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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Let's see how good I am at this...

So, here we very first blog post! Unfortunately for all of the followers that I do not have yet, I am exhausted, mentally and physically, and have no energy to be witty, funny, or to even attempt to insert pictures or links. And if you don't love emoticons, you should probably just stop reading my blog before you start because I love them and intend to use them...a lot :)

I think to get the ball rolling, I'll give you a quick test:  

1. Did I decide to start a blog to:
      a. let everyone know that I'm pregnant...with octuplets!
      b. keep you all up to date on my barefoot excursion through Siberia
      c. share my training plan for the 1000 mile run I plan to do next month
      d. break the news that I have breast cancer and keep everyone updated on the details

d? d you say? Yeah, sorry... there you have it. I. Have. Cancer.

And thank goodness that I do! My wonderful friend Kelly recently kicked cancer's ass and is now cancer free. We totally need someone in our circle of friends who can throw the cancer card when it's needed!! All joking aside (for just a brief moment), let's get to the nuts and bolts. I have told the story too many times already and I was just diagnosed on Monday. I will catch up on the diagnosis later when I'm not so tired, but what everyone wants to know is 'how did the appointment go today?' and 'what's next?'

I met with my surgeon, Dr. John Shook, today. Kelly came along to help me decipher what he was telling me and to be my rock. (I really think she just wanted to go shoe shopping and have drinks, so we did that too) :) Anyway, Dr Shook and his NP, Karen, ran me through the results of the path report and made some appointments for the upcoming week.  The important part of the results of the path report are that I have invasive ductal carcinoma and I am triple negative. The invasive ductal is the most common type of breast cancer. I've seen stats that say that nearly 80% of all breast cancers are this type. The lump that they removed last week was 1.3cm so this makes it a stage 1 tumor. (oh yeah, that's the tumor that I've been convincing you all was benign. Yup, same one) We don't yet know if it's in the lymph nodes or has metastasized. The path report also says that 'the tumor has the histologic features of those seen in BRCA1 and BRCA2 tumors'. I can't make this shit up, people. Just google it. Ok fine, I did it for you...

"A woman who tests positive for a BRCA mutation has an increased lifetime risk for breast and ovarian cancer and certain other cancers compared to women in the general population. "  

 So basically I've decided that if I am positive, I'm getting a bi-lateral mastectomy and a hysterectomy. Done. But we still don't have answers so cool your heels and don't go getting weepy on me. Those test results won't be back for 10 business days.

I've already gone all 'tangential' on you, haven't I? You're all hanging on my every word just waiting to hear what 'triple negative' means, right?!  I wish I had better news. It's not a good thing. You would surely think that as far as test results go, negative would be a good thing, right? Nope. Not in this case. I cut and pasted this to put words in my mouth:

Triple Negative: Tumors in young women often lack all three receptors. In other words, they test ER-, PR- and HER2/neu-, making them “triple negative.” Unfortunately, this eliminates some effective treatment options and creates one of the unique challenges young women with breast cancer face. Triple-negative breast cancer can be more aggressive and more likely to recur.
If your cancer cells test triple negative, your doctor knows to turn to other treatment options. Just as they have for countless other young women, options exist to help fight your cancer. Chemotherapy is most often the treatment approach for triple-negative cancers. Recent research has focused on the use of PARP (Poly ASP ribose polymerase) inhibitors in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. Many other treatments now in clinical trials may begin to offer additional options. 

I have reached my max on characters (or I'm just so ridiculously tired that I need to go to bed) so here's the long and short...

Tomorrow I have an MRI which I should get results on by Friday. Next Tuesday I meet with my medical oncologist, Dr. Belt, who will talk about and set up my chemo and the damn BRCA test results should be back before I'm 40...or in a couple weeks. I will update this as much as I can.

I love you all and am SOOOoo SO thankful that I seriously have the most amazing family, friends and coworkers (also friends :) ) that anyone could ask for. I would start naming names, but you all know who you are!!! Please know that I am happy and positive and feel stronger than ever with you all on my team. In the words of the awesome t-shirt Kelly wore in the Boston marathon and passed on to me: Hey Cancer, you picked the wrong bitch!


  1. You said you couldn't be witty or funny. I disagree. Laughter is the best medicine, and you have the best laugh! We're here for you. Much love, em

  2. Hmm Well said - that is better than your granola. Not sure if you should be an author or a cook!!!

  3. C'mon Shell, give me a little credit, I went with you for more than just the shoe shopping and liquor...I went to see your H-O-T breast surgeon!!! Love you!! XOXO

  4. Kick cancers ass and take some names! I may have told you once or twice how I admire how strong you are and all you do while other people sit as a bystanders in life. I know you probably don't feel that way right now because you're still in shock... But you can do this girl. And, we're all here to support you.

  5. Shelley I LOVE YOU!!!!! Kick cancers F*#@en ass would ya!!! Know I'm here anytime for YOU!! XOXOXOXOX

  6. Will be praying for you. Might even wear pink today....if I have anything pink. Loved your first are very courageous and an inspiration.

  7. Welcome to the blogosphere, Shelley. You can do it (by which I mean beat the boobie cancer and write an entertaining blog). Remember, there's no such thing as too much information or something that's too private. ;)