Sunday, February 11, 2007

Initial email sent to family and friends

There is no easy way to say this, except to just come out and say it…. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Friday, February 2. I will be having a lumpectomy on Wednesday, February 14 – Happy Valentine’s Day! – at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. I may or may not have to spend the night.

After a 2 – 4 week recovery, I will be having 6 weeks of radiation. Depending on the results of the final pathology, I may or may not need chemotherapy. Naturally if I need chemo, that will extend my treatment time.

Even though one never wishes to have cancer of any type, I am encouraged on several points.

  1. I had a “clean” mammogram in August, 2006. Therefore the lump is fairly “new”.
  2. According to the ultrasound, the lump is 1.5 cm which is below the 2.0 cm “threshold” for stage I cancer. Although they can not determine the actual stage until after the surgery and the final pathology comes in.
  3. The lump is very close to the skin.
  4. There have been many advances in breast cancer surgery in the last several years. One important innovation is they now inject the breast with a radioactive dye. Using a Geiger counter, the surgeon can pin point the lymph nodes that drain the cancerous area. Only those lymph nodes are removed for testing. If cancer cells are detected, then additional action is taken. Because of this innovation, the risk of lymphoedema (swelling of the arm) is reduced.
  5. My doctor is Dr. Mary Christian. She is a “breast specialist”. I had no idea that such a specialty even existed! She is a very competent doctor who deals exclusively with diseases of the breast. She says she sees 100 new breast cancer patients every year.

I feel very lucky to have such wonderful friends and family. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.

3 comments:

Felicia L. Dart said...

Shawn,

Sorry to hear your news, but it sounds like you are in good hands. I have faith you will get through this with family, friends and prayer. There maybe days when you will feel all alone just rembember you are not. If you have to cry, cry, if you have to yell, yell and most of all treat yourself to something pretty every week. Treating yourself to something pretty is the most important part. It can be as simple as picking a flower. Please let me know if you need anything. I make pretty good cookies, and I can make some for you anytime. My phone # is 504-723-7757 call if you need something. Have a great day.

Felicia

Jeanene said...

Hi Shawn,
You probably don't know me...but Donna Jones is a very good friend of mine. She passed on the info about your site and the fact we share something in common.
I too was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2005. My surgeon was Mary Christian. Matter of fact I saw her yesterday. She is wonderful. She preformed two lumpectomies on me. My oncologist is Dr. Miletello and my radiologist is Dr. Russell. I loved them both. You are in good hands!
You are very blessed to have so many friends and family to support you. You will get thru this....I promise! Take it one day at a time.
If you ever need someone to talk to that understands what you are going thru or if you have questions about treatment, please feel free to call me. My number is 225-773-8030.

Jeanene said...

Oh I forgot to include my main email.... it's jfreeze1@cox.net
Hugs,
Jeanene Freeze