Check Yo’Self!

Check Yo’Self!

Journal entry by megan steele — Aug 2, 2019

Spring was full of so many celebratory events for our family including a graduation for our youngest daughter and a wedding for our oldest. It was fun, it was amazing and when it was over, I was exhausted! It being the beginning of my Summer break, I was able to rest and “come down” from all the excitement that next week. And then… We ladies are told every year at our physicals to regularly “check for any abnormalities”. Honestly, I never do. But one night I just happened to notice a little something that wasn’t supposed to be there so I called my Doctor the next morning to see what she thought. She double checked, and sure enough there was a little something. She referred me to get a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound the next week (July 19). After the ultrasound, the doctor in radiology told me he didn’t feel good saying it was benign and he didn’t feel good saying it was malignant so we would need to do a biopsy. I was excited at this news because I love biopsies. 😕 I went in the next Friday (July 26th) for an ultrasound guided biopsy and the team that worked with me was great. When the biopsy was complete they took another mammogram and told me I’d have the results in about 2 business days. Jeramy and I skipped town for a few days to celebrate anniversary number 24 (Go Team!). On Tuesday morning (July 30), we were just tryna enjoy some fresh baked doughnuts when my Primary Doctor called with the results. I do, indeed, have breast cancer. She said other words too, but I had to call her later to ask what they were because I only heard the first part.😏 Jeramy and I spent this last day of our vacation trying to enjoy things while processing this news. It’s funny because we went to Little Zig Zag Falls. Please see the pictures below to see what the sign at the falls said! When God created things, He certainly knew what our fallen bodies would need.

Check Yo’Self!

Next I made an appointment for a surgical consult which will take place on August 8. Yesterday morning (Aug 1) I went to Salem Hospital’s Cancer Institute to speak with a “Navigator Nurse” (someone who answers my questions, helps me navigate this whole thing and helps me understand what this timeline will look like). She pulled up my pathology report and explained that this is the most common type of BC and treatment is very manageable. She said she’d be surprised if I even need chemotherapy. If we found a lump under my arm in addition to the one I already found, suggesting lymph nodes are effected, then I would probably need chemo. I started feeling under my arm before she finished her sentence, ha! I don’t feel anything there. We won’t know for certain until I meet with Surgeon next week what my journey will look like, but that was encouraging. She suspects I will likely have a lumpectomy and several weeks of radiation. Guys, lumpectomy surgery is a week of recovery and she said many women only take pain meds for about a day! This is when I knew I’ve watched way too much TV, because I had something far more daunting in my head. Radiation I can do on my lunch break, whatever. If it’s decided I’ll need a mastectomy, then surgery recovery would be approx. 3 weeks, chemo would be involved (which is so much more advanced than it used to be and far more manageable), and then

radiation. I’m crossing my fingers for the first option. She said when all is said and done they will shut off my estrogen and I’ll go back to my normal life. I wanted to throw confetti and wear a party hat at this news. I’ve been under estrogen’s ugly thumb for years now. Anyone who knows me, knows the debilitating migraines I get that keep me from work, life, etc. Buh Bye. So this is what I know and what I’ve walked through so far.

The outpouring of prayer and encouragement has been such a blessing. God has been amazing through this and his timing never ceases to amaze me. The fact that I got to enjoy my kids’ graduation and wedding without this cloud hanging over us? Thank you, Lord. The fact that I got to rest for a week before moving on to this next thing? Praise God. The fact that this all came down during the one month I can focus on myself and figure this out? Hallelujah! The best God moment? The mammogram after my biopsy, the tech said, you wanna come see? I love this sort of stuff. Yeah, I wanna see. We stood there, side by side… and saw nothing. There was literally nothing noteworthy to see. (I know for a fact this mass is approx. 2cm in size because I watched the ultrasound the week before…and here I don’t see a thing.) I was to have my first routine mammogram this first week of August. If I hadn’t felt it for myself (Ladies, pay attention to what I’m saying), I would’ve simply gone to my routine appointment, and I don’t think anything would’ve been spotted. I wouldve just kept bebopping along, never knowing what was brewing inside of me. It was like God said, “Hey, Sweetie. I need you to pay attention to something here. But I gotchu.” I just love Him.

A couple things I’m already learning. I know that I tend to put far too much value in comfort and safety. Sometimes they become my gods. That is now being addressed as I live on the edge. I also like the illusion of control. I tend to rip the pen out of God’s hand and start scribbling in my book. But He knows the beginning, middle and end of my story. Currently, He is gently removing the pen from my hand so he can continue to write my story. He’s always been a better Author than me, anyway. And I know that it’s tough crap like this that births new and holy things in me that, after I’ve been through it, I wouldn’t trade for anything. So I’m looking forward to whatever better (estrogen-free) version of myself I’ll be after this.

Check out my breast cancer resources page.

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