Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tom Here on Sheri's Behalf

Sheri is having a bad night after a not-so-bad day. She's in a lot of pain from ... surgery, drain tubes, we fear BLOCKED drain tubes, and nausea, which could be from the pain, or the pain pills, or both. Whatever the causes, since she's too blah to blog, but is nonetheless bursting at the seams with news too weird and too good to keep to herself, she asked me to pinch hit for her. Gladly!

A quick refresher:

1. The MRI results were NOT good! It showed "hot spots" or "areas of concern" in ...

A) Sheri's left breast, which indicated that the tumor was bigger than they first thought. Recall that they started out with an estimate of 6 to 7 millimeters (about 1/4 inch). Then every time we talked to them after that, they upped the estimated size even more! First it was 1.5 cm (about 1/2 inch), then they went over 2 cm (about 3/4 inch). That in turn moved her from a stage 1 tumor to a stage 2 tumor.
B) The lymph nodes on the left side. The oncologist estimated that 1 and possibly 2 nodes were cancerous. (She put it at 80 percent that Sheri had cancer there.) Based on this, she went on and staged Sheri as a Stage 2, N1 (one node).
C) Her right breast, where there showed several ... spots. The oncologist didn't say they were cancer. Could be pre-cancerous, she said. (Still not good.)

2. Surgery removed everything in question. Recall that they did a quick check for cancer in her lymph nodes during surgery and didn't find any. But pathology had a boat load of tissue to search through and we were told that it could be several days before we got the results of checks on her left and right breasts and her lymph nodes.

Today was the day!

Okay, Sheri's nodes are clean. We've come to LOVE percentages based on these two numbers alone. Sheri was given that original 90 percent chance that she didn't have cancer. Frankly, she was too cocky, based solely on those odds. She was as you all know the "1 in 10." Someone had to be. Now, faced with the 80 percent chance of having cancer in her lymph nodes, she accepted her fate. She HAS TO BE in the 8 out of 10, right? Wrong! Ha! Is God trying to tell us something?

We'll just thank God and try to make sense of this another day.

The spots in Sheri's right breast were not cancer. Again, thank the Lord! She can't remember for sure what the clinician said they were. She remembers that it's rare. I've taken a guess that she said it was calcification. It's a guess! If someone is smart enough to know that's not possible, keep it to yourself. Deal?

Here's the kicker....

From the outset, Sheri has been given the "opportunity" to save her breast (left) or breasts (both). They were less enthusiastic about doing lumpectomies after the MRI showed "the spots" in Sheri's right breast. They said, "If that's pre-cancerous tumors then I'm afraid we'll be chasing the cancer, but if you want to try to save your breasts, it's an option that's still on the table." Sheri of course thought about it (who wouldn't?), but in the end, you know her decision.

So, the tumor which just keeps getting bigger and bigger was upped today to almost 3 centimeters, which God only knows how big that is in a unit of measure that we can understand. I believe they ended up quadrupling that tumor's estimated size over the past 2 months. Next month it will be a bolder!

But it gets better!

Sheri's left breast has gotten more attention over the past 2 months than Jessica Simpson's waistline, butt, and ugly jeans combined! She has routinely and repeatedly had doctors give her breast exams. She's had probably 8 to 10 mammography shots from virtually every imaginable angle. She's had a sonagram. She's had the MRI. After all of that, she still had the option of them performing a lumpectomy. And had she made that choice, she would have never known about a SECOND tumor in her left breast! Gasp!

You read right friends and fellow countrymen. They missed a tumor of 1.3 centimeters in her left breast! Even as I type this, my head is still reeling! I don't even know what to do with this news except to thank God!

We have had one weird incident after another throughout this ordeal. Recall that Sheri went in for a low thyroid and her family doctor who she just met decided to do a breast exam. He felt something. But ... even after the mammogram CONFIRMED a lump, neither the surgeon nor the oncologist could find it during their exams. I should say, they couldn't find EITHER ONE OF THEM! If you don't believe in God then you say, "Wow, how lucky!" I say "wow" alright, but I end it with "how wonderful! Thank you Lord!"

From that so-called flukey first lump discovery to the so-called flukey second lump discovery and every day and every way in between, the Lord has been there. He could have dazzled us without cancer, but there's something about the cancer that seems to guarantee that we're paying attention. We are! We are impressed! And humbled. And eternally thankful.

Lord willing, Sheri will be back tomorrow night with hopefully more light and laughter. I like a good yuck too, but right now I am just too blown away by God to joke much.

As always, thank you for your prayers, kind thoughts, generousity, warmth, and friendship. You are all wonderful!

Lord bless.



  1. TY Tom, for pitch hitting...always a pleasure to read your words, even under these circumstances. Sorry to hear Sheri is having a lot of pain, hopefully she can get in to the Dr & have herself checked out.
    I'd have done the same as her, under the circumstances...have both removed.
    When they found I had Uterine Cancer, they gave me a few options too...but I said "take it ALL out, everything!"
    I feel she made the right decision.
    Sounds as tho the results are good so far, Praise God!!!!!!!
    Have her in my prayers. Hope she can get some rest & that the pain eases.
    A soft hug for you Sheri...

  2. Sheri, As far as the nausea goes I had some of that. What I finally figured out was, I was taking the pain medication incorrectly. I was supposed to take it with food and didn't, thus the nausea. Once I corrected that it left.I'm not saying this is your problem but it's something to consider. Hang in there. IT WILL GET BETTER.

  3. Thanks for the updates, Tom. Out here in virtual land, it seems weird to be worrying about someone I don't know. But I do and I am.

    My 4.5 cm tumor withstood detection in sonograms, MRIs, and mammograms and presented itself when my right breast hit the pathology table. All along I worried about what we didn't know, what we couldn't see and that instinct proved correct. Sheri's did too. Thank God!

    Sheri, your pathology report proves you made the correct choices. Take strength from these positives because that is exactly what they are--affirmations that you've made informed, good decisions for your health.

    My prayers are with you during this tough recovery. Be well.