Pathology is back…finally!

As timing would have it, I sat with my oncologist and talked through pathology results from surgery on September 30th – the day before Breast Cancer Awareness month kicked off. For those who have prayed about the results, thank you. For those who prayed from day one of my diagnosis that the tumor would disappear, thank you. For those who have prayed about anything on my behalf through this journey so far, thank you.

When my surgeon went in during surgery there was no tumor remaining for him to take out (hallelujah — chemo had worked!)!! For a surgeon this is both good news (for the patient) and challenging news (for the surgeon) because there is nothing clearly defined to go in and remove.

*QUICK REWIND* When I had the initial biopsy of the breast tumor which ultimately led to my cancer diagnosis, they placed a small clip into the tumor so 1) if the results were nothing doctors in the future would know on imaging which spot exactly had been tested for cancer and was of no concern, or 2) if the results did show cancer – which it did in my case – there was a clip which would show up on imaging to guide the care team on any procedure during treatment to the actual area cancer was noted to be present.

With having no remaining tumor, my surgeon knew he needed to go into the area where the clip had originally been placed back in April and take tissue from that general space to test for cancer. How does he know where the clip is you ask? {Skip this part if you have a weak stomach} On surgery day I spent time with a radiologist and mammography tech early in the morning. A mammogram was done to show location of the clip, and while in the lovely *ahem* squished position *ahem* the radiologist ran a wire into the breast, to the clip location, and hooked it in. This wire (which yes, was sticking out of my side until they rolled me to the operating room) is what my surgeon followed in the OR to know he was in the exact area cancer had been present originally despite the tumor now being gone.

…and after many (many!) days of waiting…

I am here to share the news that today we can all celebrate together as there were no signs of remaining invasive cancer on the pathology report!

I basically floated out of the cancer center after talking through results with my oncologist. I was all smiles, beaming with joy and full of so much gratitude. I drove one block in my car before having a tear-filled moment. It was all so overwhelming. Overwhelming to think about what I have put my body through since April. Overwhelming to think through the privilege I have to work with such an amazing care team which got me to a place of hearing “no remaining invasive cancer.” Most overwhelming when I think about all the people who prayed with me from day one to get the results of no tumor and no remaining invasive cancer. It’s all so overwhelming!

So now what? Next up is radiation. For those wondering why I am still doing radiation after hearing there is no remaining invasive cancer, know it’s always been the plan to do regardless of what pathology showed. Radiation is used to ensure all remaining / potentially lingering cancer cells are destroyed. My pathology showed traces of in situ cancer cells (very early stage cancer cells), which do not respond to chemotherapy. Radiation is used to target and destroy these types of cells. So out of abundant precaution and for the sake of final clean up of cancer, radiation is next up on the plan of attack.

But today we celebrate a tumor which is gone and invasive, scary cancer no longer being detected. That’s really, really good news! *Insert confetti popping here!*

…and as all things go when you’re a cancer patient I am absolutely celebrating, though cautiously. I know the fight is not over. I know cancer is a sneaky, scary beast and therefore it’s too early to fully take my fighting gear off. I’ll pop the champagne, wear my party hat and celebrate what we know for certain is to be celebrated…all while mentally and emotionally keeping myself in a place of knowing I am still very much in the fight. We’re headed in the right direction though, and I am beyond grateful for that!

As I close this I also want to say I realize there will be individuals on the other side of this blog reading my good news and very much not being in a place of celebration her/himself due to something going on in life. I’ve been there. I have had my lowest days and watched the rest of the world keep spinning, good news being shared and feeling so much weight because I didn’t understand WHY ME. Why was I going through something so hard when everyone else got to live life happily? Babies, weddings, engagements, awesome vacations for others and cancer for me. As they celebrated, I found myself angry (not their fault but that’s reality when you’re in a deep valley and others are having their mountaintop moment). If today you are in a valley – newly diagnosed, waiting for the baby you have prayed for, loss of your job, walking through grief – whatever it is, please know I see you and am praying for you. I come from a genuine place when I say your day of celebration will come! It will, even though right now it may not feel like it. The good news is coming. The mountaintop is just around the corner. The moment where you feel like you can breathe again is closer than you probably know. But until then I am praying for you in the valley. It’s hard, and I hope my good news and celebration isn’t salt in the wound but instead a reminder that even after the hardest of storms the sun start to shine again (even if it is slow to rise).  
I hope EVERYONE finds something to celebrate today! Life is too short to go through the days taking everything for granted. Celebrate your job (even if it drives you crazy)! Celebrate people in your life (even if they drive you crazy)! Celebrate having a roof over your head and food on the table! Celebrate another day where you simply woke up and have breath in your lungs! Even on the toughest of days there is something to celebrate, always.

One thought on “Pathology is back…finally!

  1. You are so right, Sarah. Let’s count our blessings daily. Love, Trust and Thankfulness to the ONE above.
    So happy for you & your family that you have such positive news to share.


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