My Cancer Journey - Round Two
Well, after 9 years cancer-free, I was diagnosed with breast cancer again in July.
For round two, this will be the only post about it. The C-word has been in my family my entire life. It's not something I have feared because of the way my mom tackled cancer. My positive, go-get-em attitude came from her, as did her belief that there are silver linings in everything (check out the silver linings I talk about from my last cancer post).
I have always been a problem solver, and getting cancer, like before, was just a problem to be solved.
The good news is that I have an amazing medical oncologist and she caught it very early, DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ), stage 0. It's the earliest you can detect it. I didn't feel anything, but Dr. Rao is very proactive and I regularly had mammos, MRIs, ultrasounds, bloodwork, etc. An ultrasound found something irregular and a biopsy confirmed that it was cancer.
Five weeks to the day after diagnosis (on August 20th), I had a mastectomy, and reconstruction began. What amazed me was that I checked in at 6:30am, had surgery at 10:00am that lasted 2 hours, and I was discharged at 3:00pm. After stopping for meds, we arrived home at 5:00pm, I ate a grilled cheese sandwich (I was starving at that point!) then we went for a walk at 7:00pm. Crazy, right!?!
My recovery overall has been very fast. I had just 1 drain tube and it was removed 6 days after surgery (I had 4 tubes with the previous cancer!). I walk 1-2 times per day. I feel great...and I am incredibly grateful!
I couldn't do the tram flap reconstruction like before. This time we're doing a tissue expander reconstruction. After the mastectomy, the plastic surgeon inserted an expander (kind of like a balloon). As soon as my breast heals from the mastectomy, I will go into his office once a week for 2-3 weeks and he will inject saline into the expander. They do it a little at a time to allow the skin and tissue time to stretch. As soon as the right breast is the same size as the left, there will be no more injections and my body will have a rest for about 45 days at which time I'll go in for 1 final surgery to insert the permanent implant. Easy as can be.
* no chemo, radiation or pills - the surgeon confirmed last week that the cancer was contained in my breast and the lymph node he removed showed no cancerous cells...woo hoo! That's a big one!!
* fast and easy recovery - I can start running and doing all my regular activities (instead of only walking). Last round, I had to wait 8 weeks before I could increase my level of activity, this time only 2 weeks.
* little to no pain 2 days after surgery
Life is good! Cherish each moment, take nothing for granted, be thankful every day.
This picture was taken yesterday (9/4/21) as my husband and I celebrated 28 amazing years of marriage.
I am truly blessed, in every way.