An explanation...

Why Foob? I had a double mastectomy, and at the time, the plastic surgeon put "expanders" under the muscles in my chest. Every 2-3 weeks, they were filled with more saline, in preparation for my reconstructive surgery. They were very full and hard. Uncomfortable. One time, one of my sons gave me a hug and then said "Your foobs are hard!" Hee, hee, hee! My kids have this endearing habit of combining words. So, "Foobs" are fake boobs. Which I will still have, even after the reconstruction.

Foob Babe - that would be me!
"The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next." ~Mignon McLaughlin


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Saturday, April 25, 2009

What's wrong with me? July 2008

I've been wanting to go back and document my entire cancer journey. I didn't start blogging about it until 4 months into the journey, when I cut my hair off. So, here is the start of my breast cancer journey...

In July of 2008, I became very sick. I was having some bad pains in my lower body and just didn’t feel very good. Earlier in the year, I had a bladder/kidney infection, and I felt the same way, so I thought that’s what was wrong with me. I went to see the doctor because I knew I’d need an antibiotic to clear the infection up. I didn’t get to see my regular doctor. The doctor who was working at the time thought it was a bladder infection and gave me an antibiotic to help. The infection cleared up, but 3 weeks later it came back. So I went back to the doctor's office. He asked me when I had last had a pap smear. I told him in had been 3 years (right before my hysterectomy). He suggested I have that done so we could see if there was a different problem. I decided that I should probably have a mammogram, too. It had been 3 years since my last one as well. It was just kind of an afterthought - it had nothing to do with the problem I was having (which I thought had something to do with my cervix). So, they did the pap smear and found that my cervix was quite inflamed and gave me some more antibiotics. Then a few days later they did a mammogram. A few days after the mammogram, I got a letter that said they had seen something on the mammogram - there were some white spots back by the chest wall and they wanted a better look. It made me very nervous – ok, let’s be honest, it made me scared.

Before going back for a second mammogram, I had an appointment with a gynecologist to discuss the problem I was having with the pain and infection of my cervix. While talking to him, I mentioned receiving a letter that suggested I have a second mammogram. He told me that it was very normal to get those letters. That it happened all the time. In fact, his wife had received one of those letters and when she went back, everything was fine. He said that most of the time there is nothing wrong. So, he made me feel better about it. I wasn’t as scared.

When I got to the hospital for the second mammogram, I got ready and went into the mammogram room. I hate having mammograms. They are very uncomfortable. I asked the technician if she could show me the first mammogram films so that I could see the white spots. She showed me and said that we were lucky that they had even shown up, because they were so far back against the chest wall. She took some more pictures. It really hurt.. I remember the techs were feeling bad and kept apologizing. They had to pull my breast super far away from my chest and they use some attachments that really hurt. After the radiologist looked at the pictures, he called me back to talk about it. He showed me that there was a large group of white spots, called calcifications, in my left breast. He felt that it would be smart to get a biopsy done - just in case there was something called DCIS there. DCIS is ductal (in the milk ducts) carcinoma (any cancer of the skin or tissue) in situ (Latin for in its original place). He said that if it was DCIS, it would be smart to cut it out of there, because if it’s left, it can grow into invasive cancer. So, I made an appointment to see a surgeon. The journey begins…

After this all happened, I began to realize that had I not kept getting infections in the cervix, I would never have gone in to be checked, never would have decided to get a mammogram, and never would have found the calcifications. I started to see God’s hand in my life – it really was a miracle that we found the calcifications. This was the start of many miracles to come.

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