Friday, September 16, 2011

My Breast Cancer Journey: Guest Blogger - Yvette Register

Assembling the Medical and Support Team – Part 2     

The following article is part two of a five part series on a personal
experience with Breast Cancer written by Yvette Register

ORLANDO - Being diagnosed with breast cancer was shocking. For a few days I walked around in disbelief. My brother Darryl reminded me of a bible verse I used when I spoke at a church scholarship dinner a couple of years ago.  

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

It helped because up until then I didn’t have the nerve to review the diagnosis the doctor had given me the prior week. On the lab result I read the words Invasive Adenocarcinoma of the ductal type. It occupied 60 percent of the biopsied tissue. What in the world did that mean? I started researching this on the internet to learn as much as I could so I would be prepared when I talked to the doctors that would make up my medical team. I discovered that this is the most common type of breast cancer and it accounts for 8 out of 10 invasive breast cancers. It starts in a duct, breaks through the wall of the duct and invades the tissue of the breast. It could spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. That was something I really didn’t want to think about. I prayed that spreading had not happened.

After doing some research on my own, I used a three ring binder to organize my notes, diagnosis paperwork, lab test results, doctor’s appointments, questions, insurance paperwork and all the information I’d get during my journey. I needed to do this because it was time to do something. It was time to assemble my medical team. 

When I talked to some cancer survivors they told me that when they found out they had breast cancer their surgery followed quickly. For me it seemed like it took forever to get to that point. I spent the entire month of February and most of March interviewing doctors and having more tests done. I asked the Lord to help me find the best doctors for me. I used the recommendations my gynecologist and family practitioner gave me to begin the process of assembling my medical team.

Equipped with my internet research, I interviewed surgeons. I selected my two surgeons because I liked the patient education process they took me through and their compassionate bedside manners. That’s what I was looking for and needed. I would learn that many of the questions I had such as the exact size of the tumor, the stage of the cancer and the type of treatment could not be answered until after the surgery. I was given the surgical options and explained the choices are an individual decision. 

I also met with an Oncologist. She would be responsible for the coordination of my chemotherapy treatments. She spent a lot of time during my initial visit and prepared me for what that process involved. She explained that the exact plan of treatment would come after surgery. She didn’t assume that I automatically wanted chemotherapy. When she asked me what I thought I told her "Are you kidding, I already bought a wig! I’m ready." It was the truth. I thought I might as well get a wig now rather than wait until I was bald. At the end of my appointment she hugged me. Wow! I felt special. I’m glad I added her to my team.

Another member of my medical team that I added was a radiologist. He explained to me that chemotherapy treated the entire body and radiation treated the site where the tumor was removed. He also explained the possible side effects. Again, I would have to wait until after surgery to find out if I needed radiation.

In addition to my medical team, I needed the help of a support system. Part of my support team includes my friends the other part my family. I have been blessed to have my mother heading up the family support team. She has been to every doctor appointment since my diagnosis. And another blessing came in the form of my brother Ron and his wife Barbara. They had been planning to move for a while but couldn’t sell their home. When I told them about my diagnosis, their house sold and they moved to Florida from Ohio to be here to help me in my office so I could focus on getting well. All I know is that without a shadow of a doubt God is great. 

I hope you will stay with me as I continue the journey with articles on the surgery, the chemotherapy experience and radiation treatments. It is my desire to let people know that if they or someone they know is diagnosed with breast cancer that they should focus on assembling the best medical care and support team possible. The Lord blesses many doctors with the knowledge and expertise to help heal us through the field of medicine. I am thankful for the healing process in the journey.

Annointed - Now Is the Time

1 comment:

  1. Is there someone in your life who could be blessed by this story? Get it to them today!