Breast Cancer Diagnosis – Akin to drinking water from a fire hose

My dear friend, Maureen Criss Mathis, asked me if I felt like I was “Drinking water from a fire hose” and I had to steal her reference.  This is exactly like that.

Like  you, I’ve seen the many marathons for “The Cure” and all the pink ribbons.  I’ve heard the stories of the battles being waged by ordinary women with their individual type of breast cancer.  Let’s not leave the men out of this equation.  They get breast cancer as well.

You hear about the many who fall in the battle, many who are emotionally scarred and physically maimed, many who survive to fight another day.  Hopefully they don’t have to fight again after what they have been through.

I am totally blown away by the wealth of love and support I have been receiving, and continue to receive.

Frankly, I’ve had to spend quite a bit of time in prayer over this development.  I feel unworthy of all the love I have received.  Mostly, I’m having a sort of “Out of body experience” with this whole situation.  As if I am a spectator instead of a participant.  Hence, the unworthiness feeling I have.

I am learning that the “Obama Care” Insurance package is not quite as fabulous as everyone had been lead to believe.  There are people struggling with their own health issues and are foregoing treatment because they can’t come up with the huge….and I mean HUGE…. deductibles they are facing.  Paying $600 to $1000 a month for this insurance then find it won’t cover any of the medical costs until the deductible of $500 to $700 is first met.  Who has that kind of money, I ask you?

In all the reading I am doing, and the research I’m finding.  Breast cancer is, by and large, fully treatable.  The one medical issue that has a far larger death rate is Heart Disease.  Quite of number of breast cancer survivors succumb to a heart attack.

This was true of my research when Joe was faced with Prostate Cancer.  Studies have shown that men die WITH prostate cancer and NOT because of it.  Most men die of a heart attack or some other equally disastrous malady.

I can’t kick myself in the butt.  Really, it is no longer physically possibly for me to do that.  I had been able to do that in my younger days but not any longer.

Hindsight is also one of the specters I have haunting me lately.  Had I told everyone back in December of 2015 or January of 2016 when I first found the lump in my breast I would have been a clinical “Stage Zero”.  A Non-Invasive breast cancer confined to a duct and considered “In Situ”.  Meaning it had not spread outside of the confines of the lump.

February 2016 I was at a Stage 1.  Either Stage 1 A or Stage1B.  That is when the cancer cells begin to break out of the duct and invade healthy tissue.  I think in February I was well past the Stage 1 since my lump was already far larger than 2 centimeters.  More than likely it had not spread to my Lymph Nodes at that time.

March 2016 and onward into May 2016 I think my breast cancer was invasive enough to be considered Stage 3.  There is a Stage 3A, Stage 3B, and a Stage 3C.  I fit somewhere in one of these three clinical stages.  My lump was far larger than 3 centimeters (which is 1-1/2 inches) and in some places it was 5 centimeters (3 inches).

Stage 4 breast cancer is when the invasive growth has left the breast and lymph nodes to make its way to other organs of my body.  Lungs, skin, bones, liver, or brain.

As if this information is not intimidating enough, there are further considerations.  What TYPE of cancer do I have?  Are there Hormone Receptors…..does the cancer feed off my Estrogen or Progesterone hormones?  Does my cancer indicate a HER2 Receptor status?  What is my Lymph Node status?

I don’t have that information at this time.  I probably won’t have that until after the July 4th holiday.  That information will then dictate whether I begin Chemotherapy, Radiation therapy, or an oral drug therapy.  I’ve been told my treatment plan will begin by reducing the cancer size and stopping its growth BEFORE surgery will be even considered.

In this information overload process I have learned that every single person is eligible for good medical care.  Hospitals CANNOT turn you away for a lack of Insurance or ability to pay for your treatment.

One of my daughters is an ICU Trauma Nurse at Denver General.  She has over 10 years of experience in her field and she did some research to find a clinic or hospital for me to go for treatment.  She has also made her recommendation of the Surgeon I am to initially see for my treatment plan based on her knowledge of the inner workings of hospitals and the continued education of the doctors employed by hospitals.

Another daughter who is a nurse in Kansas has been staunchly advocating the role of hospitals and doctors in the care of ALL patients.  No matter their financial situation or Insurance coverage – or lack of Insurance coverage.  Hospitals are there to help everyone who needs it.  According to my Kansas daughter, hospitals have staff well versed in the charities and the grants available to everyone for their treatment.  There are people at hospitals whose sole job is to guide the patient through the quagmire of paperwork and options to best help in their treatment and subsequent return to health.

Had I known this information at the start of 2016 I would not be in the position I am in today.

I have a huge fault….some may call it a SIN.  I have a lot of pride.  I do things myself.  I don’t depend on, nor do I ask others for help.  My other fault….SIN is that I am impatient.

