#MyLeftBoob #BreastCancer is ‘Rare and Aggressive’ Triple Negative Metaplastic Carcinoma

DSC_6527Alan Barry Photography

As you know if you’ve been following along, I found out on Feb. 4 that I have breast cancer. I found the lump myself while dying my hair. Doctors said it was Invasive Ductal Cancer (IDC), very common, highly treatable and my prognosis was good. I had a lumpectomy on 2/17. I thought I’d have surgery, do 6 weeks of radiation and then be done and ready to rock. I can deal with this.

What I am having a harder time dealing with is the “new” diagnosis I received last Monday that I actually have Triple Negative Metaplastic Carcinoma (TNMC). Triple Meta WHAT? It’s a very rare and aggressive type of cancer that only occurs in 1% of women, compared to the “normal” kind– Invasive Ductal– which occurs in 80%. I found this out last Monday and was putting off posting because I was hoping I would find more info on any of the major cancer websites since my doctor didn’t really reassure me. I searched Susan G. Komen, American Cancer Society, Sloan Kettering, BreastCancer.org and countless others to no avail.

What makes this diagnosis scary is that many doctors have never had patients with this. It was only recently discovered in 2000 and there has not been much research and clinical testing. TNMC is resistant to the “normal” drugs that they give to most cancer patients. Women with triple-negative breast cancer don’t have receptors for estrogen, progesterone or HER2. Breast cancer that is ER, PR and HER2 negative cannot be treated with hormone therapies, according to Cancer Centers of America. Fortunately, triple-negative breast cancer can be treated with chemotherapy and radiation.

The good news is that it has not spread to my lymph nodes and I am only Stage 1. The bad news is that this type of cancer can come back and spread to other parts of the body (bones, skin, lungs, etc.) so I will need to monitor it closely….for the rest of my life.

Because my cancer is an aggressive kind, treatment will also be aggressive. I will need specialized care from doctors who have worked with patients who have this. So far none of the doctors I’ve spoken to locally have much information or experience with TNMC. I’m going for a second opinion next week and praying the new doctor I see has more insight.

I’ll be doing some intense rounds of chemotherapy beginning in early April. I’ll lose my fiery red hair, dark eyebrows and long eyelashes. But I won’t lose my sense of humor, inner strength or fighting spirit.

The best thing I can do now is eat healthy, get lots of rest and stay calm. Part of keeping stress levels down will be not worrying about the bills piling up since my son’s surgery (his 3rd in 3 years) which are now adding on to mine. My husband has a high deductible insurance plan that we have to pay before it kicks in. Then there are the prescriptions, the treatment (many months of intense chemotherapy followed by radiation), a special cancer killing homeopathic diet plan, chiropractor bills (I also have 3 herniated discs in my neck) and other expenses related to my illness. There will be housecleaning expenses, travel expenses and of course the wig fund. Wigs are expensive! I will most likely be bald for 8 months during and after the treatment according to the oncologist.

I have set up a GoFundMe page since some of my friends, family and readers have asked how they can help. Any amount will be so greatly appreciated. CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

For the past 15 years I have volunteered thousands of hours to church groups, community groups, arts groups and many more organizations through volunteerism in Sandy Hook, Bethel, Danbury and surrounding towns. Whether you want to call it “good karma” or “reaping what you sow,” I’m hoping that the good I’ve put out there over the years will come back to help our family in our time of need.

While this diagnosis is not something I was expecting and it’s completely out of my control, I made up my mind on Day #1 to STAY POSITIVE. I will fight as hard as humanly possible. And when I’m done I will call upon Divine inner strength from above to fight for me the rest of the battle. And I will win.

Thank you for reading. If you know someone who has been touched by cancer, please share my story with them. And if you find it on your heart to donate, thank you so very much.

If you know anyone who has had this type of rare breast cancer (Triple Negative MetaplasticCarcinoma) PLEASE have them contact me: wendyannmitchell@live.com.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hana Schiavo
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 00:56:57

    I’m not sure I should even post this – but here goes. My Dad was a very accomplished heart surgeon in New Jersey. He gave me lots of advice – but I want to share the best of it with you.
    When he began having his own heart trouble – I was confident – because he was surrounded by lots of cardio friends. I figured that he’d get great treatment right at home. He asked me to go on a road trip with him that October – and I love road trips. I asked where we were going, and when he said “Cleveland” – I was sure he was joking. He wasn’t, and here’s why. The Cleveland Clinic is the foremost heart specialty hospital in the nation. What he conveyed to me so strongly was this: when you’ve got a particular condition – cardiac, infertility, cancer, kidney- whatever- ALWAYS go to the place in the country that treats/has experience with your particular condition. He knew that the surgeons at the CC work exclusively on hearts all the time. As a surgeon himself – he knew phenomenal doctors in the tri-state area, but he ditched all that and we went to Cleveland. It’s what they do, day after day.

    I know that you say that your cancer strain is a rare one – but research the places/people who have published about it. Not all cancer care is equal; perhaps most of the docs in your locale haven’t seen this cancer, but you can bet SOMEONE has. Try to connect with that person. Be aggressive and ruthless, if need be. I’d start with Sloan Kettering in NYC. But that’s just me.

    I sound so bossy, so let me tell you this: my grandmother died of breast cancer at 45, my own mom at 58. When I tested positive for the BRCA2 gene – I had a “risk-reducing” bilateral mastectomy and oopherectomy (ovaries). Reconstruction during the same surgery.

    Let me know if you need me to research or make calls to places for you. I will be part of your victory.



  2. wendipoprockct
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 01:08:59

    P.S. Hana: I love that you will be part of my victory! 🙂


  3. Kathy Gleason-Buda
    Mar 01, 2015 @ 18:47:23

    you are close to NY…please go to Memorial Sloan Kettering for treatment.


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