Monday, October 17, 2022

Pinktober hit home this year....


It's been a crazy year 2022 here at Lizard Creek Quilting...I hadn't had a mammogram in a few years and my dear husband was on my case to schedule one. I finally listened and had one the beginning of April. Four days later on our 36th wedding anniversary the clinic called there was an area in my right breast that needed a closer look. 

So another 4 days later we went to the breast center for an ultrasound that showed a biopsy was needed to confirm the suspicion of C.A.N.C.E.R. Yes, those are all caps--because when that word is said in the small dark ultrasound room it is like a piercing arrow right into your soul. The breast center wanted us to come back another day for the biospy but we persisted the clinic had told us we could have it done the same day if needed. They looked again and were able to do the needle biopsy that afternoon. We learned right away to be our own advocates and politely but vigorously ask for what we wanted. 

Another four days later the results came back as positive. Next appointment would not be for another 2 weeks. We also learned that there is a lot of hurry up and wait in this process. 

What a whirlwind of emotions happened in those 2 weeks. Not knowing anything--the kind of cancer--the extent of the tumor--how will our kids and family handle this--what does the future hold!! Just waiting....with the mind going to all the dark places the devil takes it to. Lots of crying. Lots of hugs.  Not much eating. Lots and lots of prayers. Assembling an army of prayer warriors was one of the first things we did after hearing the biopsy results. Through group texts we asked them to pray for wisdom to the medical personel and peace of mind for us. These were the longest 2 weeks we have ever done, but we also felt the strong arm of the Lord holding us up.

An MRI of both breasts was done the day before meeting with the breast care team. These results came back the same day--the left breast was clear and only the one tumor in the right. What an answer to prayer that was. 

Meeting with the breast surgeon was terrifing and peaceful all at the same time. Scarey for what was to come--but peaceful because it was time to know. We were told the tumor was small and if it had to be cancer it was the "good" kind. Not agressive and very treatable. The wonderful surgeon left the room for a few minutes to give us some time alone to absorb that information so we would have a clear mind to hear the rest of the treatment plan.

ER+ PR+ HER2-  are new words that would now be part of my medical history. The tumor was estrogen based so a daily estrogren inhibitor pill would be part of the treatment plan. 

Next appointment of the day was meeting with the plastic surgeon to figure if a lumpectomy or mastectomy would be needed. We went into the meeting thinking--just take them off so the cancer can't come back. But did you know that 10% of breast tissue is left with a mastectomy--and well I was very well endowed in the breast department--so 10% of my leftover would be about 85% of someone elses' whole breast--LOL. Also we did not know that breast implants have to be replaced every 8-10 years or that they can rupture on impact. I lead a quite active lifestyle of riding motorcycle and working hogs on the farm with my husband so the surgeon strongly advised us to go the lumpectomy with bilateral reduction route. 

Surgery was scheduled about four weeks later on May 26. If you were paying attention--we are farmers--so this was spring planting and also hog work season!! I took this time to help my husband on the farm, deep clean my house with my mom, prepare some freezer meals with my daughter, cut out some quilt kits in case I could sit at the machine after surgery, walked many miles to strengthen my body and spent time in Gods' Word to calm my mind. I found a verse I had never read before and it became what I would and still do say to myself whenever I get scared.

"Go in peace, for the Lord is watching over your journey." Judges 18 : 6

May 26 arrived--the day the cancer would be removed from my body!! Right before surgery, Nuclear Medicine injected a dye into the nipple area of my right breast to check for lymph node involvment--the procedure is called Sentinel Node mapping. Two nodes were taken out during surgery--both came back clear and the removal of the tumor proceeded. Because the lymph nodes were clear I could have my radiation done right DURING surgery. The radiologist came into the surgical room, set up the radiation machine right over the spot in my open breast where the tumor had just been removed and zapped the area for 1 minute 23 seconds. It's called Intra Operative Electron Radiation Therapy-- IOeRT. This was such an answer to prayer!!! The plastic surgeon and breast surgeon worked on me both at the same time--one worked on getting the tumor out of the right breast while the other worked on reducing the left one and finished reducing the right one. Surgery was about 4 hours. Then 1-1/2 hours of recovery. THEN THEY SEND YOU HOME!!! Yeah that was something!!! 

Healing went well. Lots of patience, lots and lots of walking and lots of return appointments. An ONCO score test was done on the tumor to determine if chemotherapy would be needed. My score was well below the number where chemo would be helpful. Many many prayers of thanksgiving for that. We took the motorcycle to the Praire Center for our last plastic surgeon appointment as my way to "ring the bell".
The first photo in this post is the arrangement we brought to the plastic surgeon on our last visit. The zinnias I planted this spring were just a regular mix--but somehow the Lord decided that I needed a whole mix of pink zinnias this year!!! The jar is the acutal one I used the oil from to massage into the surgical scars--she thought that was pretty cool. 

I have been taking the medication Anastrazole for about 3-1/2 months now and will take it for 5 years. The medication comes with it's own share of ups and downs. Ups--it keeps the estrogen from attaching to fat cells and making new cancer cells in my body. Downs--it messes with my balance, sleep, emotions, causes a constant ringing in my ears and can eventually cause osteoporisis. 

But through it all the Lord, my family and friends have been with me!! Faith over Fear is the only way I have gotten through the last 6 months and the only way I can look to the future!! 
If anyone has questions about this--please don't hesitate to ask me!!! And schedule your mammogram!!!

Quietness is the pattern of mine I chose to work with for this project. The pattern and 10" stackers are available in my shop
I am a huge basket quilt lover and a straight set quilt is even better!! The pink clips kept each set together.

Blanket stitching the handles. Made prettier with the Aurifil thread.

Love me some Island Batik fabrics!!!

Quietness with Hope and Heart!! It's not quilted yet as the balance issues from the Anastrozole caused me to tip over and break a bone in my foot 2 weeks ago!! Yeah so there's that!! Anyway I love the finished project and can't wait to get back on my feet so I can quilt it.

"But the Lord stood with her and gave her strength." 2 Timothy 4 : 17

Thank you again to all the sponsors and those who shared their stories on this blog hop. Please check out the others below!!

Jennifer Thomas-Monday, October 3rd

Lisa Pickering -Tuesday, October

Maryellen McAuliffe -Thursday, October 6th

Emily Leachman - Monday, October 10th

Jane Hauprich -Tuesday, October 11th

Marlene Oddie - Wednesday, October 12th

Gail Sheppard - Thursday, October 13th

Jerry Stube - Friday, October 14th

Brianna Roberts- Monday, October 17th

Terri Vanden-Bosch - Tuesday, October 18th

Mania Hatziioannidi - Wednesday, October 19th

Laura Piland -Thursday, October 20th