Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A year after Diagnosis!

Things look positive for me.  I'm in remission February 2016 was my 9th month since completing Radiation.  I have my days when things don't seem right, but I'm doing good.  My mammogram and ultrasound looked good this time, I don't have to go back to the Radiation oncologist for a year now.  I do see my other oncologist in four months, but things are really looking up.  This last year was pretty tough.

On June 28, 2015, my oldest sister was diagnosed with breast cancer,  by the time it was caught it had spread through her lymph nodes into her colon and 3 spots on her brain (one of those was on her brain stem).  She passed away on September 15, 2015.

Got guardianship of my dad on November 9th and now the next phase begins.  It's been a tough year. I don't know whether my dad really understands that my mom passed away almost 2 years ago and my sister is gone, but I do know that he's hanging in there the best he can.  I don't think he remembers most of us.  He seems to know who we are for a space of time and then he switches gears and goes somewhere else in his mind.  The nurses at the care center say he seems to be reliving his teenage years. He's quite the ladies man.  He has a few older ladies that he sits with for meals and occasionally reads the newspaper to them, although the stories aren't really what's in the newspaper.  Some of it he actually reads, but he makes up the rest as he goes along.  It was fun to watch him from afar.  That day I don't think he knew who I was, he recognized my daughter though.  It breaks my heart that he is so far away.  I know that he'll never be the same, but I love him so much.  I just wish I could bring him home.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Visit with the Radiation Oncologist

I start Radiation on Monday, April 6.  I will be going everyday for four weeks.  Not the six weeks I had thought it would be.  Dr. Poppe is fast tracking me into a four week time frame because I am traveling so far for treatment.  Dr. Poppe tried to get me to get a hotel room for the week and going home on the weekend, thinking it would probably be cheaper for us, but our car gets pretty good gas mileage.

I have my kids to worry about and life up here. I can't afford to be gone all week with kids that need help with homework and one that needs to be prodded to get his online classes done so he can graduate high school.  Jim's job gets crazy this time of year at the golf course, especially with it being such a mild winter, his boss is wanting everything ready to go and now!  It's crazy, but we'll make it work, whatever we have to do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

So Grateful for the Huntsman Cancer Center, for Clinical trials and options!

Went to Huntsman March 23, 2015, met with Dr. Hung Khong to discuss my options.  My Oncoytype DX, recurrence Score was 13,  under 25 which is good.  We discussed the MRI that I had taken about a week and a half earlier, everything looked good, other than a couple of my lymph nodes looked a little swollen but that could have been because of surgery, but the Radiation Therapy I will be receiving will kill any cancer cells in that area.

I decided after much prayer, fasting and exploring my options that I wanted to just do radiation therapy and endocrine therapy.  We found out after speaking with the Doctor that the only way I could get that option was to put myself into the second stage of the clinical trial. I let the computer pick, with a prayer in my heart that all I would have to do is Radiation therapy and endocrine therapy, if that was what was right, that is what the computer picked. NO CHEMO!  I feel really good about it.

I am so grateful for the Lord and the gospel in my life, for the guidance I feel.  It's not always easy to look at a disease that could ultimate take your life, lightly. Not that I've been taking it lightly, but I just felt in my heart that it would be alright.  It's been a long 12 weeks since we found out I had breast cancer and the process has not been an easy one.  I know many in my family wanted me to just go homeopathic, there may be benefits, but I also found some research that showed it may not be totally effective.  In praying and speaking with my husband and my children we felt that this was the option that would be safest for me and give us the peace of mind. I know Jim isn't 100 percent sure he likes this, but I have faith that all will be well.

They will monitor me over the next two years, every three to four months, after my treatment is finished I will have a physical and then I believe it was every six months after that for three more years and from there I'll be back to yearly visits.  It's a process  I'll be on the road for the next six weeks for my daily dose of radiation, but it is well worth the time. I could get treatment closer to home, but just felt impressed to go the Huntsman for a second opinion.  I just feel better about the care I will receive there.  I would not have had the opportunity to be included in the clinical study if I hadn't gone there.  I would"ve already been doing chemo and enduring what ever would have been in my path.

With this clinical trial, they can pull me at any time if things are not working, if I need more care.  I can stop at anytime also, if I feel that I don't want to do it any more.  I do feel that everything will be fine.  I'm blessed to be in good hands.

Monday, March 2, 2015

What Path to Take?

Our 1st meeting with the medical oncologist and  the radiation oncologist in Logan didn't go so well.  Matter of fact it left us wondering what to do.  We did the next best thing and decided to go for a second opinion.  Regardless that our options may not change, it is a peace of mind decision.

