Breast MRI

In case you’re new here….here is a little background on why I need breast MRIs at the ripe young age of 31:

My mom was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer a year ago October. She, however, is not the only female in my family that has had to hear such terrible news. My paternal aunt, and several other great aunts have also had breast cancer. After speaking with my midwife and a genetics counselor, it was determined that I needed to be screened every six months. That screening started a year ago with a mammogram. I have very dense breasts and density is pretty hard to see through on a mammo. It’s not impossible, but further screening with an MRI is even better than a mammo.

I had my first MRI last June. That was horrible. I cannot even recall if I wrote about it–I don’t think I did. The worst part was laying prone (face down) in a tube for 45 minutes. I did take some medication to help me relax but it did not work very well. The sound alone was terrible and that first time, I was not offered any music.

This time, I had music and different medication to help me relax. I was also able to rest my arms in a different position which was more comfortable. Also, my mom came with me. Knowing that she was there and waiting for me made me feel so much better. She was able to go with me to get my IV for the contrast and waited until it was time for me to go back.

The rest of the day I was very tired from the meds, but I am so thankful for how well this last time went. And the best part? The results are normal! They had me do this 2nd MRI so they could monitor some nodules that may have been worrisome and and no worrying is necessary! I am so thankful for this news and even more thankful to the amazing team of medical professionals I have behind me, encouraging me to screen more often. I am also so grateful for my family. I could not have done any of this without their support and love.

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What’s up?

It’s been awhile since I actually wrote something with decent substance and I am not promising that this will have any of that, but I’ll certainly try.

A few weeks ago I floated to another hospital and was able to witness an amazing, unmediated, beautiful birth led by a midwife I had not yet seen deliver a baby. My mind was blown. Mom was trying to push on her side and baby was unhappy. The midwife gently suggested she adjust her positioning and just like that baby was happy again. The mom let her body do all the work. She pushed when she felt like it and rested when she needed to. Then, she realized her body could not stop pushing and less than a minute later the baby’s head was born with a nucal cord x1. A few seconds later baby was out and up on mom’s chest. I took over the camera so dad could cut the cord and I caught it on film for him. Every time I see a birth, my heart literally explodes with joy and excitement. I know birth is not always like that, but it is BECAUSE of births like this that my passion is fueled and I am reminded once more that yes, Sarah, this is where you belong.

My mom is doing ok. She is on a new chemo med that is not nearly as hard on her body. She still gets really tired but has had a lot more energy to spend time with the kids and work in the classroom. This is all so encouraging. Looking back to when this all began on October 24th, it’s hard to believe almost 5 months have passed since the diagnosis.

School is going alright. I don’t feel like this semester is better than last semester, which is strange because the load is not harder. I have been struggling with one of the professors but I *think* we are finally on the same page. I always wish I was doing better grade-wise, which is me just being too hard on myself. I am doing FINE. As and Bs are great! I just want more As than Bs and sometimes it’s just not in the cards. I’m learning not to be so hard on myself, especially with the load I have while in school between work and family.

My son, Logan, turned 5 a month ago. We got him registered and accepted into the school of our choice for kindergarten which is pretty crazy and exciting! Evelyn is a ball of fire as usual. She still doesn’t sleep through the night and is starting to show her girliness more with more diva and sass. You can follow me on instagram if you want more current, daily updates.

Have a great weekend!

new year, now what?

I have to admit that I am not all puppies and rainbows about a new year right now. I feel like the last few months have been so taxing that I haven’t even had time to think about all the great things I know that 2015 will bring me. This month, even while off school for a few more weeks, will be busy. I am preparing to take the HESI A2 entrance exam. I am hoping to take that in a week or so. It’s a big deal because if you don’t get 75 or better you can only take it once a year and that means no nursing school. I am sure that won’t happen. I am doing the practice tests and have a study guide. I have strong and weak areas to work on.

I am also getting everything else together that I need to apply for nursing school. This includes transcripts, background check, and more. I have nothing but positive happy nervous energy surrounding this.

Last week I had my first mammogram. I am to have a mammo every year now, followed by an MRI 6 months after the mammo. This means I will now be screened every 6 months for breast cancer for the rest of my life. This is well worth it to hopefully prevent and/or catch anything that may appear super early. I have a small, pebble-sized lump that is being ultra-sounded next week. It is not concerning. I have had fibroadenomas (benign lump) before. Then again, so had my mom. We have fibrous breasts. Screening is critical. I did do the BRCA 1 and 2 screening and it came back negative. However, my lifetime risk is 25.4% of getting breast cancer, hence the screenings. This is the first time in my life I have ever been considered high risk for anything. What a trip.

And lastly, as per tradition, I ought to list a few goals I am happily looking forward to this year:

  • Getting into nursing school
  • Taking a human sexuality class- I never have and am sure it will be fun and interesting
  • Seeing my son start kindergarten
  • Get some home improvement projects done like painting and new fixtures (HA! In my dreams!!)
  • Pay off all medical debt
  • Pay off all cc debt
  • Take a family vacation
  • Read something (anything!) for fun
  • unplug more from social media and TV
  • Start a weekly family game night
  • See my mom complete treatment and be cancer free (really, the ONLY thing I could hope for)
  • START nursing school

See? Not too much to ask for. I will say that while goals are great, I have learned over the last few months that sometimes it is better to just take each day one at a time. I love looking forward to things, but sometimes life needs us to slow down and if I have learned anything from my mom having breast cancer and my best friend dying, it’s to slow down and love and enjoy the day we have right now, right this second. Happy New Years everyone.

the month from hell

It’s no surprise that I have been MIA the last several weeks and usually I’d say that is because of school, which is true, but not the whole story. School has been crazy-busy. Less than two weeks and I’m done with this semester! Micro is going really well and AP is not so bad either. Overall, great class, great professors, just tons of work.

The rest of the story is a personal one. I stopped writing my personal blog almost a year ago and I really don’t miss it. This is a great space for me to write about what I want to my readers to see and sometimes it’s personal. Just over a month ago, my mom was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. This news has rocked our family. She is young, healthy, fit and has the best attitude of anyone I know. We are very close and thankfully, live 5 minutes from each other. Maybe at a later time I will go into more detail of what the last month has been like but for now, I will leave it at “the worst month of my life-the month from hell”. My anxiety, which was already heightened with stress from work and school, reached a new level and I have had to take steps to get that back under control. I feel much better now. Two weeks ago tomorrow, my mama had a double mastectomy. Probably one of the scariest days ever, next to the early days that Logan spent in the NICU. Not knowing and waiting. We had a great support system here for all of us. Today, she is doing great. She is healing well, though still quite sore. This is not the end. It is just the beginning. There will be at least one more surgery for reconstruction and there will be treatment. Treatment for cancer. I never imagined I’d have to say that, especially about my mama. But it is what it is. So here I am, busting my ass to get through the rest of the semester, take care of my family, and support my mom and dad as they go through their own hell, cancer.