My Introduction to the Cancer World

As I write this post I am currently receiving chemo. The cancer care team goes beyond just the doctors. There are so many amazing people in this facility that make you forget what’s really going on, even if it’s only for a minute. We were just laughing so hard at something and I just want to thank them for always making sure I smile through this.

After receiving the call from Dr. Rashid about the lymph nodes everything started happening very quickly. On Friday August 25, 2017 I met Dr. Simpson, my oncologist. I never thought at the age of 36 I would have an oncologist or a cancer care team. My aunt came with me for this visit. I had so many questions written down because it was this time with all the information being thrown at me I was beginning to forget things. It was overwhelming to say the least.

Dr. Simpson began explaining my lab results and explained about having two separate cancers. Basically he told me it’s like lightning striking the same place twice. Not unheard of but not common. We discussed my treatment which included starting chemotherapy right away to stop the left breast cancer from growing and spreading more. I would be receiving 6 treatments of a 4 drug cocktail. The cocktail was Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and Perjeta.

This entire process has taught me to see the positive in all situations. The positive I took away from this appointment was I was encouraged to stay active. Being active during treatment is actually beneficial to healing. I was excited to know I wouldn’t be restricted in the gym. However, I was aware I would not be training like I had been training for the past several years. At this time I was not aware how much lifting would be impacted.

The following week I was in Jersey when Dr. Simpson called to give me the official biopsy results. My left breast and lymph nodes were grade 3 HER2 positive, ER negative and PR negative. The right breast was grade 2 ER positive, PR positive and HER2 negative. The right was not as advanced. The left was aggressive and more advanced. I wouldn’t learn more about the pathology until my surgery in February 2018 and that’s when I will discuss it in details.

The next appointment was Friday September 1, 2017; I didn’t take anyone with me because it was my chemotherapy education class I figured this wouldn’t be bad. I was wrong. This was the first appointment that made me break down. It consisted of reviewing each drug and the numerous side effects. It was basically the worst of the worst. I was now about to start poisoning my body I fought so hard to get healthy, hoping these drugs kill the cancer cells before it kills me. It was the most eye opening part of the cancer world. The one I had the hardest with was the damage is could do to my heart. Due to the risk on the heart I would be getting a heart echo every 3 months to monitor the heart health.

Overall I managed to keep it together until I got into my car. That is when I broke down. I guess I truly hadn’t let myself absorbed all the changes my life was about to take. I remember sending my mother a text saying “I don’t want to do this; it could kill me”.

This post took longer to finish than I expected initially. My next post on my journey will be “Hell Week” when everything officialy begins.

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