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Mikki630's Breast Cancer Chronicle
Home
About Me
About Breast Biopsies
Drains
Understanding your Pathology Report
Ports for Chemotherapy
Pictures--Hairloss and Regrowth Timeline
Lymphedema
Our Experience
Attitude is EVERYTHING
Your Kids, Your Cancer
Women's Health & Cancer Rights Act of 1998
Reconstruction Photos--WARNING!!! GRAPHIC
Paget's Disease of the Nipple
The Breast Self Exam (BSE)
Calcifications
Breast Cysts
Fibroadenomas
Nipple Discharge
Understanding Fibrocystic Breasts
My Journal
LINKS

NEW LINK! Great animation on breast self exams and mammograms! Click here

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Welcome to
Mikki630's Breast Cancer Chronicle
 
Demystifying breast cancer, one step at a time...

Hi! I'm Michele, R.N., B.S.N.  I am a 44 year old 7 year breast cancer survivor.  My family includes a wonderfully supportive husband (Bob) and 2 terrific kids (Lauren, 17yo and Aaron, 11yo). We live in southeast Michigan with our 5 indoor cats. My parents pre-deceased me (Mom unexpectedly in June 1997, just 20 days before my diagnosis; Dad in April 1999). 

 

I don't claim to have all of the answers that you seek. I cannot speak for every breast cancer survivor. My goal here is to help demystify the breast cancer experience.  Many of us have had to work through all of this by trial and error. Some of us have had mentors to help us through.  A number of survivors have chosen to assist our "sisters" and their families and friends in making this journey.

 

While none of us would have chosen a membership in this breast cancer club, we are nonetheless all part of a sisterhood.  And I have discovered that no matter how alone I felt, there were LOTS more women out there who had gone through much the same thing. Our feelings are pretty universal.

 

Although our diagnosis, stage and treatment plans may differ, we all share the same basic feelings:  fear of the known, fear of the unknown, fear of recurrence, fear of incapacitation and fear of dying.  These feelings are completely normal and there are many places you can turn to for support.

 

My initial hope was to build a site with reader contributions that would address a wide need, such as some of the issues facing young (under 40) breast cancer survivors. But this site took on a mind of its own :)

 

Not knowing what to expect can be very frightening.  Just the words "breast cancer" can strike fear in the hearts of even the strongest people. I hope to be able to help lessen the fear.  And to show that as one of the many women who has taken this journey:  There IS life during and after breast cancer!

 

Being told you have breast cancer is a shock, even if you've suspected it. You need time to adjust to the idea, to decide, with full information, perhaps including a second opinion, what you want to do. I don't think you can really make that decision before you know if you've got cancer. The hypothetical is very different from the real: what you think you'd decide if you have cancer may be very different from what you will decide when you have cancer.

 

For many women, the thought of having cancer is so appalling that often their first thought is "I don't want to deal with this -- just get it out of me and let me go on with my life." But with a day or two to reflect on this new reality, your panic may subside and you may decide on a less drastic treatment than your original horror dictated. Whatever treatment you decide on, you'll have to live with it for the rest of your life -- and that life won't be shortened by giving yourself a little time to think it over.

 

Obviously, if you've got cancer you want it taken care of as soon as possible and don't want to wait several months before beginning treatment. But the week or so you give yourself to decide won't kill you, and it will help you to make the clearest decision possible.

 

Wishing you hope and gentle hugs as you roam this site and undertake your journey,

 

Michele (Mikki630 and nurse_mikki, to my online friends)

 

 

 

Allow me to walk silently with you, my friend.  We have much work to do before the day is done. You are special.  You are strong.  You are loved. And together, we will  fight this beast and we will WIN

 

--Michele

(warrior and slayer of the beast, thusfar)

 

 

I dedicate this site to honor all of the courageous women who have looked this beast in the eye.  We may be battle scarred and tired, but we will not give up without a fight!

 

 

What you can expect to find on this site:

 

Information, some GREAT links, pictures, personal stories (my own and those of others as they're sent to me), insight, helpful hints for the getting through things, and HUMOR.

 

Information contained in this site is NOT intended to replace your medical care.  Please consult your healthcare team with any questions  or problems you may have.  This site will NOT give medical advice. Any information here is the opinion of the submitter.  Sources will be cited for all medical information so that you may perform further research.

 

CONTENTS:

 

Lymphedema:  Includes my own personal experience with symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and daily self-care as well as 4 extremely helpful articles from the National Lymphedema Network (NLN).  They include: Lymphedema, a Brief Overview; Lymphedema Awareness Before, During and After Breast Cancer Surgery; Eighteen Steps to Prevention; In Defense of the 18 Steps to Prevention. See also the LINKS page for some great links (with diagrams) to help you understand the lymphatic system.

 

Our Experience:  Includes reader snippets & stories (the good, the bad, the ugly & the funny). Lots of humorous & inspirational thoughts here.

 

Photos--my hair loss/regrowth timeline:  It really DOES grow back!


Reconstruction photos:  Currently has reconstruction photos of a lat flap reconstruction (7 days post-op and 8 mos post-op). Awaiting mastectomy scar photos.  MAY BE TOO GRAPHIC FOR SOME!


LINKS:  Some excellent links on almost everything you want/need to know about breast cancer.  Includes medical sites, personal homepages, info on dealing with kids & body image issues, reconstruction, online shopping for wigs & supplies, a new link for Pregant Women With Cancer.  Also includes links to generally useful websites and humorous websites.


My Journal:  Selected entries dealing with grief over the death of my mom & some thoughts I jotted down as I went through cancer treatment.  You can expect to shed some tears here. I color coded the entries so as to not "ambush" anyone. Black=grief over mom,
pink=cancer related entries,
blue=cute or heartwarming entries.

 

KIDS:  Some info on dealing with your children's fears and feelings as you go through treatment. See also myLINKS page.

 

Chemotherapy and Ports:  some helpful information about venous access devices, most commonly known as "ports." 

 

Other breast conditions:  Info on breast cysts, calcifications, nipple discharge, fibrocystic breast conditions, and fibroadenomas.