"My story begins in September 2013, I was 51 years old. I was traveling for the company I worked for and while on a trip I noticed my left breast looked a little different. I then felt a lump. I called my daughter who is an RN and she suggested I monitor it until I return home on Thursday. It didn't go away so I called my gynocologist...long story short, that day I found out I had breast cancer. How could this be...I did all the right stuff. I had a mamogram every year; had just had one in April.
"I was diagnosed as IIIA triple negative breast cancer, 4/22 nodes were positive and 2 cm tumor in my left breast. I opted for a bi-lateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction (expanders). I then did 6 rounds of TAC with very little side effects other than hair loss. My oncologist told me either I didn't know I felt bad or I was just not telling him. I didn't travel during this time but did work 12 hour days. I then did 28 sessions of radiation. I had my final expanders replaced with implants in February this year. The next thing scheduled was nipples and tattoos.
"I had gone 18 months cancer free. On April 6th I put in my resignation, a job I had done for 30 years, to start with a new engineering firm on April 20th. On a routine visit with my oncologist, we decided it had been a while and might be time for bone and CT scan. CT scan identified a 1.3 cm nodule in my lower right lung along with a pulmonary embolism (possibly from chemo). I was given a blood thinner for the embolism and will be on that the rest of my life. A PT scan was done to determine if the nodule was cancer. Nodule is cancer and 6 additional very small spots were identified (1-soft tissue sternum, 2 nodes, 3 more in lung). May 1st I was told I had metastatic breast cancer. I started paclitaxel (Taxol) on May 22nd. I have had 2 sessions, 3 weeks on, 1 week off. CT scan scheduled for next Monday. Praying for nothing to have changed (meaning no new additions) or some shrinking, I will take either.
"The best way my oncologist described it is, "I have a bear that has come out of his cave. We need to put him back in his cave, he will not go away, but he can hibernate, and when he decides to come out again we do what is needed to get him into hibernation once again." I like that explanation better than remission. I have faith in God and know only He knows when my last day on Earth will be.
"I have a wonderful husband of 28 years and 2 amazing children (daughter is a RN and my son is a Dallas police officer). So proud of both of them. My daughter and her husband have given me 2 beautiful grandchildren. Another interesting fact is my daughter, granddaughter, and I all share the same birthday.
"We have some awesome friends, we all love to travel and stay active. We have something planned all the time. They call me the 'Crews Director.' When we plan an event, I get everything scheduled and reserved and they show up to enjoy! It works best this way!
"I live every day to its fullest, I have a lot of GREAT moments and then I have some sad moments, but luckily they go away pretty quickly.
"I am working with my oncologist to start a support group for women with metastatic breast cancer. I think support groups and discussion boards like these are very beneficial when you are dealing with the disease we have. God bless you all and keep the faith!!"
-- Texasrose53, 3 months metastatic
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