Steve Schappell-My Blog

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A cancer update....not the whole story

Happy Sunday everyone (Or whatever day you are reading this),

I have been wanting to talk about the Big "C" word, AKA Cancer.  That will be a long blog, or several blogs.  There are some of you who are aware of what has happened, and continues to transpire.  For those of you who don't, here is a little summary.

My wife has fought, and survived a battle with Breast Cancer.  This has affected not only her, but our whole family and friends.  Not to mention-work, school, our schedules, lifestyle and things we thought that were important--that were not.

We were driving to the shore last July when Shari got the call with the biopsy results.   I was driving, and we had my daughter, and her (2) sons in the van, with her daughter, husband and grand kids in the car following us.  I could only imagine her thoughts when they told her it was Cancer.   She thanked them for calling and telling her.  Some tears and silence.  She then told all of us in the van, and waited until we arrived at the campsite to tell her daughter.

The following month at the shore was the weekend before her surgery.  After the consultations, meetings, and a genetic test, she decided on a mastectomy (single, left side)   Surgery went great--they got it all.  Good margins, they tell you.  And then some recovery time over night.  She had a good friend stay with us for that first week to help drain out the fluid from the surgery and to be with her 24/7.  That was a blessing.

After surgery came the initial recovery.  Then another surgery to have a port installed.  Easier for the chemo to get into the blood stream.  The next step was Chemo treatments.  The pain and side effects.  The medicine to take care of the side effects.  The hair loss, weight gain from the steroids, and the feeling like you were going to die at times.   Through the chemo, I saw my wife's strength, her resolve, and their faith played out every day.  I don't know if I would be able to endure what she went through.

Several months later, post chemo, she had a decision to make.  Her cancer was a Stage 1, and with the Cancer breaking out of the ducts, it was classified as Stage 2.  She could choose to be done, or have radiation treatments, which would add an additional 10% chance of non-reoccurance.  In other words, go from 85% to 95%.  She chose radiation.

Surgery first to remove the port, than having her body marked for radiation.  Then 5 weeks of treatments, each workday.  No missing any sessions they told her.  20 minute sessions, and driving back and forth about 30 minutes.  All while working when able to and doing school work.

Now the radiation is done.  But still more recovery.  Radiation was like a really bad sunburn.  There is some healing of the skin, but it takes time.   Finally, there will be reconstruction, which involves more surgery and more recovery.

When all done, about 2 years will have passed since the day she first noticed a lump and had it checked out.  There is much that has happened, and I am amazed at her progress and her strength, and her solid faith.  More on this in another post.

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