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Original diagnosis email

August 9, 2009

I’m starting the blog by just logging in emails I originally sent to my email prayer support group. The original date on this email was July 11, 2009.

Unfortunately, my breast cancer has come back in my left lung and in my right 8th rib. At first we thought the rib might be some sort of old injury, but I received a call from my doctor last night saying that it looks like it’s also cancer. Both spots look like they’re the same cancer I had five years ago. They’ll do a more detailed pathology and we’ll know more about it early next week.

The good part about it is that the cancer was staved off for five years — almost to the day. This means that it’s slow growing and responded to the previous chemo.

The bad part is that I will now required further very aggressive treatment, which will likely mean several months of “the full meal deal” of surgery, chemo, and radiation. Again, I’ll know more when we get the full pathology next week.

The cancer I have is called “triple negative” breast cancer, which means that it does not respond to any of the newest drugs. Triple negative breast cancer has not been studied a great deal yet because it accounts for only 15% of cases. That’s changing, and new things are coming up, but nothing on the immediate horizon. There’s a slight possibility that my cancer could “switch” from triple negative to the “hormone receptor positive” cancer, in which case there will be more options open to me. Again, we’ll know more when we have the final pathology.

I’ve sent you this email because you were in my support group in the past. I’ll still need support, but let me know if you want to continue to get these emails or not.

Meanwhile, we’re going to need a lot of support over the next few months, particularaly prayers. The doctors are optimistic that they can kill the two spots they found, but this also means there are cancer cells floating around in my system. There’s no way to predict if this will work or how long it will last.

Needless to say, I’m pretty depressed and frightened. Daniel and Hank are in the same boat. I know we’ll pull ourselves out, but this is definitely not a place we wanted to be in our lives.

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