Breast Cancer

Goodbye Beautiful Sister @Jada_FA, You Will Be Missed

Posted on Feb 5, 2014 in Breast Cancer | 0 comments

@Jada_FA photos

Breast cancer, particularly the breast cancer social media (#bcsm) community, is a community and sisterhood that none of us want to be a part of, but we’re so thankful it exists when we do become a part of this sisterhood.

I don’t remember exactly when I stumbled upon the #bcsm community and its Monday night Twitter chat, but it was sometime in September 2012 when I set up my “Carrots and Kale” @CarrotsandKale Twitter account, which was several months after my January 2012 breast cancer diagnosis. However, I do remember how I found it. It was a tweet by @boingboing blogger and journalist Xeni Jardin @xeni. Thank you Xeni! The #bcsm community has been a Godsend and I’m so thankful to have found it.

I’m mostly a lurker in the #bcsm community because the Monday night chat moves pretty quickly and I work on Monday nights so some nights it’s hard to keep up with switching back and forth from work to the chat. But on quiet work nights, I’m able to participate in the chat. Last night work was pretty busy so I wasn’t able to jump over to the #bcsm chat until the very end of it. That’s when I saw tweets about @Jada_FA’s passing (@Jada_FA on Twitter and @yehida on Instagram).

For some reason it hit me like a bullet to the chest. I didn’t know Jada/yehida personally and only recently started following her after seeing tweets of hers through conversations she was having with other #bcsm women who I follow. But what I witnessed and gathered through her tweets was that she was a gentle soul with a spirit so full of light and love.

It’s amazing how you can get a sense of someone in as little as 140 characters. We all follow a lot of people, but every now and again, certain people shine a little brighter and touch your soul more than others. She was one of them for me. I wish she had more time and I wish I had the opportunity to know her personally. She was filled with love and beauty (inside and out) and a spirit so gentle yet so strong.

She will be missed by many and my heart goes out to her family and friends. This world is a little darker with her not in it. But the spirit world has gained a beautiful angel, spirit, soul.

Even though I did not know her personally, the news of her loss brought tears to my eyes. It hurts. It hurts because she was so young. With so much more life to live. Too young to die. It hurts because she was part of our sisterhood and her death hits home for us because we have the same disease.

Breast cancer is an ugly and sneaky disease that can’t be trusted and there is no cure for it. It infuriates me that we have no cure, that we don’t know what causes it and we are dying from it every day. I think Xeni summed it up so eloquently when she tweeted this:

@xeni tweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well said, Xeni.

Here’s Jada’s last tweet and final words to us on Twitter:

@Jada_FA last tweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye sister. You are loved and you will be missed. xoxo

 

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Could Your Cancer Diagnosis Be Wrong?

Posted on Jul 22, 2013 in Breast Cancer, Cancer | 1 comment

Prevent a Cancer Misdiagnosis with the ‘Know Error’ System

Could Your Cancer Diagnosis Be Wrong?

Being diagnosed with cancer is difficult enough, but the thought that your biopsy sample is contaminated or mixed with another sample is a frightening thought. It can lead to a misdiagnosis that results in being treated for cancer that you don’t actually have, which puts you at further risk from the temporary side effects and permanent damage that cancer treatments cause. Or equally has bad, being told your result is benign when it isn’t and then being sent on your merry way thinking you are cancer-free, which leaves the cancer growing inside of you without your knowledge.

“This scenario happens to approximately 3,000 women who undergo breast biopsies every year – or one out of every 100 cases,” according to a recent story from Fox News. Even though a misdiagnosis is rare, it is still alarming! Especially if you’re the 1 in 100. I always say the statistic I’m most concerned with is the statistic of ONE: me!

In the past year-and-a-half, I have had four biopsies for breast cancer. The first result came back as pre-cancer (atypical lobular hyperplasia, bordering lobular carcinoma in-situ). The next biopsy was a surgical biopsy removing the pre-cancerous tissue. The pathology on it came back as invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) — my devastating cancer diagnosis in January of 2012 — mixed with previously diagnosed pre-cancerous tissue.

The last two biopsies, in September of 2012, were recommended after I had a post treatment follow-up MRI that showed three areas of concern in my right breast, which is the same breast that I was treated for breast cancer in early 2012. The result of these two biopsies were negative for malignancy (huge sigh of relief) and were diagnosed as benign conditions.

Most likely my four biopsies were my tissue and these diagnoses are correct, but because I was unaware of the ‘Know Error’ system at the time of each of my biopsies, I have no way of really knowing for sure if I was properly diagnosed and treated. The ‘Know Error’ system has the ability to match your DNA to the DNA of your tumor/tissues samples being biopsied to provide 100 percent accuracy that the biopsy sample is indeed from you and therefore results in a correct diagnosis. All it takes is a simple cheek swab at the time of biopsy to get your DNA and then it’s matched with your biopsy sample to confirm that your tissue is indeed yours.