So, due to my enormous faults….SINs.  I am now in the unenviable position of asking for help and having to be patient.

Please, I beg you.  If you know someone who is facing a major illness and they are putting off treatment because they can’t afford it.  HOUND THEM!  Tell them to get their butts to a doctor or, at the very least, the Emergency Room of a local hospital.  If the local hospital is not equipped to deal with the illness they HAVE TO tell the person where they can GET the proper treatment.

Finally….sorry this is so long.  For all of you, my dear friends, that have found my having breast cancer unbearable and you feel really sad for me.  I have a suggestion that I hope will help you to deal with this discomfort.  Be, what is the word I am looking for?  Disgraceful?  No that is not it.  Disrespectful.  Yes!  That is the word I am looking for.

If you want to send me a greeting card to show your support.  Here are the rules.

  1.  The sentiment HAS to be something OUTRAGEOUS!  For example:  “You can’t skip and be unhappy at the same time”.  Dylusions Quote Medley.
  2. I will even be open to:  “You would think that with all your Multiple personalities at least one would be likable”.  Dylusions Quote Medley.
  3. You HAVE to use your paper scraps.  Don’t run to your local craft and hobby store for a new pad of paper.
  4. If you have a YouTube channel, please share your creation and let people know that you are supporting someone with breast cancer.  This might give another card maker or paper crafter permission to express their love and support to someone they don’t quite know how to put in words what they are feeling.
  5. Private message me for my address, if you don’t already  have it.
  6. Prepare yourself to be honored.  I will be home for about a year now through this process and I will be making videos.  I will be showing the cards I receive and showing my appreciation for each of  you.

I am going to get through this.  With or without you.  I have a grandbaby that will be coming into this family in November or December.  I HAVE to be there to welcome her into this world.  I have twin granddaughters that are now 2 years old.  I have to be able to get out to the thrift shops to find frilly dresses and over the top jewelry for them to play dress up.  I have a grandson who is currently 7 years old who is far older than his years that needs to know that I love him and support his computer game adventures.  I have a husband, whom I adore, that is enveloped by a cloak of fear that I have to remove.  I have daughters, sons, daughter-in-laws, son-in-laws that I need to continue to love and support their lives.  I have friends that are in need of my support and love just as much as I need it from them.

Leslie

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12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KATIE
    Jul 01, 2016 @ 15:09:55

    Sometimes sweet sister, you have to go to someone else. Oh how I wish I could give you what you need. Oh how I wish it would be easy. I can only pray, I can only give moral support. I can’t make it go away. I love you like a real sister. I ask our Father in Heaven to be there by your side to give you comfort, to try and help you understand. I lost my husband to cancer, I’d hate to lose you too. Take care darlin, I’m here.

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jul 03, 2016 @ 12:09:26

      Thank you, Katie, for your heartwarming comment. I have been blessed to have you as a friend in my life and I appreciate you very much. I’m sorry to learn you lost your husband to cancer. Thank you for your prayers on my behalf. Your love and support mean a great deal to me, as does your friendship.
      Love you – Leslie

      Reply

  2. DeeAnn
    Jul 01, 2016 @ 15:49:43

    Your post is giving me such inspiration. I do know nowadays breast cancer is so highly treatable with such a high success rate. I just feel in my heart you are going to be a high success rate. There are some good things about Obamacare and some just confusing and horrible. I guess it’s like that with any insurance. My husband’s boss came up to him during “insurance period” sign ups and even asked about Obamacare because his own private insurance rates went through the roof and this is a man that makes excellent money. He couldn’t afford the rates of his old health insurance. Makes you wonder how expensive they were. He even asked my husband who we were using so the company could switch over since employer insurance was outrageous and couldn’t cover much. It would have made my husband pay more if he used employer insurance. It is actually cheaper for us to get the same coverage under Obamacare. Isn’t that messed up? Several of the employer’s did switch to Obamacare so the company won’t go under. It is a small but highly respected company. Trust me it’s not much coverage. I have a bad digestive disorder right now. I am having GERD and a possible hiatal hernia. It is very painful. The problem is I can’t do traditional treatments because I am low acid. The doctors want to do traditional treatments. I went on PPI’s and I got so sick. I also have anxiety disorder which made it worse when taking the PPI’s. Now, I am even sicker than before. I like you I am very do it on my own, don’t bother anyone. This has caught up to me, especially the anxiety disorder. I found out that most “mental” illness is not in the head but due to digestive. I want you to know if you need a friend to talk to you can e-mail me anytime. I think you can click my screen name it will take you to my e-mail. I am actually right next door to you in Southwest Missouri. I enjoy your posts about traveling through the Ozarks. Big Hugs and Prayers to you. You are going to beat this and be so strong from it.

