Friday, February 13 (Friday the 13th) – Found out I was pregnant, one of the best days of my life. I started spreading the news fast in excitement. In hind sight, I’m still glad I did because I got to live in that moment.
Mammogram and Ultrasound – March 17, 2009 – This was the day I first heard that I may have cancer. It was a scary and upsetting day, as I had a gut feeling telling me they were right, even though my head was thinking positive thoughts and hoping for the best. Three lumps were actually found on the mammogram and ultrasound, two in my breast and one that had spread to my lymph nodes. Since then, a second affected lymph node was identified from the MRI, resulting in four cancerous tumors.
Biopsy – Friday, March 20, 2009 – I arrived at Charlotte Radiology and had 12 biopsies done on the three areas identified through the mammogram and ultrasound. The biopsies involved 2 Novocain shots and five biopsy needles in each lump. The radiologist said because of the size of them, I would need surgery no matter what the results so I set up an appointment with the best oncology surgeon in Charlotte, Dr. Turk, for the following week.
Oncology Surgeon – Tuesday, March 24, 2009 (the day before my 31st birthday) – I arrived at Carolina’s Surgical Clinic and was at the time still waiting to hear the results from my biopsy, which I was supposed to receive in time for my surgical consultation. The results came by phone while in the waiting room. It was confirmed. I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I have gone into more specifics, risks, treatments, etc. in the other links.
Next came, many more tests:
CT scan – I spent the last few hours of my 31st birthday at University Hospital having a CT scan. Dan and my mom were there. The appointment lasted about 3 hours. The first two hours were in the waiting room where I had to drink a contrast liquid for the scan. I accidentally kept calling it “compost” so it made for some funny jokes. The CT scan was ordered to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread any where else besides my lymph nodes. It was a full body scan, head to toe, lying on a table going in and out of this big round hoola-hoop like thing. They injected a substance in an IV to interact with the contrast for the scan pictures. Breast cancer can spread to the lymph nodes (already had for me), bone, liver, lung, and brain. The CT scan results came back clear/negative/great and were a big relief. With the size and number of tumors I already had, a spread to another organ would have been considered automatic stage IV, or incurable, words no one wants to hear.
Bone scan – came back clear
Heart Echo Test – came back fine (one of the chemo treatments causes heart damage so they needed to make sure I was healthy there)
Genetic Counseling – Because there is no history of breast cancer in my family, I underwent genetic counseling in June 2009 to see why I got this so young. The doctors’ thoughts initially were that I had the genes for it (mutated chromosomes or certain hormonal genes) and that the fertility treatments put a rush on everything. There are two breast cancer genes: BRCA1 and BRCA2. Each of these genes has several chromosomes (thousands I think). There are some chromosomal mutations that are known to have a link with breast cancer, some that are known not to have a link and others they are not sure about. I got my results back and learned that I didn’t have any mutations with known link but I did have one mutation that they aren’t sure whether it has a link with breast cancer or not. They said I’m one of only four people in the hostory of their genetic testing with this same exact mutation and will keep me posted as they have more research. Basically, since it doesn’t run in my family and has no known genetic link, it must be environmental or caused from something else……which I think is all the fertility treatments I did.