Ruth's Silver Linings

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer the end of March 2011. I had found a small cyst and had gone into the doctor. I was sent into get a mammogram and ultrasound. A few days later I had a stereo tactic biopsy.

When I found out it was cancer, it was very upsetting. I am only 37, I shouldn’t be getting it yet.

My mother’s breast cancer was post menopausal three years earlier. I had walked through her treatment with her, I knew what to expect. This turned out to be a silver lining for me. I remember thinking, “well if I have to have cancer the timing is good”.

I home-school our three children ages 12, 11 & 9. So we wrapped up the school year, mostly, by the time of my surgery which was April 29th. Before my surgery I was put on Tamoxifen since I had to wait for 3 weeks before surgery. While we were waiting for surgery we did the BRCA test and I am negative.

My surgeon thought from the pathology report that the cancer was not very advanced. We didn’t think it was in the lymph nodes but it was, 5 out of 11 of them. We opted for a double mastectomy, the cancer was only in my right, as I didn’t want to have to go through this again in 6 months. My recovery from surgery was fairly smooth, I didn’t have pain, the drain tubes did annoy me quite a bit though. A silver lining, I only had them in for 1 week, my mom had hers for at least 2 weeks. I did get a small infection but a round of antibiotics took care of that.

Silver lining, my sisters and some dear friends came to help me right before and for 2 weeks after surgery so I didn’t have to do anything but rest.

Chemo started June 3rd with the dose dense A/C treatment 4 times every 2 weeks followed by a Nuelasta shot 24 hours later. Silver lining, I didn’t get sick and had 5 anti nausea drugs to keep me from that. I did have sinus issues with this treatment but didn’t realize it was a side effect of treatment until I was finished with it. After the A/C I then had 4 dose dense Taxol treatments every 2 weeks. Everyone said that this drug was easier to handle and I would have problems with nausea, which I didn’t. The 3rd after the first treatment I thought my oncologist lied! It hurt to move and it hurt not to move. Silver lining, the pain was only really bad one day and then it got progressively better.

I learned to take ibuprofen on Sunday morning before the pain started and that would help to keep the pain at bay, my treatments were on Friday. I never hurt that bad again. I figure some people who aren’t even going through chemo hurt everyday so why should I complain if I had mild pain a couple of days.

Silver lining, my kids were old enough so if I needed to take a nap on the couch I could. One day my 9 year old daughter started cooking lunch because they didn’t want to wake me up. My mom was also available most of the time and would often come and take the kids to spend time at my parents’ house which was nice for all of us.
Radiation began Oct 3rd. As all of my treatments were 1 1/2 hours drive (one way) away.

Silver lining, I have a cousin who had a full basement that she and her family were willing to share with the kids and I for the 7 weeks of radiation. We would drive down Monday morning and home after treatment Friday. That was such a blessing. It worked out great. We helped out with their kids when they were home and got to know her family better. I did get pretty red by the end of treatment but another silver lining is that I didn’t feel most of it because of the nerves being cut during surgery. Treatment was complete November 18th.

Silver lining, I didn’t get the exhaustion that I was warned might be a side effect.
We are adjusting to a “normal” routine again at home and my sweet husband is glad we are home. My oncologist has recommended having my ovaries removed so I am having a total hysterectomy December 28th.

Silver lining, one of my sisters used to work for a surgeon who does this robotically and got me on his schedule. So we get to go spend a week with her family after Christmas and she has it planned so I can get the rest I will need after surgery. She is starting official nursing classes January 9th so she can practice on me.

I praise God for helping us on this journey. I am so thankful that we live where we live. We have a great support system here, my parents and a ton of church family who were all willing to do anything I needed. I have been truly blessed!!!

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