Maggie's 2022 Medical Challenges...
To share or not to share personal details on my business website?
Between Christmas Day and New Year’s, our family was sick. And what I thought was a man-cold turned out to be Covid. (Sorry, Babe.) The husband was admitted to the hospital for two weeks. It was scary but he made it through. He will likely never have the same lung capacity but he is doing well.
Stop being dumb
I decided to see my primary care about a lump I had been ignoring. She felt nothing but said lets get a mammogram anyway.
Welp they saw it on the mammogram. I had a second appointment to add a tiny titanium clip to the lump area to make the location easier to identify. Had another appointment where they took a biopsy. Came back as grade 2 invasive ductal carcinoma.
More imaging and more cancer
I had an MRI to get a better idea of the size. They said it was bigger than anticipated. A lumpectomy was not going to cut it… Well it would cut it but I wouldn’t be happy with what was left. I had a couple CT scans to get an idea of bone density and if I could handle treatments.
More April 2023
I opted to do a Mastectomy before chemo so I could get an Oncotype test done on the tumor. This type of test tells you the likelihood of chemo being a benefit. I was very scared of chemo because side effects included “may cause cancer.” (What the hell, right?) Since mastectomies remove your nerves and leave you without any feeling or sensation, I decided to keep my left breast and only do a unilateral mastectomy. My doctor was able to visibly see cancer on my first lymph node so she removed 22. Two came back positive with cancer.
Fear of decisions
I told myself that if my Oncotype test came in below 12, I was not going to do chemo. My result came in at 14. Ugh. If cancer ever comes back I have to be able to say to my 3 beautiful boys that I did everything I could. I started chemo a week after my oldest son turned 10.
June - July 2023
Chemo sucks, not a fan
It’s more tolerable than it was 10 years ago. They load you with anti-nausea meds. My hair started to fall out 2 weeks after the first treatment so I shaved it off. By my final treatment I was able to figure out what medicine was helping and what made it worse. I would be a useless lump for 3 days after then slowly start to feel human again.
Testing Before Radiation
Before you get treatment, you have to take a pregnancy test. Mine came back positive. I just don’t think you can imagine the enormity of mixed feelings I had. I was directed to take a blood test and it was positive for HCG hormone but a much smaller level than a woman who was pregnant would have. So thank you chemo for scaring the hell out of me yet again.
September - October 2023
Radiation and Lord Huron
Radiation treatments were 5 days a week for 5 weeks. Radiation was a cakewalk compared to the other treatments. My technicians were lovely ladies and I got to pick my own music. Treatments (zaps) were painless but by the end of it I had what looked like a severe sunburn. I have radiation scarring and a permanent tan. Radiation scarring leaves me stiff. If it’s still there after 6 months, it’s permanent.
November - December 2023
5-10 Years of Meds
I have monthly follow ups with my chemo doctor. The plan is that I continue with hormone blockers. My cancer was estrogen and progesterone positive so we are trying to starve any additional cancer that might grow or still be hanging around.
I have days where I feel sorry for myself BUT I met so many more people who have it much worse. My doctor said, “If you have to get cancer, you have the best kind to get.” I try to have an attitude of gratitude. Sometime in the Spring I will have reconstruction surgery. Wish me luck.
I’m so thankful for my family, friends, and my wonderful clients that were so supportive. It made all the difference. ♥︎