So where have I been?

I have been fighting breast cancer for the past 5 months.

I have not written for some time on my blog. I felt I should explain why.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer in the Spring of 2018. I have had  2 surgeries, 4 chemo treatments, and 20 radiation treatments.

I was perfectly healthy so…

I had no idea what was to follow after getting that message that my annual mammogram showed some calcifications from my family doctor.

The next few weeks were a blur of doctor appointments, scans, and two different hospitals. After reviewing all options, the treatment plan was outlined to have surgery to remove the section with the lump, as long as the cancer hadn’t spread, I wouldn’t have to proceed with chemotherapy. But, there was a chance that I would, which was scary to think about

Would I lose all my hair? Would I have to quit my job? I have two, offline and online. How would I feel?  Sick all the time? These questions revolved in my mind. Up until this point, I hadn’t felt physically different at all, and I felt ok leaving my house, knowing no one knew what I was going through. The possibility of chemo to me felt like the end of feeling normal.

Kathryn Maclean

Told you have Cancer

I don’t think I’ll ever forget hearing those words. There was horrible traffic that day. We were late and I didn’t have a chance to eat breakfast. I told myself that once I got this final doctor appointment out of the way, I’d celebrate with a chocolate donut, my favorite, from Tim Hortons.

I’ll start from the beginning and tell you a little about myself.  I have a family history of cancer but  I’m healthy. I exercise regularly, eat right, don’t smoke, go to the doctor, and I always, always wear sunscreen every day. And yes, I just found out I have cancer.

My journey started with a gut feeling not to go to that appointment and have that mammogram at the time I usually had it. I really think that came from a higher power because it may have saved my life.  I went some 6 mths later.  Had I gone earlier it might not have been detected for another year.

The biopsy came back positive for cancer.

I was quickly given an appointment with a surgeon after my biopsy that showed cancerous cells. The surgeon told me rather matter of factly, he had done this over and over for many many years.  But for me it was devastating. So I did my research. It was stage 1 the beginning and the tumors were many but small. It had not spread to my lymph nodes under my armpit.

source: https://www.webmd.com/cancer/cancer-prevention-detection-16/cancer-diagnosis

This is what happened with my fight with Breast Cancer (stage 1)
Breast Cancer

First what where these findings?

Calcifications?

In some cases, a biopsy of normal-appearing tissue may be done. This can help check for cancer

“”Suspicious” calcifications may be benign or an early sign of cancer; therefore, your doctor may recommend you have a biopsy. During a biopsy, a small amount of breast tissue containing the calcification is removed and sent to a laboratory to be examined for cancer cells. If cancer is present, treatment may consist of surgery to remove the cancerous breast, radiation, and/or chemotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells.”

source: https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/breast-calcification-symptoms-causes-treatments#1

Many types of Biopsies
Surgical biopsy. Either open or laparoscopic surgery may be necessary to obtain a biopsy of hard-to-reach tissue. Either a piece of tissue or the whole lump of tissue may be removed. In my case, I had two surgeries, lumpectomies. No spread or metastases beyond the lymph nodes. I was very lucky to find this very early. Stage 1.

source: https://www.webmd.com/cancer/what-is-a-biopsy#1 

It was recommended by my oncologist that I have chemo and radiation as I had a family history of cancer. My mother had had Ovarian Cancer and as I would not find out if I had the harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation gene (genetic testing is still ongoing)  rather than wait I decided to go ahead with the method of treatment.  Should I learn that I do have the gene it would make me more likely to get breast cancer again or Ovarian Cancer. So further surgeries would be recommended.

My mother had Ovarian Cancer when she was  72 yrs old. About 10% of cases are related to inherited genetic risk; women with mutations in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 have about a 50% chance of developing the disease. So I or my daughter, or my sister may be at risk because my mother died from Ovarian cancer.

A harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation can be inherited from a person’s mother or father. Each child of a parent who carries a mutation in one of these genes has a 50 percent chance (or 1 chance in 2) of inheriting the mutation.

