Because We Care

While I hate to look back, my past has made me who I am today.  To that effect, a little back ground might be helpful.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, my daughter’s Shannon and Leann created a facebook support group for me; Because we Care.  I am transferring posts from that site into this page.  All are heartfelt, some are uplifting, all are uncensored.  I am leaving out the support from my friends and family, as they are numerous.  Trust me, without their support my recovery would not have been easy.

July 21, 2009 at 4:11pm

I have my appointment with the surgeon on Thursday. Her office called this morning to get info on me, and told me-among other things-that it is Ductal DCIS (I had to look it up, but it is the most common, and most treatable). Tenetively the game plan will look like: surgery (August 5th or the 12th), radiation (for up to 6 weeks), a pill a day for 5 years, and chemo only if it is in my lymph nodes. They talked about HER2 Recptors-which are negative-they said that is good, ERPR Markers which are positive-they said that was good also, and also “Good Percnostic Features” (I have yet to look up what that is). Hopefully on Thursday the news will continue to look good.

July 23, 2009 at 8:48pm

Surgeon’s appointment today went well. Although they will do a masectomy on the left side, I am OK with it, the right side is undecided. It will almost be a relief to not have the worry hanging over my head all of the time, this is 29 years of stress culminating here! They told me it is stage 2 (not 0 as I was previously told). Still treatable. They will start reconstructive surgery at the same time, which could take up to 6 weeks to complete. As of right now, the lymph nodes looked good to them, but they will still be removing 1-3 of them at the time of surgery. They will be biopsied on site, and if they are cancer free, that will be all they do with them. Provided that the lymph nodes are cancer free, I will not have to have chemo. Being as they now have to coordinate surgery with a plastic surgeon, it will probably happen the week of the 19th.

July 28, 2009 at 4:18pm

The MRI was today, of course no results yet. I had to lay on my belly for an hour with my upper body mainly supported by my “cheekbones”, yes in my cheeks. Other than bruises on my face, it was not to bad. Next up is the plastic surgeon appointment next week.

August 6, 2009 at 5:39pm

I had my appointment with the plastic surgeon today. It went about how you would imagine, she gave me my options, I made a decision, and that’s that. Surgery is scheduled for August 19th! I will be in the hospital for 2 nights, and finish recovering at home. They will decide after surgery if I need radiation or chemo, but so far it looks like I may not. They will start the reconstruction during the first surgery, and probably sometime in October or November I will go back in for the finish of the reconstructive surgery. With any luck I will be whole again by Christmas!

August 19, 2009 at 9:53pm Posted by my daughter Leann

My mom is doing well, she had six lymph nodes removed on one side and a few removed on the other, she is back to bossing my dad around, she gave all of us a list of things to do tonight… Mine included letting everyone know she is doing well, she has color back and she is drinking lots of fluids. She will either get out of the hospital tomorrow or Friday. (As far as I know)

August 21, 2009 at 3:33pm

Surgery went really well! I was up walking abit the same day (VERY CAREFULLY), and by yesterday I was walking laps in the hospital and eating real food. Today they sent me home, and I am feeling more like myself hour by hour. I also got some good news today: the lymph nodes they removed for further biopsy, came back negative (clear). We have to wait for 1 more test that is being done on a molecular level on everything they removed, that test will take about 2 weeks. It will determine the aggressiveness of the cancer. I was told there are 3 levels; the 1st is not aggressive at all; 2nd is more aggressive, but would not have any advantage to doing more treatment; and the 3rd is the most aggressive, they would do further treatment. Regardless of that outcome, I will still need to take the tamoxofen for 5 years. So far everything sounds good, hopefully that last test will continue the trend!

August 23, 2009 at 9:57pm

Visiting nurse was here today, she says I am doing phenomenal. My range of movement was much greater than what she would expect at this stage of healing (4 days post-op).

I get tired easy, but have been walking around (much more easily), watching the kids in the pool (there was another adult that could rescue them if needed!) and visiting with friends.

I really appreciate everyone’s concern and prayers

August 27, 2009 at 4:29pm

I had an appointment with my surgeon today. She thought I was doing great in the healing process, apparently I must heal faster or easier than most. She restated that the lymph nodes were clear of any cancer, I do NOT need to have radiation, and they are sending the tumor to California for a molecular level test on the aggressiveness of the cancer-on a scale of 1-100, if it falls below 18-no chemo, if it falls above 31-Chemo, if it falls between 19 and 30 that is a grey area-she suggests chemo there also, just because I am so young. (I did like her calling me “so young” ). IF they do chemo it will be 4 series 3 weeks apart. I may be stupid at this point, but that does not sound so bad. Regardless, I will still be taking tamoxofin for 5 years.

