Here are the posts of my journey with Breast Cancer from day one! (Scroll down to see all posts in order)
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I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING TO ME! – April 9, 2015
Hey everyone, I’ve had a lot going on the past few weeks and it’s time I tell you guys what’s going on.
BREAST CANCER – MY TYPE – APRIL 15, 2015
Hey y’all! I wanted to sit down and explain more to you what my breast cancer type is and what it all means. This is all new to me so please take this with a grain of salt and know that I’m educating myself as well as trying to educate you!
IDC — INVASIVE DUCTAL CARCINOMA
Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), sometimes called infiltrating ductal carcinoma, is the most common type of breast cancer. About 80% of all breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas.
Invasive means that the cancer has “invaded” or spread to the surrounding breast tissues.Ductal means that the cancer began in the milk ducts, which are the “pipes” that carry milk from the milk-producing lobules to the nipple. Carcinoma refers to any cancer that begins in the skin or other tissues that cover internal organs — such as breast tissue. All together, “invasive ductal carcinoma” refers to cancer that has broken through the wall of the milk duct and begun to invade the tissues of the breast. Over time, invasive ductal carcinoma can spread to the lymph nodes and possibly to other areas of the body.
According to the American Cancer Society, more than 180,000 women in the United States find out they have invasive breast cancer each year. Most of them are diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma.
Although invasive ductal carcinoma can affect women at any age, it is more common as women grow older. According to the American Cancer Society, about two-thirds of women are 55 or older when they are diagnosed with an invasive breast cancer. Invasive ductal carcinoma also affects men.
Normal breast with invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) in an enlarged cross-section of the duct
C Dilated section of duct to hold milk
F Pectoralis major muscle
G Chest wall/rib cage
Enlargement (this is what I have and in the same place too!)
A Normal duct cell
B Ductal cancer cells breaking through the basement membrane.
C Basement membrane
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF IDC
At first, invasive ductal carcinoma may not cause any symptoms. Often, an abnormal area turns up on a screening mammogram (X-ray of the breast), which leads to further testing.
In some cases, the first sign of invasive ductal carcinoma is a new lump or mass in the breast that you or your doctor can feel. According to the American Cancer Society, any of the following unusual changes in the breast can be a first sign of breast cancer, including invasive ductal carcinoma:
- swelling of all or part of the breast
- skin irritation or dimpling
- breast pain
- nipple pain or the nipple turning inward
- redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- a nipple discharge other than breast milk
- a lump in the underarm area
THIS IS HOW I FOUND MY LUMP, I ROLLED OVER IN BED TO GO TO SLEEP AFTER WATCHING A FEW EPISODES OF VAMPIRE DIARIES AND THOUGHT I ROLLED ONTO A DOG BONE OR TOY THAT THE PUPS HAVE DRAGGED INTO BED…. WELL, OBVIOUSLY IT WAS MY BOOB. I NEW IMMEDIATELY SOMETHING WAS WRONG.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE check your boobies often and KNOW your body! I’ve known from the beginning that something was wrong and it would end up with getting a double mastectomy. I know my body well and I had the gut feeling it would lead to where I am now.
BREAST CANCER UPDATE – APRIL 15, 2015
BREAST CANCER – RECONSTRUCTION PLAN WITH PLASTIC SURGEON – APRIL 17, 2015
POST OP DAY 4 OF DOUBLE MASTECTOMY – APRIL 26, 2015
HERE’S AN UPDATE ON HOW I’M DOING POST OP WITH THIS DOUBLE MASTECTOMY SURGERY #FIGHTSTRONGJEN #BEATCANCER #BREASTCANCERSURVIVOR #BREASTCANCERAWARENESS
WARNING! CONTAINS BARE CHEST OF DOUBLE MASTECTOMY POST OP INCISIONS AND DRAINAGE TUBES.
BREAST CANCER AND CHEMO UPDATE – MAY 18, 2015
Ok y’all… here’s the low down on whats gonna happen …. the video explains a lot but here’s a more in-depth explanation of the type of issues I have and WHY I am having to have CHEMO and what the meds they will be using are.
Are you ready for tons of info???
