Hi family and friends,
After a long hiatus, apparently I have a lot more to say. I thought I was done, but I’ve had this nag, nag, nagging that is saying “write, write, write”. So for those of you willing to listen, let part three of the journey begin. So, if you have blissfully forgotten, because it’s been a while, here is a recap of Part I:
Diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer on Nov. 4 2009. Diagnoses was followed by a chemo, lumpectomy, and radiation. Treatment was effective: complete pathologic response. I am forever grateful for the “army” of friends and family that supported us during this difficult journey.
Part II started with a call from a nurse following a routine follow-up mammogram in December 2011. Part II then involved a bilateral mastectomy in Jan 2012 and reconstructive surgery. Because the second cancer was estrogen and progesterone sensitive, I started Tamoxifen in March 2012 following recovery from surgery. Part II continued as dreamy, lethargic blur. Tamoxifen sapped my energy, my strength, my memory, and about the only thing it motivated me to do was sleep. Prior to a work trip to Hawaii in March 2013, I discontinued Tamoxifen and have remained off of it since, still struggling to find balance, energy, and “myself”. Fast forward to Halloween 2013, the first for me in recent years that wasn’t dominated by thoughts of cancer, recurrence, fear, or loss. Instead I was full of joy and pep. I remember thinking sometime during that week, that is should be illegal to feel this good. It had been so long, I truly had forgotten what it felt like. Thank goodness I made a mental note of those now forgone feelings.
Onward to Part III of this journey, which is for my sister, my daughter, friends and family at risk for this disease. Since my diagnosis (or actually prior to it), my Mom and sister have been enrolled in a high risk breast cancer program. In addition to yearly mammograms, they get yearly or biannual MRIs. MRIs don’t involve any radiation, but are more sensitive at picking up small cancers, particularly in young women with dense breast tissue. On November 9, 2013 (4 years + 4 days after my original diagnosis), my dear sister learned she also had developed a triple negative breast cancer. My disbelief at her diagnosis has been replaced by an overwhelming sadness that just doesn’t seem to end. So, I want to continue this effort, so that I can help my sister heal the way I healed, and so that we can both again celebrate Halloween with our families free of the black cloud that cancer brings.
More soon, in the meantime, please lift Gwen and her family up in your prayers. She has surgery on Tuesday.