Angelina Jolie
Preventative mastectomy and ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to reduce the high risk of developing cancer from the defective gene she carries.

I am currently waiting to find out if I have the ” BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. If I do there will be further surgeries such as the ones that Angelina Jolie has had. Preventative mastectomy and ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to reduce the high risk of developing cancer from the defective gene she carries. My female family members should also seek testing with yearly mammograms.

Cancer awareness AN UPDATE:  I have heard from Genetic Testing  I do not have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation. My blood test results were negative.  I am so relieved. I will not need further surgeries.

I have written a previous article about my Mothers Ovarian cancer for PAChttp://www.poweraffiliateclub.com/do-you-have-lady-balls/

Chemotherapy

Chemo

Treatment was done in my local hospital, only 5 mins from home in Winchester which is an hours drive from Ottawa. The first day was ok, you think “this is not so bad”. After the third treatment, your body starts to feel the effect of the chemo medication. I felt sick to my stomach, food had a very strange taste and my hair started to fall out. Chemo brain is a reality, not able to concentrate and I was so tired all the time.

source: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/chemotherapy

Radiation

Radiation

Treatment had to be done in an Ottawa Hosptial.  An hours drive there and back again for many weeks. Again the first day was ok, but after about 5 treatments, things were uncomfortable, my skin felt like a sunburn, itchy and raw by the end of radiation treatment.

source: http://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/radiation

Finally, after 5 months, I am done with Chemo and Radiation!!!

Done Cancer treatment

I finally got that chocolate donut. It tasted soooo goood!!  After months of food tasting like nothing at all. It will still be a while before I am feeling like I did before all this happened but I am happy to have it over with.  I hope that the information I have listed can help someone going through cancer treatment or help you to understand what is involved for a friend.

Cancer is so prevalent today, so many people going through treatments that were much worse than mine.  God’s blessings to all fighting breast and ovarian cancer and their families.

 

 

Breast Cancer Tests: Screening, Diagnosis, and Monitoring

Breastcancer.org 120 East Lancaster Avenue, Suite 201 Ardmore, PA 19003

source:  http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types

Canadian Cancer Information:

55 St Clair Avenue West, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario

source:
http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/breast-cancer/?region=on

 

About Kathryn Maclean http://www.facebook.com/marketingofflineonline
A blogger with WordPress /domains & hosting for web development. A certified Social Media Campaign specialist sing Facebook, Twitter Pinterest and Google + Also an Affiliate & Network Marketer using resources such as: the  Power Affiliate Club. PAC  Expert Author and Coordinator for  Power Affiliate Club

 

 

Comments

  1. Oh my dear friend…
    You have gone through so much .. I have thought of you everyday .. I think you got “sick” of all the cards I was sending you .. but I wanted you to know I was with you. There wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think of you and hoped all would be okay … now we wait for the results my friend …

    • kathrynruth says:

      My friend,
      Thank you for the many cards to cheer me up. I did love them, but I think you would still be mailing them if I hadn’t told you to stop. Sorry for that expense.
      I will be ok as I was one of the lucky ones who caught it very early on. I hope not to have any more to be done. Waiting for the genetic test results. I missed all the daily interactions with you and the PAC members. Hope to be around again soon.

      • LOL… yes I still would be sending you cards of thoughtful messages.. what will you do with them! The cost was worth every penny. There was never a second thought about it …. I live so far a way .. so reaching out to you, supporting you in some way .. was the best I could do in sending a weekly hug ….. I look forward to seeing more of you and I hope all is good now …

        • kathrynruth says:

          In reply – I posted a collage of all the cards on Instagram.We do live far away in two very different countries. You have been a great support. I look forward to getting back into the swing of things asap. All is good my friend.

  2. Thank you for your transparency about this life challenge. It really helps others who have faced it to know they are not alone. It helps others realize they can get through it too. Wish you the best. God bless and heal you!

    • kathrynruth says:

      Hi Nancy,
      Thank you so much for that comment. When you are a blogger you get to know other bloggers and I thought I would say why the big disappearing act. Also as you say for others going through this terrible disease. If anyone would like to contact me with questions about breast cancer I am open to helping them.

