Armed With New Information

First of all, I need to say THANK YOU to everyone for the outpouring of love and support after my last post.  You sure know how to make a girl feel better!!  I swear, having stage 4 cancer, has turned me into a total hypochondriac.  It’s crazy.  But you never know…

And thanks for the wise suggestion to bring someone along with me to Chicago.  Alas, I did not listen to your suggestion and went by myself anyway.  But I realize it’s always good to have an extra set of ears with you.

This time though, I just NEEDED some alone time.  All you moms (and caretakers) know what it’s like…  Having to constantly be there for someone else…  Never having time to yourself…  But the alone time is so important!  And that’s just what Chicago was for me.  Alone time.  Regroup time.  Just sit & be still with my thoughts time.

The trip was just what I needed!  In so many ways.  And I really do love that town.  There were moments of pure joy that I experienced on the streets of Chicago that brought tears to my eyes.  No city, other than NYC, has ever made me feel that way.  I’m dying to go back and explore more.

Interestingly enough, I may just get the chance to do that…  The big news coming out of my visit to the Block Center is the decision to get surgery.  Yep, I’ve decided to get a mastectomy.   Both the team in Chicago, and the team in NY, are suggesting I have surgery to remove the final remaining tumor in my left breast.  Although this isn’t standard protocol for stage 4 folks, they think it may be helpful for someone in my situation (with no more mets and only a small tumor remaining in my breast).  The doctors at the Block Center cited new research saying surgery does help improve lifespan in metastatic breast cancer patients.  So I’m going for it.

Tomorrow I’m making calls to get appointments with surgeons at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago and Sloan-Kettering in NY.  We’ll see which team feels right and take it from there.

The procedure would involve the removal of my entire left breast plus reconstructive surgery after to build me a new one, plus reducing my right breast to match.  I’m thinking about a full B cup.  Having been a DD most of my life I would love the chance to have smaller breasts…  Wear strappy sundresses…  Go bra-less if I feel like it…  Not have to get super constrictive and expensive sports bras for working out…  This could be a good thing!

The other good thing about it is that I get to go live in Chicago or NY temporarily!  Yay!!

Recovery from the surgery will be around 6-8 weeks (with the first 2-3 weeks being the most difficult).  Then I have to go back for weekly visits to check for problems and stretch the skin to make room for my breast implant.  How weird.  I’m gonna have “implants”.

I have to say I’m so glad I went to the Block Center.  It was great to get another opinion to balance out Ohio and NY.  And to get the confirmation that surgery is the way to go.  Not to mention, the amazing and detailed nutrition and supplement advice they gave me.  And the reassurance that I’m on the right path.  The entire staff there seemed knowledgeable, kind, and caring.  They assured me that there are a number of great options out there to treat the cancer if it ever does come back.  And they made sure to convey how amazing it was that I responded so well to treatment.  Dr. Mike said there must be a guardian angel watching down over me.  I replied, “Yep, that would be my mom.”

But the only way I am able to continue on this path of healing and miracles is because of the generosity and support of all of you.  I can’t even express how grateful I am that I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay my medical bills…  Or Miss M’s daycare bills…  Or worry about not getting the best medical care…   I can just take care of me.  Take care of my family.  Focus on getting better.  And make decisions about my health that are smart and informed without stressing about things like how I’m gonna pay for it or who will watch Miss M when I can’t…  I know it’ll get taken care of.  It’ll be ok somehow.

So thank you everyone.  Your support is helping keep me alive.

I am blessed.  Thank you.  – T



14 Responses

  1. You are a brave and beautiful woman. I will continue praying for you and your family everyday. I have not seen you in person for many years, but I remember you as a strong and intelligent young girl. You have grown into a remarkable strong woman who is helping so many others by sharing your story. All the best to you. Much love.

  2. I know we all just have to keep on truckin’, doing the best we can. But, Terri, you do it with grace and style, and that is so encouraging to me!

    Love you!

  3. A friend told me about your website and I can see how truly believe you are. And by seeing how strong your face is in your trial has made mine! Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey my pra yers will be with you every night! GOD BLESS YOU!

  4. Arming yourself with information is clearly THE way to go. How blessed we all are- those who love you dearly- that you have the insight, intelligence and perseverance to sift through the never-ending, oftentimes conflicting information in your quest to LIVE; fully, healthily and for a long, long time.

    So as you/we move forward, remember your extra set of ears is ready and waiting. Yes you do need alone time Terri, but remember, it doesn’t have to be centered around your treatment. Take it from your Auntie and your Mother- build that time in- we did- whether I was a working mother of 3 or your Mom was a working mother of 1- we carved out our sanctuary time, alone time, regroup time. You MUST too…

    Love to you from me and all of the GWA girls from Plymouth!

  5. hey, welcome to the juicebox club! (the chest drain post mastectomy, from my own and a friends, looks like a juice box LOL) I am glad you had a positive experience Hun :) I’ve had 13 surgeries so far and the patient/doctor experience, when positive, I swear speeds the healing! LOL least your surgery city options have nice recovery options… “honey, wheel me to the next theatre please… I believe cats is playing”

  6. What a huge decision you have made. I am so glad that are finding such great support and care in Chicago.
    And boy do I understand needing alone time. It is so important to recharge and pay attention to only you for a while!
    Xoxo, Ruby

  7. Cograts on your decision! I think that’s a great move!

    My best friend has had tits the size of her head since junior high and she recently (4 years ago) had voluntary breast reduction surgery, also going from DD to a full B. She says she’s never regretted it for one single moment!

    It will hurt for a while and stuff, but you’re used to that. And after the painful part is over you will feel so much lighter! (You’ll also be forced to buy yourself a whole new wardrobe – but we just have to learn to gracefully accept these little challenges as they come. You’ll get through it, somehow…)

  8. So happy to hear about your decision, and absolutely love the teams in NY and Chicago that are supportive and informational about this surgery! You are going to be just fine, and going down a few bra sizes sounds awesome! Love, hugs and kisses to you!!!

  9. So happy for you! Sounds like your trip was a success. You truely are a warior, one to be admired. I will always keep you in my prayers and hope that all your news will be good from here on. May God continue to bless you.

  10. Terri, you are going to do great with your surgery. I know you will find a terrific medical team to shepherd you through. And with all the support you have now and how INCREDIBLY you have done with all this so far, you are going to recover in no time. You can do this!!!

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