While I was searching for a recipe I'd posted here, I noted the number of people who were following my blog on breast cancer until I moved it to www.breastcancerredux.com. Since it's possible, even likely, you might not have wandered off this lovely site,
I figured I'd give you a quick update for those who are interested.
During our winter stay in Florida, I had one of those experiences no one wants to have. I was MISdiagnosed with an aggressive and deadly form of breast cancer. It took over a month to confirm that the diagnosis was wrong and that — in fact — I didn't have
any cancer of any type anywhere in my body. The surgeon who caused the ruckus was fired (by me), and I returned home to the surgeon I've been working with since 2000 with each episode of breast cancer. She deserves to be named, because I couldn't recommend
her higher: Dr. Rebecca Yang at the Lahey Clinic in Peabody, MA.
I had an appointment with Dr. Yang within a month of returning home. In preparation of that meeting, I'd researched mastectomies, tamoxifen, and further research on Arimidex. I learned there's about a 25% likelihood of life-long (and very painful) pain
following a mastectomy, especially if you've had surgery on the breast before. Well, that was a horrifying idea, so I ruled it out. I ruled out tamoxifen and arimidex (again) for reasons I haven't been comfortable with them in the past: long term side effects.
You won't find a lot on this unless you track down sites where patients on these treatments are posting their difficulties and agonies. I printed them out, in a stack that was nearly half an inch thick, and brought them with me to my appointment with Dr. Yang.
After she checked me over, and pronounced me healthy, she asked me to dress so we could chat.
During our chat, I showed her the papers I'd brought and she asked if I'd leave them for her. I told her I wasn't sure if she'd want to read through them, and she said she "absolutely wants to read them." How endearing.
We discussed my concerns about getting one or more mastectomies, and that it didn't seem wise for me to go through it at this point in my history. To my surprise, she completely agreed. She also understands and supports my alternative approach to treatment,
pointing out to me that I've had three primary (unique) breast cancers and despite turning down "standard treatment", I'm still alive and well. In her words, "you obviously know your body better than anyone else."
We met for longer than we have in years, swapping thoughts about our theories of how breast cancer starts, and she told me that, at this point, I know as much as she does about treating me. There are very few women who have had as many breast cancers and
I have, have never had chemotherapy, and are still alive.
I told her I want to establish a relationship with a pain management specialist, if and when I need that. She said she thought I was wise. I asked what might tip me off if my most recent breast cancer metastasizes and she told me it usually goes to the
bones, and that I'd experience aches in my bones that don't go away. I cried a little. So did she. We'd reached a common agreement and, despite the circumstances, it was a respectful (and loving) meeting.
When I left her office, I felt she'd given me a completely unexpected gift, which was permission to regain my footing and my balance in dealing with my body, despite the very bad misdiagnosis I'd been through. As a result, I've regained my sense of peace,
am eating as best I can, and will continue to get mammograms and (if needed) surgeries to remove any new cancers that might show up.
Other than straining my low back (a yoga goof) I'm doing very well, and life feels normal and happy. My days are comfortable. I'm enjoying my moments as fully as I can.
Life goes on... happily.
I've developed some new recipes, but don't have them readily to hand. I'll post them when I do. In the meanwhile, I hope all of you are well and enjoying your life as fully as possible.