A port or Portacath is a small medical appliance that is installed beneath the skin. A catheter connects the port to a vein. Under the skin, the port has a septum through which drugs can be injected and blood samples can be drawn many times, usually with less discomfort for the patient than a more typical “needle stick”. The port is usually inserted in the upper chest (known as a “chest port”), just below the clavicle or collar bone, leaving the patient’s hands free.
HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is one such gene that can play a role in the development of breast cancer.
Genes contain the recipes for the various proteins a cell needs to stay healthy and function normally. Some genes and the proteins they make can influence how a breast cancer behaves and how it might respond to a specific treatment. Cancer cells from a tissue sample can be tested to see which genes are normal and abnormal. The proteins they make can also be tested.
The HER2 gene makes HER2 proteins. HER2 proteins are receptors on breast cells. Normally, HER2 receptors help control how a healthy breast cell grows, divides, and repairs itself. But in about 25% of breast cancers, the HER2 gene doesn’t work correctly and makes too many copies of itself (known as HER2 gene amplification). All these extra HER2 genes tell breast cells to make too many HER2 receptors (HER2 protein overexpression). This makes breast cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled way.
Breast cancers with HER2 gene amplification or HER2 protein overexpression are called HER2-positive (which is what I have) in the pathology report. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to grow faster and are more likely to spread and come back compared to HER2-negative breast cancers. But there are medicines specifically for HER2-positive breast cancers.
The only way to “fix” or “cure” Her2 is by taking Herceptin. Herceptin can be an effective treatment both before and after surgery for people with HER2-positive breast cancer. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence after initial surgery.
Herceptin works by attaching itself to the HER2 receptors on the surface of breast cancer cells and blocking them from receiving growth signals. By blocking the signals, Herceptin can slow or stop the growth of the breast cancer. Herceptin is an example of an immune targeted therapy. In addition to blocking HER2 receptors, Herceptin can also help fight breast cancer by alerting the immune system to destroy cancer cells onto which it is attached.
I will be taking Herceptin for a whole year through the PORT every 3 weeks. It will be included with the Chemo drugs Taxotere and Carboplatin.
TAXOTERE is used to treat breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, stomach cancer, and head/neck cancer. This medication is very strong and comes with a long list of precautions. So PLEASE dont feel like I don’t want to be around you or anything, but here is a list of why I have to isolate myself for the first week of each round!
- Avoid being near people who are sick or have infections. Tell your doctor at once if you develop signs of infection.
- Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Taxotere contains alcohol and may cause a drunken feeling when the medicine is injected into your vein. Avoid drinking alcohol on the day of your injection.
- This medicine may impair your thinking or reactions for 1 to 2 hours after injection. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
- This medicine can pass into body fluids (including urine, feces, vomit, semen, vaginal fluid). For at least 48 hours after you receive a dose, avoid allowing your body fluids to come into contact with your hands or other surfaces. Patients and caregivers should wear rubber gloves while cleaning up body fluids, handling contaminated trash or laundry or changing diapers. Wash hands before and after removing gloves. Wash soiled clothing and linens separately from other laundry.
CARBOPLATIN is an antineoplastic. It works by disrupting the cell growth of cancer cells, which helps you fight cancer. Carboplatin is used to treat various types of cancer. It is a chemotherapy drug that contains platinum. It is used alone or in combination with other medications to slow or stop cancer cell growth.
So These are the meds I’ll be taking every 3 weeks starting June 2nd 2015 and will be 6 rounds so 18 weeks I’ll be in CHEMO MODE. I have to be VERY careful whom I’m around and where I go and what I do. I will have to isolate myself for the 1st week which I will be at my weakest then after week 2 and 3 I will start to get stronger again. SO, just to let y’all know I’m not avoiding you or trying to be mean, but the 1st week of each round I can’t have visitors or leave my house as a precaution. I want to be sure to not chance anything!
After the main chemo treatments I will continue the Herceptin for another 6 months and that one is basically a hormone blocker to keep my estrogen and progesterone from building any more cancerous cells until I can get my hysterectomy done. My lady parts are trying to kill me apparantly. I guess I make too much hormones and it feeds cancer cells. 😦
So there ya go! If you have any questions and I haven’t already covered it, google it… that is what I did! 🙂
Love you guys for all your support and prayers! it is really helping me through this horrible time and it’s helping me stay positive even when somedays I’m not.
