Thursday, August 23, 2012

Breast Cancer update

First and foremost, the most exciting thing is my hair is growing.  My right eyebrow is growing faster than the left.  I don't have the heart to pluck those crazy random misplaced ones because I have gone so long without them.  I now only use eyeshadow to darken where the eyebrows are growing back instead of using the eyebrow pencil.  I don't think I ever became friends with that thing.  So, do you want a glimpse?

I have a lot more gray growing amongst my brown.  I'll take a little salt and pepper.  My son said we could always buy one of those boxes of color at the store :)  My daughter still is calling me bald. 

So, to update you on the latest of this journey.  I have been doing physical therapy since the surgery.  I have finally regained my normal range of motion.  I needed to get my arms above my head in order to start my radiation.  Goal met.  Big cheer for me.  I am starting to work on strengthening my arms back up.

About 2 weeks ago, I get a call from my oncologist's office asking if I could come in the next day in the afternoon.  I said, 'oh, did I forget an appointment?'  The response was no.  I then ask when was I suppose to see Dr. Mayers next, the receptionist said not until October.  I ask what my oncologist wants to see me for.  Of course the receptionist tells me, I just have a note that she would like to see you tomorrow afternoon.  I say okay and start freaking out.  My mind kicks into high gear thinking oh no this can't be good.  She got the wrong pathology reports and is going to tell me I need more chemo.

What can I say?  I am only human, right?  So it is a long night and day until finally the appointment time arrives.  It is actually good news (kinda of, sort of).  In the beginning of all of this, I was tested for HER2 + or HER2-.  My results came back equivocal.  So, I was considered neither.  Well, my oncologist reviewed my new pathology report from the double mastectomy again and found that my HER2 number registered 2.  You are considered HER2+ at 2.2 allowing for a drug Herceptin to add to treatment. 

You ask what does all this mean right?  Well, being HER2+ means that my cells have mutated allowing cancer to grow more aggressively.  Therefore, making my cancer more likely to reoccur.  My oncologist talked with my insurance and they are allowing me to take this Herceptin.  It is amazing the first pathology from the lymph node surgery rated HER2 at 1.7 and after the mastectomy, they pulled out a lucky cell to test that came back closer to the HER2 diagnosis.  Sounds confusing and not good, but to me, I have another weapon in my arsenal against this cancer.  Herceptin is suppose to work very well.  I will hooked up to an IV every 3 weeks for a year.  I feel lucky to have such a great oncologist that would review my chart again and catch this.  She is on it!

This week I start Herceptin.  I only experienced a low-grade fever and being knocked out by the benedryl given in case of allergic reaction to the drug.  I  got my left expander deflated about 150ccs to get ready for radiation.  Next Monday I get my mold made for radiation.  Then hopefully get started on my 28 sessions of radiation, wait for my skin to heal, trade out my expanders for implants and get my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed at the same time, finish my herceptin by next August, and hopefully be cancer free the remainder of my life.  Wow!  What a journey.  God never said life would be easy, but I am sure glad he is here with me.

Remember ladies, check yourself.  Know your body so you can detect things early.  Best wishes that you all are junking, thrifting, and creating while I still wait to get approved to lift more than 5 pounds.  Can't wait to do at least one project.  Who knows, I will figure something out.


  1. Keeping you in my prayers--you are so positive! That will help you get better. Best wishes!

  2. hi Julie - I've been thinking of you and wondering how things were going so thanks for the update. good to hear you are doing so wel and keeping upbeat.
    sending loving thoughts
    Fiona xx

  3. Hi Julie! I just found you, and I i think your story so inspiring. Your attitude and grace through your trials is wonderful, and a great testimony of your faith. Thanks for sharing.


  4. What a journey you have been are an amazingly strong woman!!!!! Stay positive and know I am praying for you every day :o)

  5. Breast cancer is one of dangerous disease among the women.Your information is really helpful for the women.Thank you for giving such a valuable information.
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  6. Glad to hear that you have a plan and a doctor that you have on your team! Sounds like you are continuing to fight this cancer thing and kick it out for good!
    Lots of prayers for you and fam coming from CO.

  7. Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog! I really appreciate it.

    I am so happy for you that you have survived breast cancer. I hope you can continue to keep fighting this awful cancer. Good luck for the future!

    Take care,

  8. What a blessing that your oncologist was so on top of your pathology reports! I love your hair regrowth. Looks like you've got a little bit more fuzz than I do at this point, hehe. Funny how much you take having eyebrows and eyelashes for granted until they're gone huh?? Lol!

    Anyway, your journey sounds like it's going to be a longer one like my own. While it IS a bummer, at least the both of us will come out of this both stronger and with an improved view on the precious value of our own lives. I consider that to be another blessing. :)

    Definitely praying and rooting for you!


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