Lump to Laughter

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Deborah

Your Story
I found my lump the second week in August 3 weeks before my 60th birthday.  I already had an appointment with my OB/GYN for the 9th of September so since my husband and entire family were planning a dress up night out at a very fancy restaurant with dancing afterwards, I made the choice to not tell anyone until after my birthday.  When I first noticed the problem we had had a heat wave and I noticed that the entire right side of my right breast had swollen up. I watched is for several days and after about 3 days the swelling went down and the lump remained.  I had cystic mastitis when I was 17 which eventually, within a few months, covered both breasts and would swell and was painful during my cycle but testing revealed no problems.  So when I initially found the lump I hoped that it was just the cysts.  In my heart I knew better and prayed and sought the Lord for wisdom but mostly peace!  When I saw my OB/GYN he told me to get a mammorygram immediately and incredibly the Lord open wide the doors and after 2 calls they had time for me the next day.  I was there for 3 1/2 hours.  About the 2nd round of pictures that had to be taken I could hear a small still voice telling me that this was not good!  They eventually did an ultra-sound and the doctor that came in after, well, the look on her face said it all as she examined the breast.  She told me they had to do a biopsy and we she looked up at my face, she said "you already knew that, didn't you!"  I had totally peace at that moment because I KNEW I was not alone.  I was more concerned about going home and breaking the news to my husband.  He took it in stride but I could see that he was visibly and emotionally shaken although he tried to be matter-of-fact about it, it didn't work!  At first they couldn't schedule the biopsy until 2 weeks but "then", they were able to get me in the next day.  I was blessed to have my husband go with me and then the same woman who did my mammogram meet me the next day and she had said she cleared her calendar to be with me for the biopsy, what a comfort to have a familiar face!  The biopsy wasn't  that bad and I was even cracking some jokes about the color of the marker being my favorite color and when the doctor told me that the breast would turn an eggplant color with the bruise, I told her my husband would say I match the bedroom and the bathroom.  She eventually did comment on the peace she saw on my face and although there was some anxiousness inside I was so glad the Lord was there and shining through!  We went back to meet with the doctor on September 17th and we both knew by the look on her face!  I appreciated the fact that she did not tap dance around but got it right out on the table.  The tumor is 3cm and would have to be removed.  My husband had tears in his eyes and his face was all flushed with emotion.  For me, it was a relief to know and not have to wonder.  My husband took off from work (he works nights) to be at home with me so I would not be alone and also he called both of our children (2) and had them come to the house  I had told them about the lump so they were not totally unprepared.  Nevertheless, it was a very hard family gathering and there were lots of tears and hugs and questions but I eventually stopped everyone and made then start looking to the Lord and not at the cancer.  I told them I was and am still me, so we will get through this together whatever comes!  That we would not be walking through this alone.  About a week later I made my decision about the surgeon and the entire family went because I wanted them there to meet her and to hear the details, things are less scary when you can ask questions and get the information first hand.  We all loved her and walked away having an inner confidence about her... just my husband and I had a decision to make... a lumpectomy or a mastectomy.  I was all for saving the breast that was my only focus but after 2 weeks of discussions, research, talking to the surgeon and praying we are now leaning toward a mastectomy.  I have my own virtual business started in 2001 and do virtual bookkeeping and office management and have 2 wonderful clients that are right behind me supporting me and I will have the opportunity to work as much as I can throughout all of this!  My surgery was tentatively scheduled for 11/12 but with this past week and my initial pre-op visit with my new primary care doctor, that will be put on hold.  I have found that my blood pressure is dangerously high and also my thyroid has gone into hypothyroidism.  (In 2005 I had severe hyperthyroidism and to control the problem the doctor eventually did an ablation which due to some residual medication did not ablate the entire thyroid so up til now I have not needed to be on medication)  Now we have 2 major issues that will delay my surgery.  Most of the time I hold onto the Lord and I'm fine but have had a couple of emotional meltdowns and I thank God that my husband was home!  I have since 2002 been involved with a ministry - The Life Giver's Network started by James Henry when he lost his wife to cancer over a decade ago.  It is a christian ministry so that we can walk this walk and "leave a legacy of love and hope" behind us and I have directly been a caregiver to 3 women with cancer.  This for me has been a blessing and curse at the same time!  Although my family is in California they and their church are praying for me.  We have not had cancer in our family up until 2010 when my mother was diagnosed with adeno-carcinoma in her lung and lymph nodes around the airway.  I was with her and my dad for 6 months arriving 1 week after her prognosis and staying through everything until 2 months after her partial lung removal surgery. Now we are just taking it day by day, which some days are emotionally harder than others... some days I feel like I have let my family down and even though I know I did "do" this it still is there.  Other times I hit an emotional wall where I become insecure in my husband's love and I guess that bothers me the most right now.  He has been with me every step of the way but there is just this feeling inside that he would rather be anywhere else than dealing with this and me.  We lost our home in 2008 to the mortgage mess and this past June he lost his mom, his father passed away 3 years ago.  In 2011 there were cut back and he was laid off and had trouble finding work for almost a year.  So, it has been a rough several years for us and even though intellectually I know he is with me the insecurities are there.  I tend to be a strong faith filled woman of God and that is all he has seen since this started... until the meltdown hit this past weekend.  Right now I have peace and know that the Lord is with me but I'm tired of being strong and to be honest I just want this to be a bad dream and that I will wake up soon.  I have come to the conclusion that I have no idea how women get through life without the Lord but most especially how they get though this!  I have a wonderful new church family and my old church family core is constantly there for me but sometimes that is just not enough so I started looking online and found your website, what a blessing.  Although I do not have all the information yet regarding my cancer I do have a phone call scheduled with my surgeon for this week to get the details about my pathology and if the surgery is delayed what are we going to do to insure that the cancer is not spreading.  I have a lymph node ultrasound scheduled for 10/25 and already have a sense that this will end up needing a biopsy as well.  Thank you for what you are doing and for reaching out with the love of Christ to be a support, we need to stick together and be there for each other!

Age at Diagnosis
41 or Above
Year Initially Diagnosed
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How Cancer was Found
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Stage at Diagnosis
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Type of Breast Cancer
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Surgery
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Lymph Node Involvement
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Lymph Node Dissection Type
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Radiation Therapy
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Chemotherapy
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Hormone Therapy
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Oopherectomy
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Current Disease Status
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Clinical Trial Participation
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Treatment-Induced Menopause
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Breast Reconstruction
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Lymphodema
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Physical Therapy
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Her2 Status
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Hormone Status
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Genetic Counseling
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BRCA1/2
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