Here's the next installment. Again, i am copying & pasting from my email as it's just easier for me (less hard thinking involved
). Sorry it's so long.
Dear Family & Friends,
At my last email, I was waiting to go do a MRI on 9/9/19-- it was completed in short order, though I didn't love that I was face-down, nor did I love the icy-cold after-affects of the contrast dye they used, however it's over with!!
I was also awaiting the results from the genetics tests.
So both of those have come back, and I don't love the results, but I have already accepted and moved on. the hardest part was making the decision of which surgery to have done.
First, the MRI. Well, Dr Matsen called me Thursday last week (Sept 12) to go over the MRI & the genetics test results (btw, I Really like Dr Matsen, she is a warm & compassionate person while conveying confidence in her field without being overbearing--I Do Not feel like just another Number to her or others of my Oncological team at Huntsman). The MRI showed normal tissue on the left breast, and the known tumor in the right breast. However, also on the right breast was found a "non-mass enhancement. The following is directly from Dr Matsen's & Dr Freer's (radiologist) notes in regards to the non-mass: "There is immediately contiguous non-mass enhancement extending towards the nipple for a total of 3 cm AP. Asymmetric contiguous and diffuse non-mass enhancement. Non-mass enhancement at 4:00 middle depth is suspicious. Diagnostic considerations include asymmetric background enhancement versus ductal carcinoma in situ. This was reviewed by multiple staff and based on a consensus opinion. Findings represent a suspicious abnormality. BI-RADS category 4. Surgical excision is recommended by mastectomy at this time."
What is it really? I don't know, ask Google.
Second, the genetic tests results. I talked to Whitney (from the Genetics Counseling office) on Wednesday afternoon. She explained that I did test positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation, and that I actually have the Exact Same gene mutation as my 1st paternal cousin who had Breast Cancer and had genetic testing done as well. I'm attaching a letter that explains the test results way better than I can. ALSO, I am attaching this letter for my relatives SPECIFICALLY, because until December 29, 2019, YOU (my relatives) can be tested FOR FREE, read the letter it explains the particulars of how to do it. Everyone who can of my relatives, Should Get Tested!!
Both men and women can inherit BRCA1 mutations, and both men and women can pass on BRCA1 mutations. (Carrying a mutation in this gene means that a person has an increased risk for cancer. Mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are known to cause Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC). The lifetime breast cancer risk in women with BRCA1/2 mutations is between 50-85%. Women with BRCA1/2 mutations who have already been diagnosed with breast cancer also have an increased chance to develop a second primary breast cancer. The lifetime ovarian cancer risk in women with BRCA1/2 mutations is between 20-60%. Men with BRCA1/2 mutations also have moderately increased risks to develop breast cancer and prostate cancer. There are specific guidelines available for individuals with BRCA1 so that these cancer risks can be managed and in some cases reduced, therefore it is important to know if you are at risk.)
But enough of that, I'm not trying to scare ANYONE, just letting you know that this option IS available, and I would LOVE if my SIBLINGS, and THEIR Children took advantage of this opportunity. No One should have the uncertainty of Cancer hanging over your heads, and having the test done is as easy as a simple blood draw.
So then Dr Matsen asked me what kind of cancer surgery did I want, I said I had no idea then (we'd gone over pretty much everything that she'd previously mentioned in Aug 29 visit, plus all the fun new stuff in regards to the suspicious 3cm anomaly--on Aug 29th, we'd told us that anything that was over 2cm is always of greater concern than smaller areas). She asked that I call on Monday morning to let her know. So I spent a lot of time praying, reading my scriptures, pondering, reading my notes from Dr conversation, and reading Doctor notes from my consultations and test results, then doing it all over again. I also spent several hours at the Vernal Temple in prayerful contemplation on Friday afternoon, and worked on my answer in the manner of how Oliver Cowdery was told to find answers, "You must study it out in your mind first, then ask if it is right..." I left with an answer, that was reaffirmed over the course of several conversations I had with friends on Saturday and Sunday.
Which is.... I choose to have a Bilateral Mastectomy with a DIEP Flap Reconstruction--in layman's terms, I'm having a Double Mastectomy performed with self-tissue/belly-fat reconstruction. Dr Matsen, Dr Panucci, and another of Dr Panucci's micro-plastic-surgeon colleagues will do this 8-12 surgery all at the same day. I choose the Double Mastectomy because of my prompting to do so, but also because I want to Be Alive to Raise my young children, AND I felt Very Strongly that I Would have another kind of Breast Cancer within 3-5 years that would either Kill Me, OR be nearly Impossible to eradicate easily! However, even knowing All of that, it still continues to be a difficult decision, however I'm choosing to Trust in God and His Son Jesus Christ as I know all things are possible in and through Them!!
I do not know my surgery date yet, but have been given a tentative time frame of mid- to late-October, in order to coordinate all three Doctor's schedules, AND to find an open operating room available for the all-day surgery!
Dr Matsen's nurse Heidi also gave me a lot of good information in regards to post-mastectomy surgery clothing, also how I would be on 2 weeks bed-rest with minimal movement including daily tending of my drains, then on low-activity for another 6 weeks-- all 8 weeks to lift no more than 4 Pounds!!
I feel like I'm leaving out so much, but the letter explains A Lot of the Genetics Testing results, and the MRI results recommended that I either have a MRI-guided biopsy to see what it is (Dr Matsen said she strongly suspects it to be pre-cancerous) if I was to choose Lumpectomy, OR Mastectomy. Either way, I would get to know what that suspicious anomaly is.
I wish to thank you all again for all of your prayers, I have really felt them this past week, both while pondering my decision, and also throughout all the other events of the last 7 days (our basement flooded because the washing machine died while we weren't home, but our Ward helped us out So Much). I would ask for your continued prayers that we are able to sell our Expedition soon. Please share this ksl.com listing among your social media pages/groups for us: https://cars.ksl.com/listing/5853043?ad_cid=2
Much love and gratitude to you all,