January update: Lymph node biopsy came back benign

by Tuesday, January 27th, 2015Breast Cancer33 comments

Christmas was great with both families. I am just glad to be back to a normal routine. All the holiday eating had put me into a tailspin. I’m sure I’m not alone. I feel like I have wrangled in my bad habits and have actually been able to lose 7 pounds since December. I am really conscious of what goes in my mouth. I think before I eat. (What a concept, huh?) I try to ask myself things like, How is this going to fuel my body? Is it going to make me feel good or slow me down? Will it stay with me and keep me satisfied and full? Is it something that I truly need to eat? That and making sure to try and get a workout in, at least 5 days a week.

On Tuesday we lost another great woman in our family circle, Aunt Virg. Aunt Virg was my great nieces’ — Nadine and Zoey’s — great aunt, their mother Liz’s aunt. Virg was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and has pretty much been on chemo and treatments ever since. I was lucky enough to be watching the girls last Tuesday when we got the call that Aunt Virg was probably not going to last through the night. The girls and I went over to say our last goodbyes. She passed on later that evening. Aunt Virg was such a feisty, strong woman. We sure are going to miss her.

On Wednesday, the 21st of January, I had my six-month follow-up with my oncologist. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that it’s been six months since my treatments have come to an end. On that same day, I had scheduled the ultrasound on my lymph nodes under my left arm. The radiologist said that the lymph nodes look the same if not maybe just a little smaller. Before she let me go, she wanted to check across the hall with Dr. Cheng to see if he thought we should do the biopsy or not. She was able to reach him and he said, “Let’s do the biopsy just to make sure there are no signs of cancer. Why keep doing the ultrasounds every 3 to 6 months? Let’s just find out for sure.” Mark and I both felt like that was a good decision. It’s been since July when I first found them, and since then, I have to say we have both been kind of unsettled. The results came back late Friday afternoon with the biopsy judged benign. Whew! What a nice relief that was.

Since going through chemotherapy, I have been pushed into early menopause and I am taking Tamoxifen, so my body lacks estrogen. How should I put it? Things aren’t like they used to be. Physical intimacy has become physically painful. So I have been visiting the WISH Clinic at Froedtert. Yesterday, I had my first appointment with a physical therapist to do some biofeedback on my pelvic floor muscles. I learned a lot from her. She gave me an education on the human anatomy in the whole pelvic floor area, and how all the muscles down there are connected. She did some biofeedback, by connecting small electrodes to my bottom to see how my muscles down there reacted to different positions that I was in.

It was very interesting to see the graph on the computer. If I coughed, it would go up. Laying down was the position that made my muscles the tensest. Little did I know that my hips are really tight, and that may be the cause of my discomfort. She showed me a couple of stretching exercises I should do every day. These exercises are actually ones that we do in yoga. Huh, I guess going to yoga does more for the body than just help with proper breathing and balance. Now that I know that, I surely won’t be missing my yoga classes!

Today I am going to the next orientation for the Livestrong program at the YMCA. Last year at this time, I was part of the first group that the Y offered this program to. I think it’s a great way to let cancer survivors know how important exercise is, and to prove to them that they can do it. I am so grateful to have been a part of it, and just love being at the Y now nearly every day.

I hope, in this post, I didn’t disclose too much information to everyone, but I just want to share with whoever is out there, going through a cancer diagnosis, some of the things that you may have to deal with — and hopefully some sort of solution to the problem.

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