Monday, June 7, 2010

Inspiration

I met with a 32 year old woman named Michelle this past weekend. We met on Saturday morning at Caribou Coffee. She's a breast cancer "survivor." (I think we all need to come together and think of a new word instead of "survivor" by the way. A request to be explained later.) Michelle was diagnosed when she was 29 years old and Dr. Borges was her Onc as well. Michelle opted for the bi-lateral mastectomies after she first chose the lumpectomy procedure. When they got in there, they realized she had not one tumor, but two, side by side. One was ductal and the other, the new one, was lobular. They didn't get clean margins the first time they went in and they had to re-open the first incision and get the clean margins they needed. 50% of the time this happens with a lumpectomy. After finding more than they expected, they went with the double and the immediate reconstruction.

I couldn't imagine a better person for me to meet during this process. Michelle is currently 7 months pregnant with their first baby. She is where I want to be in 3 years. She is where I was suppose to be in 1 year.

She came off of Tamoxifen after 1 year to get pregnant. Depending on what they decide for their second baby, she'll go back on Tamoxifen to finish out the 5 year term. Michelle told me that she's always wanted 2 children. But they still have their fears of a recurrence with her being off of Tamoxifen for so long to conceive the second child. With tears in her eyes she told me - they didn't let cancer change anything else in their lives - they still got married and continued moving forward throughout the whole process. If they didn't have that second baby, like they had always planned, after everything she's been through, she'd still feel like she lost -- like cancer had won - because it changed her plans.

To come so far - and endure so much - and to still feel so vulnerable - that you could still lose ...

I've always told Mike that I wanted two ...

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