Wednesday, February 8, 2012

No freakin' way

Thats about all I have to say about the latest news.  I went Monday for my annual routine breast cancer screening MRI - part of my high risk preventive maintenance protocol.  Of course, I'm expecting nothing (in fact, I even tried to talk them out of doing the MRI in the first place).  I mean hell, I've had a CT scan and a PET scan in the last month as well as a routine mammogram 6 months ago - none of those showed a speck of anything to be concerned about.

You can guess where this is going right?  Sure enough, yesterday I forgot they were even going to call with results because I had already put it out of my mind that it was totally run of the mill, even unnecessary almost.  Finally connected with the NP at Vanderbilt Breast Center around 5 yesterday.  There are not one, but TWO, "nodules" in my right breast that are suspicious and require further inspection.  Seriously?  They are quite small - 6mm roughly each.  I read the full MRI report today & it appears that one is pretty suspect - the other less so.  On the 22nd I will have a "second look ultrasound" and a biopsy of the one that is more suspicious.  I'm confused by the terminology "second look ultrasound" - seems to me some medical terminology designed to throw the patient off the scent.

What's really bizarre about all this is the script reads nearly identically to the script for the sarcoma.  1) Its very small, surely its nothing.  2)  Well maybe we should check it out, be extra cautious given your family history and high risk status.  3) It will just be a routine biopsy and we will have results in a couple days.

Chances are high its nothing and they truly are just being ultra cautious.  Here's more irony.  My lifetime risk of breast cancer is 29% right - essentially 1 in 3.  I've had 3 MRIs since they started following me as high risk.  2 were clear.  1 was not. Either there are some macro-coincidences at play here or their statistics are freakin' good.

Either way, here we sit for 2 weeks until we know more.  I think Kendall is pretty thrown off by this - poor guy got home late last night from a difficult day at work and this is the first thing he hears.  I mean, really, come on.  They say the PET scan can only detect 5 cm & greater (maybe they meant mm), but I know thats not true because the sarcoma was 2.5 cm.  Dr Linn says hopefully these new "nodules" are fibrous tissue since they didn't light up on the PET.  Its all confusing right now!  Once we have pathology from the breast and sarcoma we will meet again with the Family Cancer Risk experts - may as well wait a bit for that until we have all the info.

I'm not mad.  I'm not sad.  I'm not scared.  I'm not worried, really.  More I'm just dumbfounded.  I've been healthy as a horse my entire life - now 2 major issues in 1 month.  Feb 5th was Sunday - that was exactly a month since I found out about the synovial sarcoma.  By the way, the incision is still infected - it doesn't look too good.  But the pain is substantially better.  I am only taking pain meds except tylenol in the evenings as it is pretty swolen & painful after a day of activity.  I'm not spending much time in the recliner now, pretty much out & about most of the day which is wonderful.  My left thigh and hip are very sore - part of the healing process I believe.

We picked up my Dad at the airport today.  He's pretty happy to be with his two kids and Kendall and the girls.  Its great to see him.

I also wanted to express some appreciation here - I am again reminded how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful family and friends.  Yesterday we got a beautiful box of delicious treats from DeeDee, one of my colleagues and dear friends in California.  Tonight a friend is making us dinner (thanks Heather & Rick!).  And I know there is a box on the way from Chicago full of yummy stuff.  Mom sent us a beautiful ham to enjoy this week.  And I know God was at work when we decided to send Eriana & Emilia to FRA.  Eriana's teacher has been truly a God-send during all this.  Not only is she looking out for my little pumpkin during the day, but Karen & her co-teachers sent us a delicious dinner last week and now she is sending us another one on Friday!  Karen, we love you.  Last week, Emilia's dean called to see how I was doing.  The love and caring that we have felt from FRA has been tremendous to say the least.  And there are so many other acts of love and kindness - too many to list here but everything from flowers to fruit baskets to cards to the awesome facebook & email messages to special gifts.  Its overwhelming when I stop and think about it.

I've learned a lot about people in this journey so far.  Friends who I was sure would be right by my side through thick and thin have all but disappeared.  Others who I knew sort of casually but didn't consider close friends have been such pillars of strength for me.  I am not sure I will ever take anything at face value again.  Which is a wonderful outcome of these trials and tribulations - I have taken too much for granted in my life.  Not any more.

So, this news calls for some serious photo therapy!

This is a picture from our trip to Port St Joe 2 summers ago.  There are lots of wonderful women in this picture - especially my dear friend, Mindy, her daughter Kyra and step-daughter Cameron.  And of course my 2 nieces and my own 2 girls.  And our crazy dog Jessie.  I love the sheer happiness this photo reflects.
Love this one too.  This is the 4 of us on a boat we rented for a day (this swimsuit will NEVER fit me again!).  Again, more pure happiness.  I remember this boat day very well - we scalloped and scalloped and scalloped then ate our delicious catch when we got back to the house.  I remember Eri jumping off the boat into St Joe Bay & shouting at the top of her lungs "I'm so excited."
And this one is of me & my favorite sister.  Mike's wife, Cara.  We call her "Aunt Carrot" because Eriana used to think her name was Carrot, not Cara.  I adore Cara.  Not only is she a fabulous wife for my bratty brother and a spectacular daugther & sister, but she is an amazing mom to Julianna & Caraline.  And she is a huge role model for me.  She is so fit and so dedicated to being fit, it serves as a huge inspiration to me.  She provides me with constant words of encouragement, which I need and treasure.  I love the time I get to spend with Cara and its quite common to see us sitting like this with big smiles on our faces when we are together.

Right now we are in the process of selecting our house for this summer's week at Port St Joe.  The more I think about it, the more I cannot wait.  Thanks for reading...


  1. Judy, I wish I could do more than just send a comment every now and then, but I want to thank you for letting me follow you on this awful journey. I am shocked at the news and am praying more for you and your family.

  2. When my mom was going through treatment, her motto was "Dis-ease is a body not AT ease." It allowed her to take a step out of "Mommy" role and focus on herself, because if she was stressed, it would make her healing slower. This is the time to sit back, take care of YOU, and let all of us on Team Judy handle the rest of the world's crap. (Lots of pedicures and wine are in order!)


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