful for each and every one of you who has read my blog and followed my journey. Many have reached out in ways that I couldn't reach myself. All of you went way beyond what I expected and you have no idea how much that means to me. i will NEVER forget that sort of support and my only hope is that if any of you needed the same support I'd be there for you as well.
I love you...and you are loved.