  3. Kathryn, Wishing you the very best. it is great to hear from you. What a powerful message.

  4. Hi Kathryn,

    My prayers are with you. I don’t remember if I knew what you were going through or not. Sorry, I wasn’t there for more support. The 2nd to the last photo with that wonderful smile shows our Kathryn is coming back.

    Take care.

    • kathrynruth says:

      Monna!
      I really didn’t make it known to much at the time. I did see you here and there and you were always supportive, whether you remembered or not I am coming back but I don’t know in how much of a capacity.
      You take care too.

  5. Such an incredibly horrid thing to go through. Best wishes for a very speedy and full recovery.

    • kathrynruth says:

      Hi Hazel,
      You are correct. Very horrid. 4 mths of no sugar or salt, no taste to food. I could go on and on. I am on my way to a full recovery and it is starting to feel so GOOD! Thanks for your comments.

  6. Wishing you all the best for a permanent recovery. Thank you for your honest and informative share.

    • kathrynruth says:

      Hi Annette,
      I will be able to recover shortly as all treatments have been completed. Thank you for your comment on my article. I am glad you found it honest and informative.

  7. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    • kathrynruth says:

      Hi Bill,
      I have been away but I think you are a member of PAC? Hope to be back soon. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Hi Kathryn,

    I didn’t know you went through all this. Please know that my prayers are with you for healing.
    I like this post because it gives so much hope to others. Sharing your story will inspire so many people and I thank you for that.

    Be well my friend,

    -Donna

    • kathrynruth says:

      Hi Donna,
      Thank you so much. I wanted to write this post so people knew why I was not around. Also for other women who may have to face this as well. It is a terrible disease as I can attest to. But breast cancer is not the dreaded disease that it once was. New discoveries are happening. In the near future women may only have to have surgery and radiation without chemo I heard recently on the news. Hopefully, it will be eradicated entirely.
      Thanks

  9. Hi Kathryn ,
    thank you for your post. I saw what it means going through all this as somebody near me had the same life challenge.In Germany I also did volunteer in a hospital were I helped to care for cancer patient. I wish you a good recovery ,take care of yourself and stay strong. I wish you all the best.
    Erika

    • kathrynruth says:

      Hi Erika,
      Thank you for those kind words! All too often our friends and loved ones face this challenge. How to wonderful have been a volunteer for Cancer patients in a hospital. I’m sure people loved your care and concern. Thank you, I am getting stronger every day now. Nice to hear from you.

  10. HI Kathryn,

    You are so brave to post your full experience on your blog. This will be a real comfort to others who are facing the same issues. Having attended the Truth About Cancer Live events in Houston and in Orlando, I have seen live examples of people who chose not to endure the traditional treatments. However, whichever way you go, it is not easy. The alternative path requires perhaps juicing 12x/day, one every hour plus other treatments. And, the treatments may or may not work in the end.

    We live in stressful times. I am so impressed with you for just doing what you felt had to be done. Now you are on the path to healing. Watch some of those health videos and take lots and lots of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables.

    Warmly,

    Erica

    • kathrynruth says:

      Dr. Erica,
      You are such a warm person. I did want to reach out to people affected by cancer with this post. I did just that, did what had to be done. Now on the road to health and yes lots of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables, now that I can taste them again. Thanks for your warm comments.

  11. You are setting an example for other people. It will surely help the people who are also suffering from breast cancer. They will not feel alone. Your story also provides strength and hope to others. God bless you and get well soon. Also thanks for sharing your story to the whole world.

    • kathrynruth says:

      Hi Rajkumar,
      I entered the article to give hope to other women facing breast cancer. When you are told you have cancer you have no idea of what lays ahead. If I provided strength and hope I am satisfied with sharing my story with the world. Thank you for your comments!

  12. Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have really loved surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write once more very soon!

    • kathrynruth says:

      Thanks nhan,
      You commented on a few posts, but I only included this one. I hope to write on my regular weekly basis soon.

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