Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Big C - The Scary Reality

GAAAAAAH! It's June and I just realized that I only posted ONCE for the entire month of May. So many things are happening in my life right now. I sometimes don't know where to put myself first. *laughs* Oh well, I think it's finally time to talk about something personal that happened to me...
It's been 2 months since this health scare happened so I think it's finally time to really talk about it. It all started a year ago (June2014) when I was in the shower. As a nurse and a woman, I'm highly aware of the benefits of doing self breast examination and yet I haven't been doing it religiously.
So that one fateful day, while lathering up with my "sakura blossom" shower gel, I felt something. It was small and it didn't hurt but it was definitely there... I thought "oh it's nothing, just my hormones acting up" but a week later it was still there... Over the course of a few months, the bump came and went and I paid it no mind. I had more important things to do, right? Wrong move...
Fast forward to April 05, 2015 (Easter Sunday)... I woke up that morning with a dull throbbing in my breast and I realized that overnight the small bump was now a bit mushy and had grown bigger. It looked (and felt) inflamed and there was pain. Yes, there was a dull pain on the area which freaked me out a bit... I decided that I would make an effort to get it checked as soon as possible.
I sought out medical help on April 08, 2015 and that's when my whole world spiraled downwards...
I went to a female surgeon, Dra. R., she had informed me that her first impression is that I'm dealing with an infected cyst. I breathed a sigh of relief. She then instructed me to start with antibiotics and go for a breast ultrasound so that we could be really sure of what we were dealing with and so she'll know how big the cyst would be prior to excision... I went to have the breast ultrasound done the same day... The results are in the photo below...
 photo 1_zpsml5eqrjs.jpg
Needless to say, I freaked out. I F*CKIN FREAKED OUT!!! I started hyperventilating... Why? Why was this happening? Could this really be happening? Could this cyst really be malignant? Buts. Ifs. Whys. I had a positive cancer history on both sides of the family, so I was at really high risk for this. SH*T. That was all I could think of.
After I got the ultrasound result, I met with Dra. R. again and we discussed the options. I saw in her face that she was also a bit confused by the ultrasound because she had initially thought that it was only an infected cyst but we still discussed the options. We decided to push through with a fine needle aspiration biopsy first. If the biopsy came back positive with, dare I say, cancer then we had two options... We could go for breast conservation, which preserves the health breast tissue while removing only the diseased part, it's also called a lumpectomy or we could go a more radical route and have a mastectomy. MASTECTOMY...
*sigh* I've scrubbed in with surgeons performing mastectomies. I know how they do it. I know what they remove. I know how big ass of a scar it leaves behind. This is one thing that sucks being a nurse - you know most of what it actually going on... Mastectomy... The word reverberated deep inside me and I cried a little at my surgeon's clinic. It would involve her removing the entire breast (my right breast, to be exact)...

"DEAR GOD, KEEP ME CALM, GIVE ME STRENGTH." That was another thing going through my head... I needed to keep calm and make rational decisions. I was 23 years old, old enough to decide so I told my surgeon that if my biopsy would come back positive for cancer, we would go with the more extreme route which is the mastectomy...Why so radical, you ask? With lumpectomies, the percentages of relapses are higher than with mastectomies... 
I told my parents & grandparents and a handful of other special people that night. I needed their support. I needed them to be with me during this process but even with all of them talking to me, texting me, hugging me... I still felt all alone. I was scared. I had every right to be a bit hostile too, right? I mean, I was scared...
That night I went to sleep and prayed that God would give me rest. I prayed that he would just protect me through the night and give me a semblance of normalcy the next few days to come...
April 10, 2015, I had my fine needle aspiration biopsy was done at 10am. At this point my blood pressure was a bit high (140/90) and I was a nervous wreck. It was a good thing I worked with the people inside the operating room. I truly felt lucky to have people inside the OR that cared for me and it was one of those instances I thanked God that I'm a nurse... Along with Dra. R., Arielle B. a.k.a BBGirl and Sir Andrew S. were inside the theater with me. BBGirl assisted my surgeon while Sir Andrew held my hand as I fought back the tears that sprung as soon as that needle went a bit too deep for comfort. I was only under LOCAL anesthesia and though that would be okay for most, I went through a rough time because I have very low pain tolerance... As soon as Dra. was deep enough to aspirate, she did so and it came out as pus. Pus = NANA = INFECTION, as she previously thought it was. She was talking to me the whole time and she told me that this was a good sign. This partly confirms her first thought. She went ahead and made a bigger incision, put in a penrose drain, sutured it lightly to secure it in place and bandaged me up... 
April 20, 2015, the biopsy results came in. NEGATIVE FOR MALIGNANCY.
I was shaking as I read the "verdict". That was a scare... I was so relieved that it was negative...  I prayed and thanked God and all my angels for this result... I went to my surgeon the next day and we both smiled... The next step was to plan for the excision. I wanted to get rid of this infected cyst permanently...
 photo 2_zpslbvwzchl.jpg
I had my breast mass (infected cyst) removed last April 23, 2014. 
 This time I opted t o be under general intravenous anesthesia (via an IV) under Dr. C's supervision. Dr. C's another great anesthesiologist that took care of me while I was under anesthesia... He gave me Propofol (Lipuro) and I woke up about 2 hours later in the recovery room.
10 days later I received the biopsy result, another negative. I was beyond relieved at this point...
Lesson learned indeed.
LOVE YOUR BUMPS, CHECK FOR LUMPS!
No LUMP is "too small" to just dismiss.
PAIN IS NEVER NORMAL!
When you feel a pain, any kind of pain, and it's in an area where you don't usually feel pain, have it checked... It may be nothing BUT it also may be something.
I hope all my lovely readers, especially the females, will start doing self breast examination. The first step is always being aware of your own body and about the increasing risk of cancer (even if you have a negative family history) due to our lifestyle.
I'll be ending this post with a link to 
HOW TO DO SELF BREAST EXAMINATION.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Where Have I Been?!

Hello everyone! It's been a month since my last blog post and I've received some messages on my Facebook page asking me where I've been and what have I been up to? Well today I've decided to finally update my blog because I have a bit of free time to spare...


 photo tumblr_m4eq78erXU1qmbt9lo1_500_zpsfjhhu5lx.jpg

I had so many blog posts lined up for May2015 yet didn't manage to publish any of them due to time constraints and a lot of things happening in my personal life... It all started last April2015... I've been having several health issues that I needed to attend to immediately. That was a major reason why I haven't been posting anything on this blog. I'm currently working on a blog post explaining the health scare I went through in the hopes that this opens up your eyes to the importance of taking care of yourself.

Another reason for my absence were my classes for my masteral degree. As most of you know by now, I'm a nurse by profession and have been trying to complete all my academic requirements for my masteral degree classes before I take my big comprehensive exam and move onto my thesis making... I've been having classes since May 04 and until recently have been swamped with school requirements.

May has also been a busy month for my lil online bakeshop Sugar Works. I've been dealing with several orders that are a bit more complex than my usual pineapple upside down cake. In case you're from Zamboanga (hello ZC readers!) please check out my page and support a local baker! *wink*

I'll be cutting this post short for now but expect a new blog post about my health experiences very soon!