Update 7/31/12

There are lots of thoughts and life lessons that I could pull away from today to make a more meaningful blog post, but right now I'm just gonna tell you all the facts.  First of all, thank you so much for the prayers.  I went to bed last night feeling something very close to despair and woke up with peace and feistiness.  My breasts have shrunk quite a bit since I've finished weaning, so today in the mirror the biggest lump was visible after my shower.  This just put a fire and a determination inside me.  I started this day ready to figure out my battle plan to fight this disease.  The rest of the day was a mixture of blessings and hard information.

My mom and dad were with us during all this in Medford today, which was so comforting!  First we met with my surgeon, Dr. Faught.  He is very kind.  He told us that the MRI showed that the large tumor was bigger than they expected at 3.5 plus cm, and that there is what looks like cancer all throughout the left breast.  My left lymph nodes are swollen, which could mean cancer, but they won't know for sure until they do the surgery.  There is no cancer in my right breast.  We told him we wanted to do the double mastectomy, and he agreed that was the best path for someone my age who already has breast cancer.  Then he explained what the surgery will entail: He will remove all of my breast tissue, then he will remove one of my left lymph nodes.  There will be a pathologist present during the surgery who will do the pathology right there to see if it is cancerous.  If it's not, then the mastectomy part of the surgery is over.  If it is, then Dr. Faught will remove the rest of my left lymph nodes.  We asked him if we could have breast reconstruction done during the mastectomy and he said yes, but he'd have to coordinate a time with a plastic surgeon and he seemed unsure if he'd be able to do that in time as he felt we should hurry the mastectomy along since the cancer is growing.  He said we could meet with the plastic surgeon he recommended tomorrow.  We were disappointed since we didn't really want to come back to Medford again.  Once he remembered we were from Klamath, he said, "Hold on a minute" and left the room.  Then God started swinging doors right open.

Dr. Faught came in and told us that not only did he get it coordinated with the plastic surgeon to have my mastectomy and reconstruction in just two days, but the plastic surgeon was ready to meet with us for a consultation right now!  Thank the Lord for swift answers to prayers.

So, we met Dr. Kreul, the plastic surgeon, and he is also very kind and thankful he can help.  We watched a disturbing video about reconstruction, went breast implant shopping and talked through the process with the doctor.  There are still a lot of different ways the reconstruction process could go based on what happens during the surgery and what treatment I need after.

Which is the final bummer.  It is almost certain that I will need chemo and possibly radiation after I heal from the surgery.  It's been hard for us to adjust to the idea that this surgey is the beginning of the battle and not the final solution like were hoping.  And yet Ryan and I want to do what we need to do to have me come out on the other side cancer free.  We were also disappointed at how long the reconstruction process is going to take.  We are looking at an eight week process that will be delayed if I have to have radiation.  I think I was hoping that I would go in and loose my breasts...which would be sad...but that I'd come out with new breasts...which would help with the loss.  Despite this, we are willing to do these necessary steps to win this battle.

Thank you to all of you who have been blessing us more than we can say.  Your prayers, notes of encouragement and acts of generous kindness have lifted our spirits and literally been God's love to us this last crazy week.  And God is so good to have this all move so smoothly and quickly.  Last Thursday, I found out I have breast cancer and this Thursday, I'll begin the process to get rid of it.  God is not just an opener of doors, but truly He is a door demolisher.

Please keep praying and we'll keep you updated!