Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Time for an Update

If you start reading this and have no clue what I'm talking about, you can go here for the first part of the story.

So last week I had my follow up appointment with the boob surgeon. I already had an inkling of what was coming because he had called me after he got the pathology results. When he called, he said that he was "flabbergasted" by the results because instead of showing microcalcifications or even that everything was gone from the needle biopsy, the entire section of tissue that he had removed was full of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). He said we'd discuss options at my follow up and mentioned getting an MRI, genetic testing, maybe going in and taking more tissue followed by radiation, and "a mastectomy is a possibility."

Cut to two weeks later as Aaron and I are sitting in an exam room. This is when we found out that the size of the DCIS was six centimeters, as opposed to the four or five millimeters he was expecting. He started talking about a mastectomy rather than another lumpectomy/radiation and said that that was the way to go due to my family history and my young age. (If there's one thing that makes me feel good during all this shit, it's how often I get called "young.")

Once again, the odds are not in my favor.
But how much do I love Effie's butterfly dress?

Boob surgeon still says it's Stage Zero and noninvasive, but he's concerned because of the above reasons and because we were all surprised by the pathology results. So... last week I met with a genetic counselor and had my blood drawn for testing to find out if I'm genetically at risk for breast cancer (and for other cancers as well). Yesterday I met with plastic surgeons to talk about reconstruction options. In about a month I'll have an MRI to see if there's anything lurking that hasn't previously shown up.

As it stands now the plan is a bilateral mastectomy (meaning removal of both breasts) with reconstruction at the same time. If I were absolutely determined to save the breast, we could do more tissue removal, but I'm not. I want these traitorous body parts gone. I know that some people would not go that route, but fortunately I still have some control over what happens to my body. It's my decision and thankfully Aaron supports that.

It's an overwhelming amount of information. I'm always aware that this could be much worse. I'm thankful that I'm able to be proactive instead of reactive. I'm amazed and touched by my support system. I have an incredible group of family and friends and framily (damn you, Sprint, for making that word uncool). While I'm still in kick-ass mode, I also have my ugly-crying-in-the-shower moments, too.

I've been MIA in blog world, both writing and reading. Part of the reason I need to write about all of this is because I can't secretly pretend everything is sunshine and kittens when it's not. But I'm hopeful that I can get back to writing some inane fluff non-cancer-related posts while you all still understand that this other shit is going on.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Put it out here - the positive thoughts from others will not hurt you. Across the miles I'm with you every step of the way.

    I love you and am glad you have the ability to be proactive. Ugly cries are just as much a part of the process as rolling with it and laughing too. Feel all your feelings. This is a lot and it's overwhelming even with a good prognosis and clear action plan.

  2. I've noticed your absence from blogging and figured this was the case. PLEASE know that we love your puppies and kittens, but we also love this (well, no we don't love this--this sucks, but we want to hear from you). You've invited many of us into your life and we're delighted to be there. Please share and lean on us as much as you want. We can handle it. :) Much love to you.

  3. you should always do what you feel is right for you. cry when you have to, but remain strong. you can get through this, we're all here for you. keep on keepin' on!

  4. Thinking of you and praying for you, girl! You got this.

  5. I admire your bravery in all of this, in the process and in putting it out there for us bloggers to read. I've been thinking about you a lot-- hang in there, we're all praying for you and I know you are a freakin' rockstar!!

  6. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers! Always do what you feel is best for you. If that means no puppies and kitties we will deal. Know we are pulling for you!

  7. I have been thinking of you and wondering how it has been going. You are brave and strong. Keep us posted when you can of your journey. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

  8. I'm so glad you're doing what YOU think is right. Who cares what anyone else thinks, you got this! Thank you for continuing to share your journey. I'm sending lots and lots of good thoughts!

  9. Again, I'm so proud of you for sharing your story with all of us. There are so many of us rooting for you, and support your decision. You have to do what is best for YOU, and I agree 120% as both a patient and a nurse with what you are doing. You got this!

    You go, Gwen Coco!!! (I hope you're not sick of that!)
    Love you

  10. Love you, Gwen! When you're feeling weak, we're here to be strong!

  11. I'm thinking of you. You are so brave and you have so much support in this corner of the world. You do what's best for you!!! Sending lots of love and prayers and support!!!!

  12. Just saw this today(Friday), Gwen. I agree with your decision. I am assuming you will get nice, firm, perky replacements. I am a gut-spiller and it always makes me feel better, and my Stephanie is very correct, the more people enveloping you in positive energy and love, the better. Huge green lights of healing to you and always the white light. Also, reprogramming your cells to perfection. I reprogram mine all the time. #GoddessSpeedAlways
    Love Steph's Momma

  13. Girl. I am with you. Get those traitor boobies OFF and go custom. Less worry, more perk. And I am so, so proud of your bravery and determination and knowing what does define you (being awesome) and what doesn't (Hooters v1.0). And just get the hell better. I love you so much for sharing this!

  14. Gwen,
    Thanks for the update and for sharing. Sending positive thoughts your way—stay strong!


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