The Know Error System — How It Works Video

Unfortunately, my most recent MRI follow-up this past May resulted in two areas of concern and a MRI-guided biopsy was recommended. I declined the MRI-guided biopsy because, at this time, I didn’t want to risk going through another invasive biopsy only to have it turn out as benign. Of course, it could be malignant, but given the high-false positive rate of MRIs and the fact that my last two biopsies were benign, I’m hoping the same is true this time around, so for now, I’m holding off.

Unless what’s going on in my right breast resolves itself on its own, which is possible especially if it’s more inflammation and damage caused by radiation treatment, then most likely there’s another biopsy in my future. Of course I do hope it resolves itself and another biopsy is not needed, but if it doesn’t and I do opt for a biopsy this next go around, then I am certainly going to request that the ‘Know Error’ system be used.

To learn more about the ‘Know Error’ system, visit: http://knowerror.com/

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month — Hello Cancer!

Posted on Oct 1, 2012 in Breast Cancer, Cancer | 2 comments

Today marks the first day of October and Breast Cancer Awareness month. This year I will experience Breast Cancer Awareness month in a new light. For years I’ve been “aware” of breast cancer. I mean, how can you not be aware?! Every October it’s a sea of “pinkwashing” with all the fundraising and brands putting pink ribbons everywhere. But the sad reality is that “awareness” is where it stopped for me.

breast cancer pink ribbon

I had never had anyone super close to me who had breast cancer so I’ve never walked the journey with someone with breast cancer and no one in my family (bloodline) ever had cancer of any kind. Up until recently, I had only known three people who had breast cancer, but I knew nothing else of their situation other than I heard they were treated for breast cancer. My “awareness” of breast cancer was simply that, I was aware of it. I got my annual mammograms, which always came back fine and I went on with life. I’m embarrassed to say that I was one of those people who thought it would never happen to me. Well, it did.

Hello Breast Cancer! In January of this year I was diagnosed with Stage 1b breast cancer. Invasive lobular carcinoma to be exact, which I learned is not the most common type. Ductal is the most common type, which includes invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). My diagnosis turned my world upside down and knocked me on my ass!

It all started the day after Thanksgiving 2011 when I found a small lump on my chest. It was just on the upper inner edge of my breast. It was so high up that I wasn’t even sure if it was related to my breast so I wasn’t really thinking it was breast cancer. But I was concerned so I immediately got in to see my doctor on that Monday following Thanksgiving.

In December of 2011, I had a needle biopsy that came back as pre-cancerous (atypical lobular hyperplasia, bordering on lobular carcinoma in situ). The beginning of January of this year, I had surgery to remove what I thought was pre-cancerous tissue. The pathology on it came back as cancer because needle biopsies only take a small sample so once all the tissue was examined some of it was cancer. When my breast surgeon walked in and said those three frightening words you never want to hear, “you have cancer,” I went numb. I didn’t hear a thing she said after that. To this day, it’s still a blur. (TIP: Always bring someone with you to your appointments to take notes so you don’t miss any information and/or record it.)

However, the days and weeks that followed are crystal clear. January 2012 was the worst month of my life. It was filled with fear, lack of sleep, weight loss (from the fear, stress and no appetite), MRI, CT scans, more surgery, etc. Almost every week of this year I have had doctor’s appointments, scans, blood draws, physical therapy (for lymphedema in my breast), etc. Let’s just say it’s been an exhausting year and the worst year of my life. But just like all of my life’s challenges there are always silver linings.

The silver lining for me has been that cancer has shifted my being in positive ways. I see the world differently. I appreciate and enjoy every day and no longer take any day for granted. It has also put me on this new journey to live more green and eat as clean as I can because everything you put in and on your body affects every cell in your body.

My new journey is the reason I’m starting this blog. We live in a corrupt and polluted environment and to live and eat clean is not an easy task, but I’m determined to do whatever it takes to help my body heal and to make my body an inhospitable place for cancer. I’m a wellness warrior on a mission to kick cancer’s ass and to live the best life possible in the process — a life filled with strength, hope, love and lots of green smoothies and green juices!

Whether you have cancer, or had cancer and are working to prevent a recurrence or new cancer, or you have never had cancer and want to keep it that way, it’s my hope that what I share on this blog might help you in your own wellness journey. Reading other people’s blogs and books has certainly helped me on my journey. Their stories have helped me to stop fearing cancer and have taught me to learn to live a more abundant and purposeful life.

It’s my intention to keep my blog posts on a positive and educational note, but that’s not to say every once in awhile I may blog about some of the things that irk me, like pinkwashing or doctors who don’t believe in integrative methods. I think the next step in Breast Cancer Awareness Month should be to educate people on the reality of where most of the millions of dollars raised really go and that “standard of care” is not the only option. I’d like to see the conversation move from building awareness of getting an annual mammogram and doing monthly self-exams (which is still important) to letting people know that if diagnosed there are choices that go beyond cut (surgery), burn (radiation) and poison (chemo).

 

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