July 19, 2011

Steel Metal Jacket is off….

Recently I was reminded of my inherent need to protect those around me by shielding them from sorrow, miss-steps, hurt, anger, and unjust situations.  But at what cost?  The season has arrived to observe the lessons taught to my children, in action.  I must remove my steel metal jacket....it is off! Provided the opportunity, I see glimpses of boundless compassion and the desire to care for their mama.  Often I discover my happiness, joy, and personal rewards when witnessing my sons applying life lesson I have taught them.  Equally, I am blessed with a husband that adores me, just as I am and children who love me despite no biological connection.  This makes our mama son relationship just a touch more special. 

Confession time: As of late I have been deep in thought and yes, I am taking my place as, what I refer to as, a crying person!  [At times, my vernacular is plentiful with Christina’isms – from real talk, hot mess, and crying person there is more to come.]  Unable to sleep last evening I thought it wise to engross myself in three hours of cancer research reading; not a wise choice.  The time was 4:30’ish AM when I decided to close my eyes; I intended to relax my mind and enjoy a moment of peaceful slumber.  This did not happen.  I was frightened, felt a complete loss of control, and a panicked sense of absolute helplessness.  In my lifetime, I have never felt so lost and unsure how to regain my emotions.  My husband Curtis comforted me, was incredibly gentle, and compassionately understanding.  Setting the tone for day, I surrendered to my newfound status as a crying person.  The outpouring of love, thoughtful words, unexpected support, and genuine empathy overwhelms my heart.  I feel loved, encouraged, and supported.  I am a determined and self-sufficient woman who is learning to receive; this is far removed from my traditional gift of giving.  I am optimistic, I want to live, and I need to live.  Your comments feed my mind, body, and spirit.  Many thanks to feedback, private messages, note cards, donations, and telephone calls.  This is what it is all about, being surrounded by caring individuals.  MRI is scheduled in the morning, I have a feeling something irreverent is on the horizon.  <3 Christina 

The journey begins......

You have breast cancer; hearing these words robbed my lungs of breathe.  I am a wife, the mother to 16 teenagers – five currently living in the home, and me’ma to a grandbaby; I want to live, I need to live.  Please join me as I chronicle my journey through breast cancer, the triumphs, and struggles written from the heart using what I call Real Talk.  Real Talk (RT) will expose painful emotions, the not so pretty side of cancer, irreverent humor, the need for laughter, and the journey of self-discovery.  Choosing to share this journey with others is beyond difficult.  I am a private person.  I am the caretaker.  I am the problem solver.  I am the one who cleans-up the messes.  I am the one who supports.  I am the one who advocates.  Nevertheless, today, I surrender and acknowledge that now is my time to receive your support, love, and care.  

Not all breast cancers are the same; regretfully my type of breast cancer (diagnosis) is perhaps the least favorable type.  Within three weeks from today’s date (7/19/2011) all results will be in – MRI, mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy pathology, PET scan, lumpectomy pathology, BRCA 1&2, and blood tests.  The next step is for my medical team to create a treatment roadmap to kick this cancers ass!

Diagnosis - Triple negative (TNBC) infiltrating ducal carcinoma (IDC) breast cancer.

Description – IDC is the most common form of breast cancer and starts in the milk ducts, the tumor ruptures the duct, and the tumor invades the surrounding breast tissue (infiltrate).  TNBC typically affects premenopausal women, the tumors are aggressive, and frequently metastasize in other parts of the body.  These TNBC tumors share three specific characteristics – no estrogen receptor, no progesterone receptor, and are HER-2neu negative.  The lack of these receptors means the tumor will not respond to oral medications; this is where treatment options become limited to surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.