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jul 03, 2016 @ 12:17:53

      Thank you, DeeAnn, for sharing your insurance experience with me. What a mess it is and so hard to figure out what to do. My husband has a hiatal hernia and suffers from stomach issues as well as you. He has found relief in Nexium. Unlike you, Joe has a large problem with stomach acid so this has been a great relief to him.

      You are so right about the anxiety disorders not being mental but physical. I will hold you up in prayer for your medical issues to be resolved in a manner that is beneficial to your life. May God have you in his hands and heal you either with the aid of medical professionals or as a miracle. It is miserable when you are ill with no end in sight.

      Hugs to you – Leslie

      Reply

  3. veeccee
    Jul 01, 2016 @ 17:51:38

    Leslie, this quote may be incorrect (brain cells not all that retentive 🙂 ) but hope the meaning is clear……..”Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others — cannot live in the shadows themselves”.
    You bring sooooo…….much sunshine into others lives, may you feel the warmth of the sun on yourself.
    Thank you for your down to earth, honest ‘chats’ thank you for your quirky and joyous sense of humour. Thank you for sharing with others, the good and not so good times. This helps all to know that whatever they may be struggling with, they are not alone.
    You have a special place and a special job to do here on this earth. You are a special messenger and we are all so grateful for you.
    Love, hugs and prayers
    VeeCee from UK
    PS I don’t have your personal contact details, where may I find them?

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jul 03, 2016 @ 12:35:48

      I have tried to email you from my personal account and had no success. We may have better success through YouTube and their private message thing. Thank you so very much for your amazingly wonderful comment you have left. I appreciate your words and the special feeling you gave me.
      Hugs – Leslie

      Reply

  4. Jen
    Jul 01, 2016 @ 22:18:37

    I had a feeling you weren’t a person for cards with seagulls and sunsets, but where do you stand on firefighters with no Shirts? Sending hugs. Will try to FB messenger you for your address. Jen

    Reply

  5. aspot2stampmy dear friend
    Jul 04, 2016 @ 15:44:38

    First off don’t beat yourself up many of us suffer with the same struggles you do.. who wants to go to the doctor when we think surely this is not what we think it could be. That is called being human. The insurance issues are a huge monkey on your back. I know this because of all the stuff with my Mom and I’m not sure obama care was in effect then. They had us jumping through hoop after hoop so I am very happy to hear you have savvy professionals in your family to help you get through the red tape. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Although you being home for a year because of health stuff aint so good I will tell you that I for one will be watching every video you post as you share your sunny smile and wicked good crafting skills 🙂 Love you bunches my dear friend!!

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jul 09, 2016 @ 06:16:27

      Thank you, Shelly, my dear sweet friend. I remember when you had all the trouble with your Mom’s medical issues. The frustrating time you had in getting the necessary treatment for her in crazy increments. Emergency room visits, short hospital stays, back to emergency, home treatments, back to emergency, and finally the lengthy hospital stay to correct and counteract the sporadic treatment. Juggling and balancing your family needs and your Mom’s needs was extremely difficult for you at that time. It weighed heavy on your heart and took a toll on you physically. I know you miss her greatly.

      I don’t know if things have changed in the medical community from the time your Mom went through all her trials and the current time. I don’t know if the pulmonary issues our Mom had are less researched and funded than breast cancer is. Or if it has been by some maneuvering by my Lord and Savior.

      One thing I do know is….”Be careful what you wish for!” I’ve wanted to get off the road for several years and did not actively do much about making it happen. Well, I am off the road now for at least a year. Might as well take advantage of the time off and be creative 😀

      Love you my friend – Leslie

      Reply

  6. Maria Diaz
    Jul 08, 2016 @ 22:00:02

    Dearest Leslie,

    You and Joe are our sunshine on youtube, with your travel vlogs and crafty goodness. Sharing with us the good and the bad. We love you very much and pray for a complete health and recovery. Would you and Joe consider looking into other alternatives? If so, here is a link to several videos loaded with information. give a listen, Nothing to lose and much to gain.
    Sending warm hugs from New York. love you both, Maria

    This is the name of the series. “The truth about cancer, A global quest… https://youtu.be/KqJAzQe7_0g

    I saw all of them and have begun to make changes for health and prevention of my own. And have begun to share with my family and friends.

    Maria

    Reply

    • Message In A Fold
      Jul 13, 2016 @ 18:03:09

      Maria, thank you my friend for passing along the great information you have found helpful in your own life. These videos are well worth watching and taking the steps to make changes as I can in our lives.

      I wish we would have been able to stop and see you when we were in New Jersey, and later in upstate New York. It would have been great to meet you and spend some time with you. I appreciate you as a friend in my life….never seen but right there anyway through the awesome sources on the internet.

      Sending big squeezy hugs your way – Leslie

      Reply

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