The first text I received this morning said, Happy Anniversary!! I was super touched that Barb B. sent that for me.
One year ago today I was wheeled into surgery for a left breast, skin sparing mastectomy, sentinel node biopsy and possible axillary node dissection with tissue expander reconstruction. Wow, what a mouthful!!
- Left Breast Skin Sparing Mastectomy
- Sentinel Node Biopsy
- Possible Axillary Node Dissection
- Tissue Expander Reconstruction
My very first major surgical procedure in my whole life at 42 years old.
When I came out of surgery, I was first informed that they got it all. I was then informed that the cancer had spread. I find myself telling people it only spread to one lymph node, which was removed during the procedure.
ONLY one lymph node.
What I don’t mention is that cancer spreading during chemo is uncommon and shows the aggressive properties…so although I was kicking butt and taking names, Dorothy was not going down without a fight. The largest invasive tumor remaining in my breast was 4 mm…tiny. There were nine individual areas that were still considered invasive. The metastasis to my lymph node (which had started out as having no cancer) had a tumor 8 mm in size.
So today is the one year anniversary of being declared “Surgically Cancer Free.” So why am I not jumping for joy? I’ve made it!! I’m now a 20 month survivor of Stage III, Triple Possitive, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
I should be celebrating this day.
Instead I am reminded that I am one day closer to a possible recurrence. That’s a scary thought.
I’m so glad that I live such a full life and that I am living my best life; focused on God and my children. No matter what happens, I will not be at the end of my life wishing I had done something different.
I have made the most of every opportunity to make this the journey of a lifetime…a true lifetime.
How many cancer patients coach hockey through chemotherapy? How many days did I spend up to eight hours in the chemo chair then an hour on the ice with 30 kids aged 3 – 7?
For those who were around, remember the night we had to go to urgent care for my nose bleeds…Carson (age 7 at the time) made sure everybody knew we had to be on the ice at 6:00. When we checked in, he told the receptionist. When the nurse took us from the waiting room, he informed her.
I knew we were in the best place possible when the doctor walked in and said, “I hear you two have to be on the ice at 6:00, we better hurry up and get Mom taken care of so you guys aren’t late.”
Then there were the times I would schedule my Mayo appointments as early as possible in the morning so I could race back home (384 miles) just in time to be on the ice for practice.
So today, Happy Anniversary to a cancer – free me.