Archive for Diagnosis

Did You Just Say “Breast Cancer”?

Shock"Although we still need to run some tests, I think it is clear to all of us that we are dealing with breast cancer."

These words came from a man I barely knew, whom I had met just an hour before these words were spoken. This man is my breast cancer doctor. His words shattered my confidence and belief in my own ability to live forever. In a single moment, my life flashed in front of me, my plans for the future were called into question, and the happiness I had begun my day with was suddenly and completely overshadowed by these terrifying words.

Who am I, and why am I telling you my story?

My name is Sylvie. I am an ordinary 36 year old Canadian woman. I am the mother of three teenagers. I own my own business and my home is my office. After 12 years of being a single mom, I am getting married in a few days, to the man who is my soulmate, The One I have been waiting for my entire life. Until today, my future was bright and full of incredible promise. And now, I face an uncertain and frightening future.

I have been diagnosed with breast cancer

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Tests Are In, The Doctors Are Certain

MRI - Magnetic Resonance ImagingMonday was the day that I was scheduled for breast MRI tests. This is one of many different types of tests I will be undergoing in the coming weeks, months, and probably years.

Such a strange experience, and not exactly what one might expect.

First, when the nurse was scheduling me, she asked the weirdest questions, like “Have you ever had metal in your eye”. Metal in my eye? I tried desperately to remember any instance in my childhood that might have resulted in me having any shards of metal that I may have forgotten. Apparently, this machine consists of such a powerful magnet that if I had ever had metal in my eye…well let’s just say it would have removed itself during the MRI. Blecch!

So needless to say, I was a bit nervous when the test began. I fervently hoped I hadn’t forgotten some lead pencil accident or something. Strangely, I squinched my eyes closed, hoping that if I had forgotten anything, I wouldn’t experience anything awful (as if keeping my eyes closed would actually help).

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My Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Medical chart cancer diagnosisThe day we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. On Sept. 20th, we had an appointment with the surgeon to go over the “autopsy” results. They did the pathology and biopsy on the removed breast tissue and Wednesday, they delivered the results in a neatly typed 8 x 10 envelope.

Honestly, we were hoping for better results. Up until this point, we had no idea whether or not the cancer had invaded my lymph nodes, and we were praying that it hadn’t and that it had been caught in time. We weren’t really prepared for any other news.

So, the reality of how far this cancer had gone really hit us rather hard. We’re still reeling from it.

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Life Happens Between Appointments

Hospital Waiting RoomAfter the diagnosis, Michel and I took the time we needed to absorb it all and deal with it on an emotional level. We were in waiting mode, waiting for the first appointment with the oncologist who would tell us what kind of chemotherapy treatment regimen would be required. We were waiting for the first appointment with the radiologist who would tell us how the radiation treatments would be administered. And we were waiting for test results to tell us what type of hormone therapy I would be given.

The waiting is one of the most difficult things we need to deal with. Waiting to get more information. Waiting to find out what happens next. Waiting to learn how long I’ll be going through this.

Waiting to “live“ again.

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Drugs, Fuzziness And Tattoos

Ring my bellChemo is finally over. Woot!

No more boring, six-hour-long days spent in the chemo ward… no more burning arms from intravenous chemicals coursing through my veins… no more mouth sores, numb toes and red eyes caused by those few remaining eyelashes accidentally falling into my eye socket.

And, best of all, no more fuzziness caused by that all-too common side-effect: chemo brain.

I’ve had eight chemo sessions in all. It’s been a really tough five months, not so much with the chemo itself but with its after-effects, ranging from complete exhaustion to complete hairloss. My failed attempts to retain whatever strands of hair I have left on my body seem like a constant, losing battle.

Thankfully, we’re done. And the hair will start growing back in. (Michel, my wonderful husband, seems to have noticed a peach-fuzz-like growth on my scalp the other day. Ah, I knew I loved him for a reason!)

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