I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma on Oct 20, 2015. In my left breast lives an aggressive tumor that has spread to a lymph node. I noticed it when weaning the twins. They started rejecting the left side during feedings and I began to produce less and less on that side, so I decided to stop using it altogether, despite continuing to nurse them on the right side.
I've read that your milk can take on a funny bitter taste when cancer is present, so my girls really helped to accellerate the process of finding this bugger.
I noticed after weaning the left side that my breast never returned to normal. Typically the breast will harden and then the milk dries up and it relaxes again. This just never happened.
I went to my gynecologist who ordered a mamogram, ultrasound and biopsy immediately. In a matter of days, I was diagnosed with cancer, had a PET/CT scan and breast MRI, met surgeons, oncologists, had genetic testing, and more. I've never had so many doctor's appointments in my life.
Many of you know that my sister died of brain cancer in 2006. She lived 3 years with the disease. To say that my diagnosis was scary at first is an understatement. Knowing what she went through, what my family (especially my mother) went through, and fearing the worst was certainly consuming me. Now, only a week later, I have more clarity. Here's what I know and what I'm focusing on (and you should too):
1. I have the most common breast cancer there is.
2. My tumor is estrogen-receptor positive, meaning without estrogen it will likely not survive. So we will rid my body of that hormone.
3. My tumor is HER2+, meaning it is wildly aggressive. But this also means I can have targeted treatment and can go on a clinical trial involving hormone therapy at the same time I start chemo.
4. My tumor isn't fixed. It is entirely movable, which means when my surgeon removes it, she will GET THE WHOLE THING. Same goes for my lymph node.
5. I will eventually have new boobs. And new hair.
As you can imagine, all of this treatment and surgery is very costly. I met my deductible in the first three days of being diagnosed, and am working on the out-of-pocket maximum amount. I will reach that by the end of the year, and then after Jan 1, my insurance cycles through again. So I will have a new deductible to meet and new out-of-pocket cost to bear. I estimate that when all is said and done, I will owe upwards of $12,000.
I am not one to ask for money, or even ask for help for that matter. But I reach out to you in this time of great need to help me and my family recover--emotionally, physically and financially.
I am forever grateful for your genersity and the outpouring of love and support many of you have already extended.
Ultimately, I will see my children grow up (Dillon is 4, Emma and Ryley are 1), I will live to be an old lady with John by my side, and I will hold you all a bit closer than ever before. Most of all, I will kick this cancer's ass.
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