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A Season of Tears

Short version:

Surgeon is definitely leaning towards mastectomy as a preventative measure more so than treatment.

Had an MRI Monday

MRI came back with 2 more spots in the same breast, they wanted to biopsy them Friday.

Genetic testing came back inconclusive.

Option 1: Considering surgery to remove the spots and 30 treatments of radiation that's 6 weeks of treatment 5 days a week. With the current information that we have he said the likelihood of it returning from a starting point of 12% increases by 5% every year.

Option 2: Considering mastectomy but we will see, possibly single or double with reconstruction surgery. Only options that is a 100% cure.

Wednesday was radiologist appointment and oncology appointment.

Cancelled Fridays Biopsy.

Meeting with the Surgeon on Monday to discuss all the options now with more information.

My mom and I at one of the many appointments.

WOW!!! What a week!

Amazement, encouragement, love, awe… these are just a few of the emotions experienced in inviting all of you into this alongside us. The overwhelming reaction and encouragement from everyone around us in this has brought us to tears of gratitude. Thank you for your love and your support. We are nothing short of awestruck at the Lords love and provision through all of you.

Monday we met with the surgeon for the first time since the news exactly one week prior. Monday to Monday, it really is crazy how fast life can change. I know some of you have felt like it went from no big deal to this dramatic life spin, trust me, we feel the same! In the appointment with him Monday I think he mentioned my age close to 25 times, no exaggeration. Almost every statement was followed by because of your age….

So here’s the gist of the appointment if I can wrap it up. From the lumpectomy you have DCIS breast cancer, that is really nothing to worry about. The current treatment plan for DCIS is we remove more of the margins from the original area that we removed the lump and then you undergo 30 treatments of radiation for 6 weeks. That means you would come in for a 30 minute radiation treatment everyday(5 days/week) until the treatment is complete. But at your age the real concern is that it is likely to return. The average healthy women has a 12.5% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. With your current diagnosis your risk of it reoccurring increases by 5% every year. Now in a normal patient being 50+ years that is usually a percentage they can live with, but at your age it is extremely likely to come back and once we have done radiation treatment the surgeries only get more complicated.

For that reason mastectomy is on the table as a preventative measure, once we get all the tests back we can make a more directed medical plan.

After the meeting with the surgeon I went for the MRI to see if there are any other spots in my breast. Honestly I didn’t love the MRI experience. Yep! could have definitely done without that one! But here we are very very thankful for modern technology and the small discomforts it puts us through!

They had me lay on my stomach in a contraption that held my breast very tight and still with my face in one of those donut things that you see at the massage salons. They inserted an IV, so that they could see the lay of the land in the scans. The whole process was 23 minutes, the last 5 minutes of the scans they inserted the contrast into my IV. They stood me up and got me off the table and the coughing started. I tried to hide it and shake it off but it continued to get worse and worse as I was changing back into my normal clothes. With my mom close by keeping a watchful eye, she started talking to the nurses about my cough. They kept asking if it had started after the contrast…long story short I had a minor allergic reaction to the contrast. They called in a doctor, gave me some high dosage Benadryl, monitored me for roughly 30 minutes and sent me on my way!

After getting home and falling asleep from the Benadryl I received a call in my drowsy state. The sweet lady over the phone gave me the news as gently as she could manage. “Your MRI results are back, they found two more spots in the right breast that they want to biopsy” I was holding my breath to hear about the left breast. She explained where the spots are located within the right breast and told me that my appointment was scheduled for Friday, she paused and I asked the question that was echoing around in my head…So did they find anything in the left? She answered joyfully nope only in the right! I was flooded with relief, at this point I have already deemed my right breast the “problem child” I think I expected them to find more in the right, but we had no idea about the left. She hung up the phone and I fell back asleep until Caleb got home.

Caleb was relieved to hear they only found more within the same breast that I had originally had the cancerous spot removed. We already knew there would be more surgery with that one, so the news didn’t change much of anything. My mom on the other hand had a little bit of a hard time with the news. When I called and told her, I could hear the disappointment in her voice. Saddened to hear more bad news! She hates that I am going through all of this and really wishes she could take it from me. Daily that women shows me love in ways that are far beyond herself. She is with me at every appointment, with every tear I cry she cries with me. Every step of the way she is by my side.

She doesn’t know it but she is such a beautiful representation of Christ to me. In the same way that she helps to carry my burdens, Christ carried my burdens all the way to the cross. In the same ways that she wishes she could take this from me, He has taken it from me. What I deserve is to be eternally separated from my Lord, but what I receive through Christ is an eternal relationship with God. One where every tear will be wiped away and all illness and disease will exist no more. This life is but a breath of air and one day it will all come to an end. My mom and the beautiful unconditional ways that she loves me is just a glimpse into an eternity of the unconditional love of my Lord, paid for by the perfect sinless life of Christ in my place. He took the punishment I deserve, he took my place on the cross and rose from the grave, proclaiming sin and death have no power over me if I believe in him.

