This is my blog.
It’s ramblings and a story of sorts about a girl who was nursing her son and had a plugged duct that wouldn’t go away in the Fall of 2007. And like all good stories with a heroine and a villain, I was turned away for several months before my OB receptionist let me in to see a doctor. I had never heard of Inflammatory Breast Cancer, but there I was, full of it. I had Inflammatory in my right breast and a big’ol honk’in thing called adenocarcinoma that measured 10 cm in my left breast that was completely undetectable until they looked at it through the MRI. I’m not sure how it is that a 10 cm softball fit in my B size breast but….well….it did. And so all 13 cm of my cancer got a really whopping amount of chemotherapy, also referred to affectionately as the chemo cocktail. It was not nearly as fun and pretty as the usual cocktail.
I then went through a double mastectomy and radiation. I sailed through like a champ. My crazy tumors were completely gone after chemo and this was confirmed to us after the mastectomies in the pathology report. This decreased my chance of recurrence significantly. I hated radiation but thankfully I just got a nice sunburn and never any blistering. I was declared NED (no evidence of disease) in October of 2008.
I continued to take my miracle medicine called Herceptin for another year since I was Her2 positive.
What they take off in a few hours then takes a few years to put back on, especially if you don’t want anything fake. I didn’t want implants so I traveled to Northwestern in Chicago to have a DIEP flap, which is basically moving your tummy fat north to make breasts. But I didn’t stop there. I decided to take full advantage of my opportunities and I asked my nice plastic surgeon to move fat from my hips to my breasts, and he said “sure.” Lucky ducky me.
So here I am in 2013 and I’m saying goodbye to the clergygirl blog about my breast cancer journey. If you have stumbled upon my blog because you have been diagnosed with breast cancer recently, I want you to know that I am a survivor. I thought life would never be the same….and guess what….it won’t. It took me a very long time to heal physically and emotionally from cancer, but here I am 5 years later and I’m feeling stronger than I have….um….maybe since I was young, naïve and 22.
Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to get your groove back. It took me the better part of 5 years. But I am here to give you hope that a woman who is stage 4 cancer (or stage 3 depending on which doctor you talk to), can live, can heal, and can live fully again. The pain, the memories, the scars and the fears do begin to fade, but they will always be a part of you, but cherish them because they make you a beautiful person with real empathy and compassion. My favorite band is called “Over the Rhine,” and they sing a song with the words “all my favorite people are broken.” You may feel broken but your journey makes you real and approachable and wise.
I’d be amiss not to say that a huge part of my journey has been my faith. Doing the day-to-day battle of treatment would have been unbearable had it not been for the hope of something more. I hope you have that same presence in your life.
The way you can read my blog is from the beginning in March 2008, or if you have a certain topic, use the search bar and you should find something if it pertains to breast cancer treatment.
Hugs to you who have to walk this journey,