Friday, May 18, 2012


Its been awhile so I wanted to let you all know what was going on...

On March 27th I had a lumpectomy to remove the cancerous tumor, they automatically preform a lymph node direction at the same time to check for cancer cells that have spread to the lymphatic system.  In my case it was great news, the cancer had not spread and the first hurdle was crossed and it was time to heal before continuing on with more tests.  My surgeon was wonderful and I healed up both quickly and with minimum discomfort.

On April 20th I met with my Radiation Doctor for information on how that whole procedure works.  There is no "if" for radiation, it is standard care for follow up with breast cancer unless a mastectomy is done.  Then on April 22 came the Dr. I was most scared to meet with, the Oncologist.  Not only did I fear that visit because of the possibility of needing other treatments, but even saying the word Oncologist was admitting deep down that something awful was going on and I had to face it head on, no putting it off until tomorrow or next week, like I do with some things that I don't like to deal with.  The up part of this equation is that she is wonderful!  She is a warm person that makes you feel less apprehensive the instant you meet her, it is an almost superhuman quality for someone that has such a difficult job.  At that appointment she ordered 2 tests, the first a BRCA test which is easy, you rinse your mouth with mouthwash then spit it into a cup, the lab then checks to see if you have DNA that puts you at risk for future cancers that will come back in one or both breasts or worse yet show up as ovarian cancer.  If the test came back as positive then she would recommend a double mastectomy and either a total hysterectomy or just removal of the ovarys.  The second test that was ordered was a ONCO test and it was done on my tumor that was removed.  They look at the DNA of the cancer itself and determine if chemo-therapy is needed.  The wait for these tests was about 2 weeks and that whole time was spent with a headache from nightly teeth grinding.  Finally the results were back; the BRAK test showed that I had a less than 8% chance of the cancer spreading so there was no need for further surgery and the ONCO test came back an 11 out of  a possible 100, which means that adding chemo to the treatment had no benefit.  Great news since I was suddenly liking my greying hair more and more each day.

These tests were something that my insurance did not want to pay for and were over $7,500.00.  I am so thankful that I am in a position to be able to pay for them, and shuddered because this would have been out of the question for us to even consider 7 years ago.  Often the hospital or lab will preform the tests for patients as a "favor", but that is hit or miss.  This is the one time I got so mad at my insurance company I could spit tacks!  They told me they don't cover genetic testing,  but its not like I was checking to see if my kids would have blue eyes, it was to determine my care.  The flip side of that coin is that I don't know how we would have paid for ANY of this 7 years ago when neither of us had insurance.  The total cost so far has been well over $50,000.00, and I haven't even started with radiation yet, I have no idea what 7 weeks of that will cost.

Last step after radiation therapy will be medication therapy, they will be putting me on a pill for 5 years that will stop estrogen and progesterone production, since those two hormones are what my cancer cells were "feeding" on, that's pretty common and I am more than happy to take a pill once a day to keep it from coming back.

I have had so much good news through this whole ordeal, in large part because I found this early and went right to my Doctor.  My biggest message to all the ladies is if something is "off" go to your Doctor TODAY!  So many changes have been made making this so very treatable, even since my mother had it 15 years ago, they didn't to any lymph node or DNA checking with her so all that is new and so helpful in treatment!

I will get back to blogging, although it will be a little spotty for a bit since Radiation times may vary and it may put me behind for the day. 

Thank you to all of you for your kind words, cards, well wishes and prayers, they have meant so very much!!


Chubby Cheeks Thinks


  1. Michele, I've been off-line a lot these past weeks, so I'm out of touch a bit. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been going through all of this! I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Aren't those insurance companies something else? Isn't it enough to have to deal with a life-threatening illness without having to haggle with the insurance company?! Give me a break! Hang in there, this will all soon be a fading memory... (Kathy)

  2. This is just such good news to all of us who know and love you. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

  3. I am so very glad of your prognosis. I had just started reading your blog when you posted the news. I have been checking often, hoping for an update. Take care of yourself. Prayers for you.

  4. Oh gosh!! So glad that you are doing well!!

    Cancer seems to be absolutely everywhere aunt is currently in palliative with it and not expected to last through the weekend :(

    (found you from hop along friday - i'm Home of OHM)

  5. Visiting from Not a Mommy Hop. I am so glad you got some good news. I have been dealing with thyroid cancer for the last 6 months and I know how scary the unknowns of cancer can be. YAY to no chemo and no more surgery!!! :)

  6. I'm so glad you got a lot of good news!!!!!! Breast cancer research has had so much success the last 10 years, it's incredible. I'm so thankful for that, although I wish they would have some success with certain other cancer types as well.

  7. So glad you got good news. Sorry that the insurance is being a dork in the whole thing! I imagine that adds to the stress. Definitely lifting you up in prayers!!!

  8. Wonderful news! Will say a special prayer for you tonight!

    God Bless!!

    Hopping thru from the Friday Blog Hop!
    Come check us out at

    Shannon, Sweepstakes Mama


  9. Glad you got good news!
    Thanks for putting the word out encouraging women to get checked out.
    My sister has breast cancer, too - it was stage 4 when she went to the doctor. Needless to say, after that she encouraged me to get checked out, too, and so I had my first mammogram last year. It wasn't a pleasant experience, but if there is a problem, early detection can be lifesaving.

    Stopping by on the Not Mommy Hop.

  10. Happy dancing here! I am so glad you are doing well!

  11. Wonderful news!

    And a pox on your insurance company for not wanting to cover the genetic testing. They're such a necessary evil...I'm grateful for mine and then sometimes I wonder what I have it for when it doesn't cover something that's preventive.

    I'd been wondering how you were doing. A couple of weeks after I read your original post, I had a lump scare. It turned out to be a fat lobule - thankfully - so no need to do anything other than keep the usual eye out for any changes to the breast tissue and/or lobule.

    But I'm going to echo you on how important it is for every woman (regardless of age and medical history) to do your own self exams, keep regular doctor visits (my GYN detected the lump), and go for mammograms.

    I hope things keep getting better.

  12. Powerful update. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Sending see beautiful thoughts your way!

  13. I am so happy that things are turning out well for you! I am new to your blog from We're Not Mommy Blogs and I really look forward to reading more. Good luck with your next steps!


I love to read your comments, but due to spamming I have had to turn on the word verification again. Sorry for the extra step.