February 26, 2019: Cancer. Um, excuse me, come again?? Cancer. There must be some mix-up in the pathology lab. It’s cancer. No…I’m a planner, and this was not part of my plan. Yes, it’s cancer. Someone is about to get fired, because you’ve got this so wrong! No, it’s cancer. Fine!
In my head I’m yelling at the lady on the phone, “No! I’m planning to move to London and expand my career and live in a terraced house and take the tube to work and walk my daughter to her school and have fish and chips on the weekend with my husband and learn how to speak with a British accent. My daughter is in braces and about to hit puberty and start talking about boys and start enjoying shopping. My husband is about to buy me the Jeep I’ve been wanting and build out the closet of my dreams and take me back to Mexico and walk on the beach with me. No!”
But I just sit there and feverishly take notes about what I have and what is coming next. I was travelling at the time, so not in my regular office or within a short drive to my husband. That’s all I wanted, was to sit in his arms and yell. So, I called him and share the news from several states away. We both just kind of sat on the line in a bit of shock. A few minutes later, I was back in a meeting and chatting with people in the Alpharetta office. I now think it was a bit of a blessing to have been away. I was able to hear the news and then move back in to my normal day for a bit before heading back to Texas. However, when I got off that plane a few hours later and saw my husband and daughter, a 50-lb pit lodged it’s way in my gut and just sat there. Having dinner with them, and pretending everything was okay for my daughter’s sake, was one of the toughest things I had done (up until then). After tucking her in to bed that night, I sat in my husband’s lap and just had an awful, ugly cry. The kind of cry that people make fun of Kim Kardashian for. U-G-L-Y. And just like that, day-zero was over. And I woke up the next day to start this journey.
The next several days were a blur. More pathology reports slowly trickled in, scheduling appointments with the breast surgeon and eventually the medical oncologist. We finally shared the news with our daughter. That moment was when I faced the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do…it was worse than being told I had cancer. Telling my beautiful 11-year old daughter that her mother has cancer was brutal and heartbreaking. And then we all woke up each new day to continue this journey. I shared with more family and with friends and co-workers. It became easier and easier to say the words, but still seemed like I was telling someone else’s story.
My diagnosis is Stage 2, Low Grade, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. It exists in two tumors in my left breast and in the lymph nodes under my left arm. It is ER+, PR+, HER2+, meaning it’s estrogen, progesterone and HER2 protein receptor positive. The good news is that there are great effective treatments for this diagnosis, and my medical team feels very confident that we have no reason to believe we’ll see anything other than full cure by the end of treatment.
My treatment plan includes 6 rounds of chemo (ACTHP) every 3 weeks, followed by surgery (lumpectomy or mastectomy to be decided when we get closer to surgery date), and topped off with 35 rounds of radiation. Can you just picture it…me bald, with a lopsided chest and a raging sunburn?!? Ha! Date night is going to be a hot mess this summer! I’ll also continue to receive infusions of two drugs for the course of a full year, and a hormone blocker for 5 years. I wonder if I can get a discount for the amount of waxing I’m going to need on my mustache??? So much for my plan to wrap this up quickly! My doctor looked at my like I was crazy when I asked if we could speed up the chemo treatments to make this faster. Ha! Up next is getting my infusion port surgically implanted in about a week.
I will use this blog as a way to keep people (who are still awake after reading all of that) updated on our journey through this chapter of our lives. I hope it will bring some peace of mind to those wondering about what is going on with us, and maybe provide some light for others going through the same situation.
You’re welcome to reach out to me or Clint directly, as well, as you’d like. We may not be timely in all responses, but we’ll try to get back to you as soon as realistically possible. People have asked what they can do to help…First I would ask that you pray. Pray hard. Pray for us…for the physical, mental and emotion strength we’ll need to get through this. Pray for my medical team as they plan my treatment plan. Pray for my family to have God’s peace as we move forward. Laugh with us as we look for the good in life, amidst all of this pain and uncertainty. Additionally, if your child is friends with Sara, I’m sure she’ll be happy to get out of the house more and do some fun things away from this part of her life.
I’ll wrap up the longest blog post in the history of blog posts by saying this…I feel great. I trust what my doctors are telling me based on the data they have available. I recognize that this could change at any time or with the next test. But I also firmly believe that this is part of the journey God has mapped out for me. I don’t know how it will end, but I know that He is beside me every step of the way. So, I’m not afraid for me. I do worry about my husband and daughter, because I can’t take their fear away for them. And if you know my husband, you know he will worry enough for the both of us. So, for now I’m looking for wigs and fun hats to wear for the rest of this year…and hey, I won’t have to shave my legs this summer…jealous yet?!?
More to come!!!!!