Tuesday was a semi-normal work day. I work part-time at Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center as the Volunteer Coordinator. I LOVE my job and every person I have the honor of working alongside in this ministry. I went into work and quickly became overwhelmed with love and care from my coworkers, every single one of them has been praying for Caleb and I throughout this process. They were eager to hear the most recent news, I think I cried on and off throughout the day probably 10 times just overwhelmed by genuine care! Around noon Judy Roderick, my boss called me into her office, along with Carter Mundy. She went on to explain that the Lord had placed it on her heart to make me full-time. She wanted to first make sure that the insurance would cover me right away, the very day that I accepted the position. She made a few calls over the weekend and had just received the confirmation that morning. If I wanted the position, it was mine.

My first reaction was “Judy, I can’t work full time! I can barely make 25 hours right now with all of my appointments and there is only more to come” She explained that they understand that, but the Lord is leading us to care for you in this season in this way. Once again overwhelmed my eyes welled up with tears, I couldn’t speak. I sat there as she went on to explain the new insurance scenario including an out of pocket max of $7,000. That, paired with our already accrued $10,000 in medical bills, is a much easier total to wrap our heads around than the thousands and thousands of dollars this would cost uninsured. She said it will be an increase of responsibility but that the staff would carry the weight of that in the times when I would be out for surgery. Still shocked and amazed all I could mumble through the tears now streaming down my face was thank you, thank you so so much!

Carter jumped in, talk to Caleb before you make a final decision and come back to us with your answer. I went into the conference room and called Caleb, explaining everything to him and how I truly believe this is the hand of the Lord providing for us. I could hear the wave of relief wash over him in the change of the tone of his voice. Holding back tears he said Praise the Lord!

I went back to Judy and said 100% yes! I accept the position!

She made the call and as of Tuesday I officially have health insurance! The Lord provides for his children, all Glory to Him!

Wednesday we had a total of 4 separate appointments, starting at 1pm ending at 5pm

  1. Radiation Oncology Nurse

  2. Radiation Oncology Dr. Moody

  3. Labs

  4. Oncology Dr. Magrinat (Caleb came with us to this one)

This was information overload to say the least, on top of sleeping terribly the night before! Mama and I both were exhausted. In the same day the results for the genetic testing came back basically with an inconclusive result. The summary says, Variant of Uncertain Significance identified in BRCA2(the gene they look at to see if there are any mutations for breast cancer) so those results will not lead our decisions on our next steps.

A summary of everything shared with us is we have 3 options

  1. Start Hormone therapy to prevent further growth of the cancer. Have surgery to remove more margins from original area + 2 other spots found in the right breast, 6 weeks of radiation.

  2. Single Mastectomy with reconstruction surgery (weighing the risk of developing cancer in the other breast).

  3. Double Mastectomy with reconstruction surgery.

We are still missing some information that could influence what decision we make, but Caleb and I believe based off of all the information shared with us up to this point from the doctors that we are really down to two options of single or double Mastectomy. For that reason we chose to hold off on the biopsy that was scheduled for Friday. We need more information before I go through another procedure (not a cheap one, to say the least).

Dr. Magrinat explained to us that the biopsy is to look and see if the other 2 spots found in the MRI are benign cells, non-invasive DCIS(like I already have), or Invasive Cancer. But if we are to have a Mastectomy already I see no need in going through a painful procedure when they can just get the results from the pathology report after. We meet with the Surgeon on Monday, he is the puppet master pulling all the strings, everyone else we have met with only holds a piece of the puzzle. In talking to him, we will find out if the MRI guided Wire Biopsy results will influence our decisions or if it was simply to confirm what they likely already know.

From there we will have a couple more consultations with doctors and likely make a decision within the next few weeks!

I have started calling this season, the season of tears(good and bad)! It is full of really high highs and really low lows but the Lord is my constant through it all! We have been so abundantly cared for through your prayers, he hears the prayers of his beloved people. Thank you to everyone who has blessed us financially, with the growing mountain of medical bills you have no idea what a gift it is to see the Lord providing through you! Please continue to pray for peace throughout every step and wisdom with the decisions that lay ahead!

We love you all very very much!

We are continuing to share the gofundme but with the help of insurance we don't believe our out of pocket medical bills will exceed $17,000 Praise the Lord! Its crazy to me that, that number now sounds low but we believe the bills could easily go beyond $60,000. Thank you again to everyone who has helped us, in this. Words cannot describe how thankful we are for you, truly thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts, Thank you!

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