EXPANSION UPDATE WITH BREAST CANCER – MAY 12, 2015
Thanks for following my journey and please keep sending prayers… it’s been a rough ride!
#breastcancer #expansion #breastreconstruction #newboobies #breastcancerawareness
UPDATE ON BREAST CANCER WITH CHEMO CYCLE 3 & MORE ISSUES- july 22,2015
Lots of stuff to talk about this time so please watch all the way through.
#breastcancer #breastcancerawareness #chemo #chemotherapy #chemosucks #migraines #oncologist #neurologist #pseudotumor
UPDATE-BREAST CANCER & NEW HEALTH PROBLEMS-8-10-2015
Hey guys! Here is the newest update from today!
Lots more going on since the last update. I don’t understand why there has been so many obstacles during this time that my health hasn’t been the best and now I’m having to change up my chemo. I talked with my Oncologist and Neurologist this evening and they told me they are changing my regimen… I don’t know what they will be doing, but I have been doing Taxotere, Carboplatin and Herceptin (TCH)
With the new treatment they decide on I will post a new update tomorrow after my infusion.
I appreciate all the prayers and thoughtful words you all send to me! I really warms my heart! I love you all! xoxoxo
UPDATE WITH BREAST CANCER AND CHEMO TREATMENT – august 12, 2015
Saw the Oncologist yesterday to discuss new treatment options for me. All the info is in the video. Please watch til the end. Its easier for me to do the videos than it is to type everything out lately since I’ve got a new large floater in my eye obstructing my vision and making it hard to read/type.
feel free to ask me any questions and I will answer them as well as I can!
Thanks for all the love and positive messages I’m getting from you all!
Ya’ll are my rock!
UPDATE WITH MY HEALTH AND CHEMO FOR BREAST CANCER- august 21, 2015
Here’s an update on what’s happened so far this week.
Some good news and some not so good news! Chemo is NO joke man…. That stuff really is poison to our bodies!
Click the link to watch the YouTube video. I can’t embed it from my tablet for some reason and my laptop is not working right since upgrading to windows 10 grrrrr (don’t upgrade if you can help it! Not worth the trouble! Mine has gone bonkers!)
#chemosucks #breastcancer #cancersucks #hatecancer #breastcancerawareness #feelyourboobies #taxol #herceptin #HER2Positive
FUNDRAISER TO HELP WITH BREAST CANCER BILLS- august 25, 2015
I’ve been told by several different people to set up an account with gofundme.com to help raise funds to help me pay my medical bills due to this stupid cancer!
Since my diagnosis on April 1, 2015 I haven’t been able to work and have barely been making it by on Scott’s income. With our health insurance we pay 20% of everything and have a high deductible and copays we have to pay with each visit and money has been tight and it’s been very hard with out me working to keep up with all these bills!
As many of you know who have been following me since day one of this journey know I’ve had lots of complications with my health and I’ve been in and out of the hospital so many times I’ve lost count! Between dr appointments and procedures and seeing specialists I’ve got medical bills coming out the wazoo!
I’m halfway through my chemotherapy and halfway through my breast reconstruction so I’ll be out of work a little longer and the timing has just sucked! Im hoping to be able to raise enough money so we can catch up on bills and pay off debt from the doctors and hospitals so the holiday season will not be so hard for the kids.
This past year has been crazy for us and we are trying to find something good in this horrible chapter in our lives. We were unable to vacation this year due to my treatment and illnesses so this summer was pretty crummy for the kids since I’ve been so sick and not able to do much with them. I hope to change that for next year and not be in more debt trying to catch up on everything.
I would greatly appreciate it if y’all would share my fundraising link with YOUR family and friends as well please!
I love you all and appreciate your love and support through this difficult time for us! Y’all mean the world to me!
BREAST CANCER AND LYMPHEDEMA – SEPTEMBER 10, 2015
so I went to see my Lymphoma therapists today and got some not so good news!
Watch the video below for the update
#BREASTCANCER #LYMPHEDEMA #PERISCOPE #LIVEBROADCAST #FOLLOWME
MY LAST DAY OF CHEMO! 9-23-15
OMG, I can’t even begin to tell you HOW excited I am to be finished with this poison!!! I mean for reals!!! no more feeling yucky or headaches or diarrhea or body aches or anything bad!!!! I can start dieting and drinking beer/margaritas on the weekends with my family and having a life again!!! it’s time to start recovering and enjoying my kids and family and my LIFE more!!!!
