If you have ever been diagnosed with a serious health condition, you know that any appointment that ends with the words “I’m sending you to radiology for an ultrasound right away” has the potential to test any confidence you have and fill your mind with fear. This was how my morning started. A few weeks back I found a small lump deep in my armpit nested very closely to my tissue expander. I immediately talked myself into believing it was nothing, however I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I shared my discovery with a friend who has also faced breast cancer this past week. Her advice was to call my oncologist to have this checked out right away just to be sure. I made the call Friday late afternoon and was given a 9:00 am appointment today.
Well my weekend plans have changed just a bit. Rather then spending the evening with our bestie’s tonight, spending the day at the spa tomorrow with a friend, and spending quality time with my hubby, I’m now planning a weekend escape at Casa Day Blodgett aka the hospital for another possible infection on the other side now. Fingers crossed it’s clear and I get to go home tomorrow.
Today was in a sense “D” day with my amazing Surgical Oncologist Dr. Marianne Melnik who performed my bilateral mastectomy just over 3 weeks ago (My first surgery). Before walking into the exam room I was greeted by hugs from both Dr. Melnik and her amazingly sweet and helpful nurse practitioner, Kim. With a camera in tow I began to explain that I had a photographer documenting my journey in photos and that I really wanted something bigger and more positive to come from all of the negative that seemed to be surrounding me. Although Sam was not able to be with us today, Jordan acted as a stand-in to capture the raw moments. Watching both of their faces light up as I talked of my plans filled my heart with warmth and joy and oddly distracted me from our meeting intentions.
I’ll be honest, over the past few weeks I have been preparing myself to hear that I would only require 5 years of hormone therapy in pill form and at the most 5 weeks of radiation treatment, however the Onco-type testing results from tissues taken at the time of surgery came back with higher levels then expected which means that my treatment course now requires chemo, radiation, and hormone therapy. As Dr. Melnik gave me the news my heart sank and my body and mind instantly went numb. In a weird way having cancer without the need for chemo almost felt like not exactly having cancer, or at least having a lesser form. Now that chemo is in my future this cancer and this diagnosis seems so much more real and in a way it feels like I am now having to tell everyone the bad news for the very first time all over again.
Dr. Tammy Kreuzer
This physician and more importantly this woman is nothing short of amazing. She performed my triple Biopsy a few short weeks ago to start this entire journey. Her gentle approach, her amazing bed-side manor and her ability to relate, put me at ease before we even got started. Let me start by saying that biopsy’s are not exactly pain free or fun in anyway, but she had me laughing and joking the entire time to take my mind off of what was actually happening. At the same time she was also very honest and open about what she was seeing which was so helpful to me. I’m assuming this experience for many is not a good one, however looking back, my hour with Dr. Kreuzer and my amazing nurse, who both seem way more like friends was a positive experience despite our malignant findings. If you have to get this type of news, these are the ladies you want to deliver it.
To get to the point, I came across this video of Dr. Kreuzer discussing one of the many ways they/she detects breast cancer in women of all ages. Although this discussion is not related to me and is not at all the type of procedure I had, I still feel it is a quick informational video that anyone with a lump, fear or family history may find helpful so I’m sharing it with all of you