I see the plastic surgeon next Thursday, hopefully she will be taking out stitches and the drains.

So Far, So Good!

September 10, 2009 at 4:30pm posted by my daughter Shannon

NO Chemotherapy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mommy’s cancer scored 14 and anything under 18 does not require Chemotherapy.

September 10, 2009 at 5:49pm posted by my daughter  Leann (she was married on Sept. 5 and was on her honeymoon)

I think the best news I could have gotten while I was away came in the form of a voice mail when I woke up this morning… Daddy calling to say NO CHEMO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We love you mom and I am sooooooooooo excited for you!!!!!!!!

September 11, 2009 at 10:06am

GREAT NEWS! My cancer scored a 14 on the Onco Typing test, which means it was a slow growing cancer, and I do not need chemo! (The scale was 1-100, with anything 1-18 not needing chemo, and anything above needing it) I will still need to take the tamoxofen, once a day for 5 year, but I can do that no problem. The reconstruction will probably take another 2 months to complete, but by Thanksgiving/Christmas I should be back to normal???? We will really have something to be thankful for!

September 25, 2009 at 6:25pm

Another great day at the Doctor’s. I saw the Cancer Doctor today for the first time, and she reconfirmed that they got all of the cancer, I do not need radiation or chemo, and a pill a day for 5 years!! So my 5 years started today.

Yesterday I saw the plastic surgeon. She is very happy with all of her work and my progress, I am hoping for the final reconstruction surgery to take place before the end of the year (all my deductibles are paid for this year!!), but she thinks it will be more like January before it takes place. Either way, I am hoping to spend some time recovering in Florida aboard the Happy Boy, hopefully my muscles will be healed enough to let me spend some of that time fishing (I probably will try, even if it is a bit painful!)

October 8, 2009 at 1:47pm

I saw the plastic surgeon today. She is absolutely thrilled with my recovery, and has set the date (tenetively-based on the hospital availability) for the final reconstructive surgery…..December 12th!! YAYYY. I will be all put back together for Christmas!

December 11, 2009 at 7:37pm

I had my reconstruction surgery today. They told me everything went great! I am still a bit punchy and of course sore. But hopefully this will be the last surgery for this, and I can start healing and building muscle back. I got what I wanted for Christmas!

Jill Dittmer That is the best Christmas present ever!!!

After the reconstructive surgery, Because We Care was archived.  Cancer was put behind us, and healing was ahead.  During this period I had the opportunity to go salmon fishing with my family, which was a yearly outing.  I talked to the surgeons about the possibility of going, and they agreed I could go, but could not fish.  Of course I went, and FISHED.  While I could hook and fight the fish, I could not lift them for pictures.  My daughter solved that dilemma by placing the fish on rocks, logs or even the bank, so that I could be in the pictures without holding the fish.  That meant the world to me!  By fishing I was overcoming the physical limitations, by not being able to lift them, proved I had a long way to go.  When I went back to the surgeons office 2 weeks later, I had pictures for her.  She just laughed.  She said she knew I would not listen to her, and had been expecting me to prove her wrong.  I love that she had come to know me so well during this time!  Several months later, again I needed to ask if I was able.  This time was for shooting (bows, rifles, shotguns).  My Doctors were honest with me.  They did not know!  No one had ever asked if they could do these things before.  I became a test subject at that point.  I believe the Doctors were enjoying me forging ahead with life.  I am determined to regain what was lost, while it is a slow process, it will happen.

While fishing was able to commence almost instantly, hunting has been slower.  For a while I could not carry the guns, or pull the bow.  2011 was the start of me coming back to hunting.  After a 2 ½ year hiatus, I am wanting to do everything!!  Dale and I started off the hunting season with a trip to Anticosti Island for whitetail-I was successful!  Alligator hunting in Florida-I was successful!  Illinois whitetail hunting-I was successful!  Alabama whitetail and hog hunt-I was successful!  Alabama whitetail hunt-I was successful-no I did not shoot anything on this trip, but I went, I hunted, I enjoyed.  I was successful!

Everyone should get out and do what they love every opportunity they can. “Love the Life you Live, Live the Life you Love” (Bob Marley)

Diane's first salmon after surgery

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One response

16 02 2012
veronica gonzalez

Love you mom you are a great inspiration for us, even if you are ok now you are always in my prayers. You showed us that you are a very strong woman and showed me how to be a strong woman. I love you lots. Nica

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