It’s announcement time — and of course, many friends and family members have a LOT of questions. So I’m posting some previous emails I’ve sent here to catch up anyone who is interested.

August 18th

Hi to you all —

I saw my breast surgeon this afternoon. She’s great. I really like her.

She told us basically what we already knew — but with a bit of bad news. She doesn’t think the small tumor they found in my breast is what caused the lymph nodes to become infected with cancer cells. She’s expecting to find more cancer in my breast. It is invasive ductal mammary carcinoma. Estrogen positive, progesterone positive and HER2 negative. That means tamoxifen for the rest of my life. Not a pretty drug, but if it works, heck. HER2 negative means it’s not the most aggressive form of cancer.

We have surgery scheduled for September 8th. We want to get the results of genetic testing and the MRI in order to decide what to do about breast #2. Apparently, if I want to, I could get a breast reduction and lift on my left breast when they reconstruct my right and it would all be covered by insurance. So I’m thinking…hmmmm… a complete NEW MADE TO ORDER set of breasts? Tempting….very tempting.

Recovery from a modified radical mastectomy (right breast) is 2-6 weeks. She said no driving, swimming, or any kind of physical activity that gets your heart beat up for two weeks. So I guess I’ll have to limit my exposure to Ricky Martin for a short period.

Here’s my current breast cancer song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAoDsjvzO4I

But, if I do turn out to have the breast cancer gene, it will mean a double mastectomy AND having my ovaries removed. Ovarian cancer is linked to the breast cancer gene. I’ve got a 1 in 5 chance of having that gene. If I do have the gene, Kaylea has a 25% chance of having the gene. (By the way, the gene can be passed down by both men and women.) I will let you all know when I have some results.

The rest of the week is filled with doctors and scans. I get a CAT scan and bone scan on Wednesday. I see my oncologist for the first time on Thursday. So by Friday we’ll have a stage. If the cancer has spread anywhere, then they start with chemo and do surgery afterwards.

Friday will be a scary day.

Let’s hope for clear and clean images!!

The fun news is that I actually am looking forward to something linked to this cancer. There’s this amazing organization called ‘Team Survivor’ (http://www.teamsurvivornw.org/) and it’s all about women living with cancer working out together. You get all of this sports training and comradrie for FREE!! Hello Latin dancing! Hello triathlon and semi-marathon training!! I found these guys at the registration expo for the Danskin Triathlon.

When the pictures from the Seattle Danskin are ready, I’ll send you all a copy.

hugs,
Suzy

August 7th

I got the call from the doctor this morning and I do, indeed, have (ominous sound effects here please)…breast cancer.

I’m not interested in talking to anyone on your schedule. I’ll talk to each of you on my own schedule. That makes email great — but please no phone calls.

So far they confirmed one cancerous mass in my breast and cancer in two lymph nodes. They are still doing more tests on what kind of breast cancer I have and I’ll be scheduling and MRI to see if there is anything anywhere else. So so far, we’re at stage 2a, which is 92% survival rate. Let’s hope that’s where this all stays!!

I definitely do NOT want sappy sympathy. I’m in the middle of an adreline rush (anxiety induced) that is actually quite a wild, even enjoyable, ride and I think I’m just going to ride that adrenaline rush for awhile. You can feel free to talk about how YOU feel, but don’t try to sympathize/empathize with me. This is a wild ride and I don’t even know what I’m feeling. I don’t want any help interpreting it (LOL).

I’m fantasizing about a ‘breast funeral’. I could make this great slide show with close ups of my chest in different places and times in my life. “Here are my breasts in Egypt. Here are my breasts as they crossed over the wall into East Berlin.” We could end the whole thing with a bra burning.

Whoo. Who needs drugs with this kind of adrenaline??

hugs to you all —
Suzy

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