When You’re Engulfed in Flames and Nobody Has Heard of a Fire Extinguisher #MyLeftBoob

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I wrote last week about my week from H-E-L-L when I learned that my type of cancer was not the “normal” “easy to treat” kind, then I got an infection and had to spend the night in the emergency room, among other some of the other figurative flames I have been battling.

But the hardest I think was learning that I have Triple Negative breast cancer, telling some people the news and having them completely lose it on me. I found myself comforting them instead of the other way around. Maybe it is because I have a knack for staying calm in situations like this.

I’ve always been pretty good in times of crisis. A sort of peace sweeps over me and I have the ability to calm myself and others. One time at my son’s 9th birthday party, one of his friends fell on his face onto the corner of the Game Cube, making a huge gash right underneath his eye. There was a lot of blood and everyone started freaking out. I immediately took charge of the situation, calmed everyone else down including the boy, stopped the bleeding and brought him to his parents so they could bring him to the Emergency Room.

Other people it seems are more prone to the “OH MY GOD!” screaming, freaking out, over-reacting and generally causing a panic. This is not a good way to act  and does not help anyone.

It becomes tricky to try to stay calm when you are engulfed in flames and nobody has heard of a fire extinguisher. Can you imagine being in the middle of a blaze, waiting for help and the firefighters tell you, “Sorry, we’ve never heard of this thing they call ‘a big fire.’ We’ll try to put it out with this cup of water but we really don’t have any experience with fires this large.” This is how I felt when my doctors told me I have a “rare and aggressive type of breast cancer” that is “harder to treat” and is not receptive to “normal” hormones and drugs they give to people “other ‘normal’ types of cancer.”

After seeing three doctors locally who all had the same reaction, didn’t offer much insight or give me any useful information, I decided to see the experts at the “big” cancer center. Thank God I did. They don’t call them the best in the country for nothing.

My new doctor has had a lot of experience with people who have Triple Negative and was able to explain it in a way that was easy to understand. She asked me a bunch of questions that none of the other doctors asked, explained which treatment would work and why. I felt calm and at peace knowing I am in good hands and will be treated by an experienced and knowledgeable doctor who will make sure no stone is unturned in my treatment and recovery.

I go in tomorrow, Friday, March 6, for some testing that needs to be done before I am “officially” admitted but I feel very good knowing I will be treated by the top cancer doctors in the country.

My chemo begins on Weds. April 1st and it will be 16 weeks (every other week) of hard, intense treatments to blast it all out. This lasts through the end of July. After that I have 6 weeks of radiation through the end of August and then I’m all “done.” (sort of……)

When my chemo and radiation is finished, I will need to be checked every 4-6 months for the next 5 years because this type of cancer (Triple Negative) has a higher chance of coming back. When I reach the 5-year mark the chances get less and less. Then, at the 7-year mark, the chances are virtually non-existent.

This is a lot to take in and can be hard to stay positive but it is critical in my treatment and recovery. My new doctor said that brain studies have shown that patients who stay positive and have a good attitude do much better. So I am focusing on the positives: It’s only Stage I and has not spread to my lymph nodes. I am young, strong and healthy.

Even though I am engulfed in flames now, thankfully, someone has heard of a fire extinguisher and will be putting out my flames really soon. If you “get” the reference in the title, comment below.

If you want to support my treatment please check out the link below.


For more information on Triple Negative breast cancer, click here.

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