Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How it all began...

Well, I finally decided to simplify my next few months in this journey by creating a blog. This way those who were interested could log on and share in this journey whenever they feel like it and I don't have to remember who I sent emails to or not!

Mi-July: I find a lump in my left breast and consult to see if it's anything to worry about. The doctor doesn't think so, but schedules me for an ultrasound just to check it out.

Late July: Go to the hospital for the ultrasound. Because the doctor is unsure when viewing it, he asks if I am free to have a mammogram and biopsy done that day - he would squeeze me in between 2 patients. 5 hours late we leave the hospital, tired but thankful for a quick intervention.

Aug.13th : While Daniel, Rachel and I are on vacation in a cottage up North, I get a phone call on my cell phone from my doctor who wants to see me. I tell her I would prefer to have the results by phone because we were 3 hrs driving distance from home. So, reluctantly she informs me that cancer was found in the lump and that I should meet with the surgeon the next day to schedule the operation to remove the lump, which she estimated around 1cm. We decide to pack up and come home, go to the appointment the next day and then proceed to inform our girls and the rest of the family of my latest health challenge.

Sept. 16th: I go to the nearby hospital to have the lumpectomy as well as the sentinal lymph nodes removed to test for the presence of cancer. It was a day surgery, So I was able to come home that evening. The recuperation went well, although I was not a very patient patient, not being used to lying around and doing nothing.

Oct. 15th: We return to see the surgeon for the results of the sentinel lymph node biopsy, expecting her to say that there was no cancer and that we would proceed with only radiation treatments. However, this was not the case. There was cancer found in 2 of the 5 lymph nodes removed. So the recommendation was - a second surgery to remove the other lymph nodes under the arm (in case there was more cancer there), followed by chemotherapy and afterwards radiation. We were in shock! Totally unexpected to say the least. The lump was 1.8cm and there were other secondary tumours found around the main tumour.

Since the beginning of the diagnosis we decided that we would get informed about the various treatments available to treat cancer, in addition to the more traditional route of chemo and radiation. So in August we began to do research on internet, read books, talk with different people to see what our options were. After a lot of soul-searching and prayer and finally being referred to a doctor of naturopathy and biochemistry in Montréal who has worked with over 800 cancer patients over the past 20 years, we decided to go with his recommendation to have the surgery and go through with chemo. He felt this was necessary because of the fact that it had metastasized into the lymph nodes. At the same time he is giving me supplements that will help my body better accept the chemo and increase the functions of my immune system.

Nov.13th: Second operation to remove the lymph nodes, done at the same hospital, but this time an overnight stay. This operation was more difficult - more pain and reaction to the anesthetic, plus having to keep in a draining tube for 5 days which made sleeping and other activities more challenging.

End Nov: More appointments with the oncologist and pharmacist to discuss the upcoming chemotherapy treatments.

Dec. 8th: First chemo treatment, accompanied by Daniel. I was the only lady in the room. It was me and "the boys". It went well, not too many adverse reactions, a little nausea and headaches, but overall positive. Now we wait to see what side effects, if any that I will have. They could range from nausea, ulcers in the mouth, intestinal problems and loss of hair. I will also have injections for 7 days after each treatment in order to increase the white blood cell count, which usually is reduced because of the chemo. I could go and get them each day at the CLSC (public health system) nearby or do the injections myself. My husband has so generously volunteered to play nurse & give me the injections. So tomorrow (Dec.10th) we will go for his lesson on injections. These injections tend to cause a lot of pain in ones' bones. Next treatment will be on Dec. 30th and then every 3 weeks up to 6 treatments in all.

That's the chronology of my journey with cancer up to this point, just to help everyone to be up to date. Next post I will talk more about my inner journey during this adventure.
                                              With my beautiful family this summer!

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