Tag Archives: Prevention

Am I Old or Not?

Before I get to explaining the title of this post I will provide you with an update. I am five days post-chemo and for the most part holding up well. I have had fatigue and in the last few days some nausea has set in. I have lost some taste, which is for sure a bummer when it comes time to eat. Things I love no longer taste good such as my beloved Dr. Pepper or Whataburger. I don’t need those things anyway, so maybe it is a blessing. I pray this is how each infusion will go, but I am fully prepared for the symptoms to increase as I continue to receive treatments. This is my off week of chemo. I will go on Tuesday to have blood work done to make sure everything looks good and then next Tuesday will receive cycle two of four of the AC chemo.

Now to the title of the post. This will require some back story, but it is something that has brought a laugh to me over the last few weeks.

Eli, who will be two in December, was a complete and total unexpected blessing to our family. When I became pregnant I was a young 34 years old. At my first appointment with the OB she informed me that since I would turn 35 while pregnant that I became a bit higher risk. In the state of Texas, a “geriatric pregnancy” is defined as anyone pregnant over the age of 35. I remember thinking, man, I thought I was in prime child bearing years at 35. Who knew that made me high risk. Throughout my pregnancy my age was talked about on numerous occasions. They continued to use the term geriatric, which absolutely cracked me up. The pregnancy was fairly routine. I did end up having gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. All this combined with my “old” age meant I would be induced and have our beautiful baby boy at 37 weeks. No complaints from me as that meant three less weeks pregnant and it put him coming in just under the wire to be able to claim him on our 2018 taxes.

Fast forward to today. I was diagnosed with invasive ducal carcinoma breast cancer roughly a week after I turned 37. From the very first visit with the surgeon to the visits with all the other physicians who would treat me, my age was again a factor. This time for the opposite reason. You are so young. It is not common for someone under 40 with no real family history to get breast cancer. Actually, the median age of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer in America is around 62 with most diagnosis being those age 55-64. So I am a good 20 years too young for breast cancer. This just proves that cancer does not discriminate or follow any rules. We know that my genetics are not the cause of my cancer, but we may never know what did cause it.

You often hear that God works in mysterious ways and His plan is perfect. I truly believe this. At the time we laughed at the thought of “starting over” with a new baby. We had a junior in high school, a third grader, and a newborn. Who does that? Now, two years later, I know exactly why Eli came along. I feel God put him in our lives for three specific reasons.

First, simply, our family was not complete. God knew we needed the little firecracker to keep things exciting! Both of his brothers adore him so much and the feeling is mutual. His best friends are his big brothers. his dad and I are pretty fond of the little dude as well. He brings so much joy to our home.

Second, I do not believe I would have found the cancer had he not been born. I breastfed Eli for roughly 9 months. I would like to say i am fairly in tune with my body. When I stopped breastfeeding I noticed that things on my right breast felt different. I don’t know how to describe it, it was just not normal. I brushed it aside thinking it was my body trying to dry my milk up and that the harder spot was a clogged milk duct or something. When that lump began to become larger and more uncomfortable I questioned if it was related to breastfeeding or something else. I still put off talking to my doctor for longer than I should. Hindsight is always 20/20. I have learned that tumors like mine take years to be able to be felt by hand. This mass could have been there while pregnant and while breastfeeding. I have no idea if feeding Eli caused it to grow faster or if it just made me more aware of what was going on in my body, but thanks to breastfeeding this beautiful baby boy, I found the lump. It was still nearly a year later before I brought it to the attention of my physician, because, again, I was making excuses for what it was. I mean, I was too young to have breast cancer, right? When a few other things had been ruled out, I knew it was time to speak up. So glad I did!

And third, God put Eli in our lives to get us through this fight. Not that my other two boys aren’t worth fighting for, they absolutely are, but having another kid, especially one so young, makes you want to fight harder. I want to see all my kids graduate high school, start college, get married, and have their own kids. To do that I need a good 20 more years in my own life. God gave us Eli, so full of energy, to help fight the fatigue that chemo would bring. It is hard to sit idle when you have a 22-month old terrorizing the house. It is hard to be sad and down on yourself when you have an innocent little guy giving you “cheesy grins”.

Look at the cheesy grin!

While one speciality might think I’m too old for babies and another that I’m too young for cancer, I know that God has a perfect plan for my life and I trust Him. The path may not always be clear and straight. There will be detours and obstacles, but we must trust in our Lord to get us to the end of the race.

Happy October

How is it possible that it is October already. This year is a blur, but specifically the last two months. Our journey with breast cancer began roughly two months ago when I had the first mammogram and sonogram. Chris and I were talking recently and both discussed how little we really remember about August and September. It was a whirlwind. I feel like we had enough appointments to take up a year in the last two months and we are really just getting started.

I have proof it was a blur. I was looking back through blog posts the other day and realized I had discussed surgery day in detail in two separate blog posts. I questioned why no one told me! Apparently, I wrote the post entitled “Surgery Day” in the middle of the night following my surgery. I have ZERO recollection of writing that post. The way Chris tells it, when he woke up about seven that morning I asked him to proof a blog post I had written overnight. He did, and I posted it. I must say, for someone who has no recollection of doing this, I am proud of my writing abilities while apparently highly medicated. Chris. And I got some good laughs when discussing this and my genuine shock of not remembering it. While this instance was because of medication,, the rest of the last two month feels much the same. This is one of the reasons I am blogging the experience,, so that we can look back later and remember..

Recovery from surgery has been interesting. I wouldn’t say it’s been horribly painful, but a better word would be uncomfortable. There is swelling, mostly under my arm. There is a tightness as I try to move and regain full range of motion, but I’m getting there. My drain and stitches were removed on Monday. I was nervous about pain associated with that process and there was none. The nurse had told me to just stop in and they would take care of it. I was in and out in ten minutes and got a surprise visit by Dr. B. I did not expect to get to see her, but she stopped in to make sure I was doing okay and removed my stitches. Once the drain came out I was told that I had no restrictions. I was allowed to do whatever I felt like doing. I still have been taking it easy, but did manage to make tacos for dinner the other night. I am trying to be as active as possible leading up to chemo beginning. But don’t worry, I. am not overdoing it!

My doctors all told me that exercise is important. The weather is providing a perfect environment to get out and walk around the neighborhood so that is what the boys and I did yesterday.. The pandemic has prevented us all from getting out and doing things, but we have no excuses now that summer is over for not getting outside for fresh air and sunshine!!

Finally, as most of you are probably aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I hope to do some specific posts about awareness and prevention so stay tuned for those.