The medical oncologist just seemed brazen and calculated, I might even think he wasn't human.  I know they tell people these same things every day, but they still need to at least act like people matter.  He acted like it shouldn't be a huge shock for us.  I think the prospect of doing Chemo has been the hardest reality for me.  I wasn't ready to accept it.  I don't know that the medical oncologist is a bad person, he just needs a better bed side manner.  I don't feel that I could trust him to make decisions that would be beneficial to me.  As a matter of fact, some of the people that I associate with that have been to him told me not to go to him, after I had already questioned if I could trust him.   Kinda of makes me feel a little better about my negative vibs.  I just thought it was me but Jim isn't comfortable with him either, which is why we decided to get a second opinion.  It's my life we are playing with and I want to make sure I feel comfortable putting my life in their hands.

Monday March 2, 2015 we go to visit the radiation oncologist and Medical oncologist at the Huntsman in SLC!  We'll keep you posted.

What an incredible Visit to the Huntsman Cancer Institute!

I am so glad we went.

So here is the news we can tell you about Nikki's Cancer after a long day at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. First off, what a wonderful place with Doctors that really care about you as a person not just another patient to poke and prod. The Medical Oncologist Dr Khong was very positive and uplifting and 100% opposite from the Oncologist we met with in Logan. I will try to keep this short and simple and if you want or need more details let me know. He explained that the tumor was in-fact considered small and the fact that the cancer had only spread to the first Lymph node and none of the others barely put Nikki into the stage two category. He feels that she is right on the edge of not needing Chemo (totally opposite the Logan doctor) and if she does then it would be no more than 12 weeks at a low dose. Because of several specific characteristics she is eligible to join a clinical trial designed for just her situation and they will do more in depth tests and study of the cancer cells from the tumor and determine on a scale from 1 to 50, 1 being non aggressive how high the chances are that the cancer really has spread to other parts of her body and if the score is over 25 then its on to Chemo no exceptions if it is below 25 then she continues on in the clinical and may not need chemo at all. either way they will monitor her treatments and overall health for years and see how each person reacts to each type of treatment so that by the end of the trial of 5000 women with exactly the same situation as Nikki they can have a hard set number to say that scores below this number don't need chemo and above do which will help many women in the future to not be over diagnosed. Regardless she will do six weeks of local radiation and 5 plus years of Estrogen therapy to insure that it does not come back. We will get the results from the extra testing in about two weeks. We feel really good about it either way and that Dr Khong is doing what is best for us and we can change our minds in any direction at any time. Thanks for all the cares and prayers

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Breast Cancer the saga continues!

Lumpectomy done and I'm healing up.  Finally able to perform more daily functions; laundry, cooking, driving, typing, writing, all the things you don't know you'll miss until you can't do them for yourself, for a span of time. After the first 24 hours they tasked me to get my arm moving again.  It's been fun, but now I finally do most of the things I used to do, I just can't do it for the duration I was doing it before.  I'll get there eventually.

Stage 1 breast cancer, our next step in our journey is meeting with oncologist.  We get to do that next Tuesday, to discuss our steps from this point on.  I'm not sure exactly how I feel about everything yet.  Just trying to get through the pain I've dwelt with for the past 11 day.  It is getting so much better.  Still not as bad as a c-section, I know I've had four of them.

I'm so grateful for my family standing by me and helping me. I have so many friends that are like family to me as well. I'm so grateful for the prayers that have been said on my behalf and all the support that has been shown to me and my family.  Thank you!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Sting of Finding out you have breast cancer!

Actually the journey began with my yearly mammogram.  Not intimidating at first, then when they called me back for a second mammogram, okay a little more intimidating but I can handle it.  I got called back last year and they came to the final decision, it was just tissue.  Except this time, after I did the second mammogram they told me to wait in the waiting room until the pathologist looked at it, then the technician came back and said, we need to do another mammogram at a different angle and you may need an ultra sound, I'm thinking, three of them, something must be up.  So again they sent me to the waiting room until the technician came back to tell me we need an ultra-sound, okay things are getting pretty intimidating now, I knew something was up when they want to run more tests.

After the ultra-sound the pathologist and Diagnostic care coordinator told me that there was indeed a lump and that I would need to have a biopsy done. Okay 80% of these test come back benign, so the odds are still good.  When they did the biopsy they told me it would probably be midweek by the time we got the test back, so I figured no big deal it's all protocol. No, they called us on Monday, not 3 working days later but 3 exact days later.  When my doctor called all he said was "you have breast cancer and need to meet with the surgeon.  He didn't know any other information, he asked me if I knew any surgeons I wanted to do the procedure and because I didn't he called one for me, we visited with the surgeon, Dr. Harker, on Tuesday and scheduled a  lumpectomy for January 23, 2015.  So now the real adventure begins. It's so surreal, it still doesn't seem possible.

We'll know more midweek after the lumpectomy.  The blessing I have been given has been one of great comfort and peace through this whole process.  I know the Lord is with me and he's watching out for me. I know that he will be there for me through the process and that he will help me more than I could ever help myself.  I'm am blessed with a wonderful family, ward family and lots of friends.  I will make it through this, one day at a time.