This is a small collection of some of the tests I have endured. Oh how I hate the word “SCAN” now!!
This would be the first of I don’t know 5-6 maybe seven surgery’s I would endure as a result of my cancer battle. It would be scary and painful. I was not fully sedated when they pulled that guide wire from my chest as they placed this contraption in what felt like my heart, so they could give me drugs that would save my life. It was surreal, I was lying on the operating table unable to move, tears of pain streaming from my eyes onto the pillow when it happened. The nurse leaned over and asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t breath, the pain was excruciating and I felt so alone.
I cant help but remember a funny moment that day, prior to surgery… My mom in her infinate sweetnes trying to comfort me and telling me Kimberly, do not worry, it is all up-hill from here. Now if you know my motherr, english is not her first language and when she gets nervous she starts inverting verbs and nouns like in her native tongue of spanish ( even though we always joke that she was adopted and looks more Filipino than Puerto Rican) Back to the story, I tried to correct her and told her , ” no mom, you mean it’s all down hill from here” She bickered with me for a moment . I kept saying to her I hope it’s not up-hill and she insisted… Kimberly, it’s all up hill from here do not worry. When she finally realized what she was saying, we doubled over in gassps of laughter. We needed to laugh in that tense moment because I fear we may have been in tears if not!! It was a happy moment that still makes me laugh!! Thanks Mom!!xo
Thursday, May 12, 2011
HOW OLD ARE YOU AGAIN???
Not the words you want to hear when your breast surgeon is excising samples of breast tissue. I sensed his concern and I also knew that something deep in my gut was telling me this was different. He was concerned that the mass did not show up on the mammogram but he could see it with the ultrasound. Dr. Fine explained that was a challenge for women under 40 with healthy dense breast tissue to receive a proper diagnosis. That is why all you ladies and fellas with ladies who are under 40 and have concerns or family history make sure you demand a ultrasound vs a mammogram. You will be happy you did. So, Dr. Fine excised 5-6 pieces of breast tissue using a “ultrasound guided punch biopsy”. It kinded reminded me of the longer version of the tool they use to piece your ears. 3 small sutures later and I was driving home I couldn’t wait until next Tues. to find out the verdict. Fingers and toes crossed!!!
… Go to Jamaica of course!
The sand, the salty air, a good friend, some sunshine and lots of frosty libations to make me forget the destiny of what waited for me back home. This trip could not have come at a better time. Just a few short days after my diagnosis I was headed out of the country far far away.
It was as bright, sunny and warm morning heading south on interstate 85 on my way to see a customer in Union City, having just left one of my physician offices when my phone rang, for some unknown reason I glanced at the time 10:12. Oops I am running late for my 10:30 appointment. It was Dr. Fine’s nurse practioner Julie Pryor. For the life of me, I cannot tell you her exact words because I stopped listening after she said, “yes, the mass is malignant”. I said, I am sorry your going to have to slow down talking because I think I just heard you tell me I have CANCER… that’s when I am sure I heard it… yep it was the sound of the earth cracking! I remember vaguely asking her, “what do you want me to do with that information?” and then I dont remember much after that but some how I ended up in an empty parking lot wondering what just happened! His nurse practioner would not give me any details, only said that the mass was malignant and that I had to come in right away.
How did this happen…? I am a healthy 37 year old hispanic woman in the prime of my life with no family history of gynecological cancers. My only real assesment of how I got cancer… was it “spontaneous” or was it years of living in an emotionally unhealthy and stressful situation!
I spent that night all alone, in complete darkness both physically and mentally. I had only shared the news with my parents brother and my manager Melodie. It was an out of body experience, like the slow motion that occurs right before a car accident. It didnt feel real to me, like it was happening to someone else and all I realize it was my diagnosis and all that kept replaying in my head was that I was going to die and cancer would kill me.
DIAGNOSIS: Triple Positive Breast Cancer: Prog+, Estog+ and Her-2+ , Invasive Ductual Carcinoma with a 3cm tumor growing in my breast. BRACA-1 and BRACA 2 Negative.
Not all breast cancers are the same. HER2+ breast cancer cells have more HER2 receptors (a particular protein found on the surface of cells) than normal breast cells.
- Having too many HER2 receptors may make the cancer cells grow and divide faster, creating more HER2+ cancer cells
- HER2+ breast cancer is considered aggressive because it grows and spreads quickly
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Wait for it…
Wedneseday.. no news is good news??? That is what my mom said that morning. Of course I am not a wait and see type of girl so I called the office and Dr. Fine was in surgery and the girls at the office said he would call be back. Hmmm, I felt pretty good. Surely, if it would have been malignant he would have stopped everything to talk to me right? No problem… he can call me back when has a moment.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Today I should be getting my results. I am a little rattled especially since I have to go and push some pills help the sick and afflicted today with my manager, Melodie. Ride days with a manager are always a little tense, just because I want to do a great job but today was going to be EXTRA hard. Good news, she is a amazingly sympathetic and supportive. She too was waiting on pins and needles with me. Every phone call we held our breaths.. Work day complete.. no word from Dr. Fines office.