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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Houston.......We have a surgeon!

Last night was not a good night. I did not sleep well at all. I kept waking up thinking about my current situation and wondering if I am taking it all serious enough. I mean, I do have cancer after all. I began to wonder if I should be more upset or angry. Why am I not just boo-hooing all day, everyday? Why am I not absolutely terrified? Why am I able to feel confident about my situation and make jokes about selling my nipples on Ebay? Seriously, is there something wrong with me? Then I am reminded that I am in control of how this process affects me. There is no going back. There is no way around treatment. I will have chemo, no matter what, and since I am choosing to be more aggressive than my cancer, I will have a bi-lateral mastectomy. How I handle this process is completely up to me. I'm not going to lie. It is very overwhelming. By the end of next week I will have been to seven different doctor's appointments. That is not normal. However, despite all the appointments, each day gets a little easier. I know that I am one day closer to being cancer free and moving on with my life.

Today Ryan and I met with Dr. Cavagnol. He is going to be my surgeon. Both Ryan and I were very impressed by his level of knowledge. He was able to tell us that the tumor is not being fed by my hormones. That basically means that this breast cancer did not develop because of an over abundant amount of estrogen or progesterone. Therefore, I will not have to be placed on hormone therapy drugs. Because of my age and the aggressiveness of my cancer, he believes that it is a genetic issue. I am going to meet with a genetic counselor on Thursday. I will then have the gene test completed but it will take up to a couple of weeks before we have the results. If I have the breast cancer gene, it means that I had a 90% chance or better of getting breast cancer and that I also have a higher chance of developing other kinds of cancers. Because I have decided to have the chemo first, Dr. Cavagnol, myself, and Ryan all agreed that getting the gene test done quickly is a good idea. Next Tuesday, Dr. Cavagnol is going to put a port in and at the same time do a biopsy of my lymph nodes. This is where we hope that no lymph nodes are involved. It doesn't matter based on treatment, but if no lymph nodes are involved, none will be removed during surgery, and it will mean that the cancer is strictly confined to the breast.

Dr. Cavagnol was very supportive of a bilateral mastectomy and made me an appointment with a plastic surgeon next week. By waiting to have the surgery after chemo, Dr. Cavagnol told us that the mastectomy and reconstruction would take place at the same time, meaning I would have one less surgery. We mentioned to him that our goal is to be through this entire process by the end of the year and he seemed to think that was reasonable. Please continue to pray. I know because of your prayers Ryan and I are able to get through each day. This is not something I could do without everyone calling out to God on my behalf. He hears all of our cries and He will prevail!

On one final note, I received a beautiful flower arrangement from our dear friends Tom & Beth. Thank you guys so much. They are absolutely gorgeous! In addition, I received an awesome Wine Country gift basket from our friends Tyler and Hilary O'Banion and Honora and Ryan Bates. I can't tell you how excited Ryan is to dig into the crackers and cheese spread. My best friend Hilary has volunteered to do numerous things and be the meal coordinator. There will be more information on that at a later date. Please know that if I don't give you a direct shout-out, it doesn't mean that your kindness has gone unrecognized. We truly appreciate what everyone is doing for us. We know there are a lot of people out there who care about us and we feel so incredibly blessed to have such a strong support system. Thank you all!

Flower Arrangement

Wine Country Gift Basket

1 comment:

The Bowler Family said...

Mel, you are an awesome woman of God! Your faith and testiomony to Him shine through even in this dark hour. Please know that your prayer warriors in Tulsa are right behind you. Our small group has you in our prayers, and Matt has posted a prayer request on a website sponsored by our church, We love you guys so much. I tossed and turned most of the night thinking of and praying for you. You go, girl!