Friday, August 21, 2009

Journey so far, continued

August 16, 2009 - I spoke to my cousin Lisa. She was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. She is two years younger than me. She told me that she has the BRCA2 gene mutation.

August 18, 2009 - I went back to Dr. Maurer. She said this is a very small cancer and can probably be treated with a lumpectomy and radiation. I told her my cousin had the gene mutation. She said I needed to be tested immediately but it takes a few weeks to come back. If I have the gene mutation. I need a double mastectomy and my ovaries removed. She also suspects my Mom had breast cancer that went to the bone and not a type of bone cancer. We have all suspected this. I leave her office with a pile of prescriptions for tests. I pray that it hasn't gone anywhere else.

August 20, 2009 - I went for my genetic counseling appointment. The counselor was excellent. Her name is Bhuma Krishnamachari. He recently moved to NY from Chicago. She really knew her stuff. She told me the lifetime breast cancer risk if you have the gene mutation is 85%. If you have your ovaries removed premenopausally you can reduced that risk by 90%. That puts the risk around 4%. The risk for ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer is also higher if you have the gene mutation. They drew the blood and will let me know the results in a few weeks.

August 21, 2009 - My Dad and Betty took Julianna and I had to go for an MRI of both breasts and a full body bone scan. I had to have an IV for contrast. After the MRI I had to go to the bone scan place. They injected a radioactive substance. I had to come back in three hours after drinking a lot of fluid. They need you to wait three hours so the radioactive substance has time to get into the bone. The tech was really nice and compassionate. She was in nuclear medicine for 44 years. After the scan I saw my skeleton on the screen in various views. I thought it was pretty neat to see. They told me before I left that it was fine but that is not the official report yet. They did see an inflammation in my lower jaw right where I have a crown that is bothering me. Interesting that they can pick that up.

I have to say all the medical people I have seen so far have been really great. I am lucky that I have encountered them even though it is for a bad reason. The waiting is really hard. The hardest part so far. All my friends and family have been so great. Thank you all for that. I really do appreciate it.


  1. Thanks for this, Mary Ellen. I think of you every day, and while I know it's not fair in so many ways, I also know that you are as strong as they come and will beat this handily. I just can't wait until the moment when that belief is reality! It will be very soon, I hope!

  2. MaryEllen,

    You are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. I believe that that energy goes out to you and does good. We are optimistic!
    We think your blog is a great idea. I hope I use it correctly.