By Lauren Miscannon
I was diagnosed in Dec 2016 with Breast Cancer at the age of 44. I knew for years that I had a high chance of getting the disease because my mother was diagnosed at 42. I had very dense breast tissue so it was very difficult to feel anything unusual as everything felt like a lump to me. My mom and I both had the BRAC1/2 performed in 2009, which was negative…. thank God!
Every year from that time though I needed extra testing, either addition Mammograms or biopsies because of my dense breast tissue. However, this past year when they sent me for the MRI after having my first 3D Mammogram and then an ultra sound, I knew it was different.
Because of the holiday, I had to wait 4 weeks to have my Bi-lateral Mastectomy. I opted to do that verses possibly having radiation. I wasn’t upset about losing my breast as they have always been an issue for me as well as having sagged because of my losing a large amount of weight back in 2009.
My surgery was scheduled for Jan 11, 2017 for the mastectomy and reconstruction. However, the most infuriating part of this which added to my stress was that my boss laid me off the day before my surgery! Now I have to search for a job during my period of recuperating! The worst part is trying to figure out the whole medical/Obama Care aspect of this. As I had no income my health insurance premium went through the roof. I wanted to keep it because with the surgery being in Jan, I met and exceeded my deductible. So now everything is paid except that high premium!
After the surgery, I finally met with the oncologist and they told me that I had several other precancerous lumps in my other breast. I am glad I went with the bilateral! She told me that I had lobular carcinoma in situ stage 2A, Grade 2, ER/PR positive and HER2 Negative, but I had 3 out of 12 lymph nodes positive. The oncologist wanted to do further testing on my lumps from the Mastectomy. I had to go for a PET Scan and they sent my cells to a lab in California. I had to wait 3 weeks for all the results. The report said that if I take Tamoxifen I have only a 10% chance of cancer returning. My only concern is that my gynecologist says that I am in menopause, but since removing my IUD, we’ve realized that is not the case. Everything I have read says that I should have my ovaries removed because of the history and being ER+. My oncologist says it doesn’t matter, but I am waiting to hear back from my gynecologist. I believe either way, I want them removed!
I have to say that the biggest supporter has been my dad. I feel bad as he had to go through this with my mother, not only with her breast cancer but with two bouts of lung cancer! Regardless, he has gone with me to most of my appointments. I don’t know what I would do without him!
I do have two high school children that have also helped when asked. But I am having more of an issue with my kids especially my daughter. Back in 2009, I got a divorce, and we moved from PA to FL. I believe she blames me for everything even though, with the advice of her therapist, I told her the real reason why we divorced and moved. He cheated! All she does is spend time in her room isolating herself. It is making me depressed as she would not even go to a movie that she wanted to see!
Some other support I have found is on Facebook or other breast cancer websites. I am just getting out there, so I don’t know too many other people yet. I also just went this past week to a church support group which was very helpful. My only concern originally going was that everyone was going to be in their 60s or older as I live in Gulf Coast, FL. But that wasn’t the case.
After all the research and talking with others, I can’t believe how many different forms of Breast Cancer there are. It is all very overwhelming.
I’m getting my last expander fill for my reconstruction this week March 22, 2017, so I hope to have my implant in around the end of May. That would be a great birthday present!!
I haven’t had any side effect for the Tamoxifen. I have been more interested in learning about Essential oils. I am starting to check this out, so if anyone can provide some insight!
I have to say that I have been handling the cancer pretty well. I am keeping a positive outlook and hoping that I find an enjoyable job!
Lauren Miscannon is a single mother of 2 living in Venice, FL. She is 44 years old and just diagnosed in Dec 2016. She is currently only receiving tamoxifen and should have reconstruction surgery in 8 weeks or so.