I still have to do the hormone blockers (Herceptin) but thats every 3 weeks for the next 9 months… no steroids or nausea meds or antacids or benadryl or anything else just the hormone blocker and thats it… an hour and a half in the chair not 4-5 hours! can’t wait! seriously! I can start working again and of course growing my hair!!!!
best thing is I can officially say I’M CANCER FREE! I BEAT BREAST CANCER!!!! I KICKED IT’S ASS!!!!!
DAMN that feels good to say!!!!
Yay for starting Shakeology again and working out!!!! my goal is to lose 80-100 lbs total! but my first goal is to lose 20-30lbs by the new year! 🙂 I know I can do it, I’ve done it before!!! Time to get my game face on and get started! WOOT!!!
ok here is a pic of my beautiful family showing up and surprising me at the Cancer Center and a small video I took while broadcasting LIVE on #periscope!
Be sure to follow me on Periscope at @jen_gundlach and follow so many amazing people on there! I am ADDICTED to periscope! so many great speakers on there! check it out for yourselves! it’s the newest hippest form of social media! periscope.tv
click the link below for the video, I can’t embed it here for some reason
UPDATE – PHASE 2 BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SCHEDULED- 9-28-15
Hello everyone! I met with the Plastic Surgeon today and we have a date scheduled for phase 2 of my Breast Reconstruction!!
October 23, 2015 is the big day to remove the expanders and replace them with the new wonderful Jelly implants! He says that with the size I need, he prefers to go with a round implant instead of a teardrop. I need to be fuller on top and the teardrop won’t let that happen. I’m totally fine with his decision, he is the professional!
Images of what Breast Tissue Expanders are:
He says I will need a 3rd surgery in 3 months to do a fat graph. This is where he will go in to do some liposuction around the belly and insert it in the boobs to give them a fill on top if it’s needed… he wants to wait and see how my weightloss goes and how the boobs heal to determine the 3rd phase.
I will NOT be getting nipples made, he says it’s a personal preference and I choose not to have them. If they are not going to be functional, i rather not have the girls be at attention all day long. So just as an FYI for you guys who keep asking if i’m getting the nipples done… no. not even a nipple tattoo… I want a beautiful tattoo with roses going across the scars and down the right rib cage with an anchor and the pink breast cancer ribbon entertwined in it. the roses and anchor will look similar to this…
Similar to this, not exactly like this… Isn’t this gorgeous??? seriously though… how powerful is this tattoo?
OK, so theres the update on that!
Also I literally just got a call from my oncologist scheduling me for an ECHO! An echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that can be seen on a video screen.
Remember back in July when I was in and out of the hospital and having so many issues? I was told I was in the early stages of CHF ( Congestive Heart Failure). Here’s info from WEBMD- Heart failure does not mean the heart has stopped working. Rather, it means that the heart’s pumping power is weaker than normal. With heart failure, blood moves through the heart and body at a slower rate, and pressure in the heart increases. As a result, the heart cannot pump enough oxygen and nutrients to meet the body’s needs. The chambers of the heart may respond by stretching to hold more blood to pump through the body or by becoming stiff and thickened. This helps to keep the blood moving, but the heart muscle walls may eventually weaken and become unable to pump as efficiently. As a result, the kidneys may respond by causing the body to retain fluid (water) and salt. If fluid builds up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs, the body becomes congested, and congestive heart failure is the term used to describe the condition.
Which y’all know, because I’ve mentioned this before, that I am now having kidney issues ( small cyst in kidney) and I’m on Lasix to help with the water retention. I pee every 20 minutes because the meds are flushing the fluids from my body.
Now that Chemo is done and I have the surgery scheduled for the boobs, the oncologist can focus on my heart and kidneys and my liver, she’s concerned about my numbers. Hoping to get this all fixed and resolved soon so I can get better 150% and stop seeing so many specialists!
Not to mention the issues with my head and my eyes (swollen optic nerves). but these problems are on hold until the expanders are removed and I can have an MRI done to see what’s causing all the swelling in my head/spinal cord and eyes. One issue at a time folks, this will be a long year for me… 2015 has sucked BIG TIME!
