Right. So I haven’t mentioned this, although I’ve known for a week. There were people who needed to know first.
I have breast cancer.
It is a very small group of cells — a milk duct about the size of a small pea (0.7 cm) has been invaded by cancer cells. The technical term is: invasive ductal carninoma. The ‘invasive’ apparently refers only to the fact that the cells invaded the duct, not that they are now going to spread (or have already spread) throughout my body.
A secondary concern, as is the case with all breast cancers, is the potential that the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes in my arm pit. If so, then all the positives go out the window and my case gets pretty scary. Or maybe that last sentence should read: my case gets even scarier. I’m not. Not yet.
I am going to have a lumpectomy, wherein they will remove the infected duct and about .5 cm of material from all around the duct. Before the surgery, my breast will be injected with a slightly irradiated dye. That dye will makes its natural way into the lymph nodes, primarily one: the sentinel lymph node. Before performing the lumpectomy, my surgeon will locate the sentinel node, excise it, and send it down to pathology. There it will be examined for cancer cells. If they don’t find any — all is well and they’ll just sew me up. If they do find cancer cells in the node(s), they’ll take out a lot (all?) of lymph nodes and they whole process gets more complicated, post-surgery.
Post-surgery, I’ll recover for about a month. When I’m all healed up, I’ll start radiation therapy. Apparently that will be 5 days a week for about 4 weeks. I won’t know more about that part until after the surgery, when I meet with an oncologist.
In one sentence my life went sideways. I was absolutely not expecting it. The numbers were in my favor: no history of breast or ovarian cancer in my family; 80% of biopsies come back negative. I am a healthy person with room to improve, but I don’t have environmental or nutritional issues. I was literally shocked at the news.
In the week since I got the news (and again, I apologize) I’ve been talking with family members, loved ones, friends, and people who need to know. Not in any particular order, one of my loved ones was at a retreat for a week and didn’t find out until he was back in civilization. Another was on vacation and although I could have told him, I decided to wait until he was back so that his days of fun wouldn’t be marred.
I’ve re-connected with family members I literally haven’t talked with in years, and already people are sending positive thoughts, prayers, light, and juju at me. All is gratefully received. The BIG energy work is yet to come — I’m at the beginning of a long climb up a big mountain of information, capped off with a surgery that is going to really be difficult to cope with (more on that later, but for now: I sleep on my stomach. Think about it. Yeah.). And then, just when I’m really starting to feel better, I start radiation therapy.
And I’ll be blogging about it all the while.