From healthy to cancer in three days.
Exactly two weeks ago, Sunday, March 25, 2018, I zenned out in an amazing hot yoga class with my sister and a few of our friends then I headed home to prep for a busy week, as I did nearly every Sunday.
Like most Sundays, I'd have dinner with my husband and our daughters, review the weekly calendar for the family, and catch up on some email before going to bed.
I'm sure I probably did those things, but I've forgotten most of that day.
When I got out of the shower, I noticed some skin discoloration on my left breast (newsflash: that's not normal), which led to a self exam, which led to a sizable, distinguishable mass.
In those three days, I met with my OB, who immediately referred me to a specialist at UNC Rex Healthcare, who had me in for a mammogram, ultrasound, and biopsy on Tuesday. By the end of the day, the specialist, who is now my surgeon for this newly formed team I've gathered around me, told me to expect cancer.
I'm glad she prepared me for it.
CONFIRMING THE DIAGNOSIS
Over the next week, I'd meet with an oncologist and have additional full body scanning tests to look for cancer in other organs, bones, and lymph nodes.
On Tuesday, April 3, the oncologist let me know that I had a mass on my liver. It's 4cm, but concerning, given the fact I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The liver tumor, and whether or not it was cancerous, was the difference between Stage 3 and Stage 4 cancer.
On Friday morning, April 6, I went in for an MRI that would only look at the liver. It was a 45 minute test that instructed me to inhale and exhale more than any yoga class I've ever taught or taken.
Fun fact: you have to hold your breath to get pictures of your liver - it moves around when you breathe.
I painstakingly waited for the remainder of Friday afternoon to hear back. Finally, at 4:59 p.m. as I was leaving work, the doctor called to tell me it was a benign focal nodular hyperplasia.
WHAT A RELIEF AND ANSWER TO MANY, MANY PRAYERS!
So now, here we are. Stage 3 breast cancer.
HOW I'M DOING
When I was waiting on my diagnosis, a survivor friend said that the waiting would be the worse part.
It was terrible.
I was weepy, confused, and questioning everything.
Oddly enough, finding out I had Stage 3 cancer (as opposed to Stage 4) has been one of the best pieces of news I ever received. We know exactly what we're dealing with.
I have an amazing team of doctors, nurses, and hospital staff just down the road from my house.
I have a detailed treatment plan that begins with chemo this week.
I have an unbreakable support system that has emerged in the form of family, family friends, high school friends, college friends, former co-workers, current co-workers - the list seems to go on forever! I'm completely overwhelmed by the love that has been shown to me, Carl, and the girls in such a brief period of time.
I have an incredible husband. Neither of us ever saw this coming, but his presence and support is reassuring and calming.
Most importantly, I have faith in a God that answers prayers, and I've had the front row privilege to see His hand at work over the past two weeks.
To get an additional overview of my diagnosis, see Jen > Cancer.