So theres an update! Thanks for following my journey thus far and for all the kind words and prayers!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
UPDATE ON BREAST RECONSTRUCTION SURGERY ON 10-23-15
WARNING! GRAPHIC AND NUDITY OF BREASTS AFTER DOUBLE MASTECTOMY AND RECONSTRUCTION!
I had surgery yesterday and was there for over 8 hours from start to finish. They wouldn’t let me go until my pain levels went down. Got home around 10ish pm last night and haven’t slept much.
Here’s a pic before I showered with the bra and gauze.
And here’s a pic of the boobies!!!!
lots of swelling going on and my mom informed me the doc had to do some liposuction on my left breast cuz there was some fat left in there and wanted to make them even. There’s some bruising. I will do another update next week hopefully less swelling by then.
Breast Cancer ISN’T PRETTY and it isn’t fun whatsoever. It’s NOT just about saving the boobies or free the Tatas day… It’s about saving the women and making them feel somewhat normal again after having their bodies go through total hell!
Double mastectomy, harsh chemo and losing hair, I was lucky enough to to NOT need radiation but lots of other women do, breast reconstruction in several stages. This was phase 2 for me… I will need one more surgery to do a fat graph in 3-4 months to make them even out more and to be fuller. So again, lots more pain!
I’m just trying to bring awareness and educate those that have NO idea what breast cancer is about! Sorry for the RAW images but if you know me, you know I’m a raw person with NO filter and no shame!
To me and thousands of other survivors, breast cancer awareness isn’t just the month of October, it’s every freakin day!! So please remember us and realize that this cancer has changed our lives forever and though some can bounce back immediately and have no other issues, lots of us that are survivors have had a horrible experience and will always have issues for life.
Not only do I have to keeps going with the Herceptin infusions (hormone blocker) but the oncologist has started me on a pill hormone blocker(tamoxifen) and I have to take this for 10 years!!! That’s 10 long miserable years of hot flashes and menopause symptoms. Not fun!
I will talk to my oncologist about getting a full hysterectomy so I don’t have to go through all this anymore. I don’t know if I can handle hot flashes for 10 freakin years.
Stay tuned for more updates!
New Video Update 10-29-15
Ok y’all, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a video update so hear ya go!
An update on my recent surgery and my health and what’s going on now.
OH, excuse the “squirrel!” Moments… My brain was wanting to spill out lots of information and I get side tracked! Lol
QUICK UPDATE ON BREAST RECONSTRUCTION & HEALTH 11-4-15
SO, I got a call from my Neurologist and got some not so good news… lots of info in this video, so please watch til the end. Sorry it’s so long, but lots of info to give!
LOVE Y’ALL FOR FOLLOWING ME AND MY JOURNEY!
UPDATE WITH nEUROSURGEON AND MY BLOOD CLOT/ANEURYSM 11-9-15
SO much going on, sorry for another semi long video, but PLEASE watch til the end… theres some good news in there! 🙂 excuse the many brain farts… I had SO much info to give before I forgot and my brain was going faster than my mouth! HA!
THANKS SO MUCH FOR FOLLOWING ME AND MY JOURNEY!
I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH!!!
PS: I found the definition for INR; The prothrombin time (PT) — along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio (PR) and international normalized ratio (INR) — are assays evaluating the extrinsic pathway of coagulation. This test is also called “ProTime INR” and “PT/INR”.
QUICK UPDATE WITH BREAST RECONSTRUCTION AND BLOOD THINNERS/INR 11-16-15
So here’s a quick video about my appts today…. I saw the nutritionist, oncologist to test my PT/INR and i saw my plastic surgeon to follow up on 3 weeks post op!
watch below! 🙂
#breastcancersurvivor #breastreconstruction #newboobies #foobies #breastcancer #nomoreExpanders #pain #looklikehell #breastcancerawareness
#breastcancer #breastcancerawareness #breastcancersurvivor #BreastReconstruction #scars #breastcancersucks #cancersucks #her2positive #hormones #estrogen #progesterone #menopause #tattoo #scarcoverup #mastectomyscars #mastectomytattoo #earlydetectionsaveslives #feelyourboobies