Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How One Phone Call Ruined My Day--Blindsided! (Writer's Workshop)

While on vacation the day after I had my ultrasound done I was enjoying my day with the pets and blogging when I got a call from my doctor’s office right before I’m ready to eat lunch. I’m thinking this cannot be good—they NEVER call me. The receptionist told me my doctor needs to see me right away. I get there in 20 minutes and am referred to a surgeon because the ultrasound place recommended a biopsy be done on “something suspicious” that showed up. I’m thinking, okay, I’m not going to worry that it’s cancer until I hear it is. I went right away to find the surgeon’s office and make an appointment to see him.

When Gerard got home I went with him when he walked Abby to tell him about my strange afternoon. We both tried to stay positive and hope it was nothing.

Well, It Was Something

Gerard and I were both off work for our annual doctor appointment so he came with me to my follow-up appointment with the surgeon to get my biopsy results. My doctor hadn’t received the results yet! I called the hospital and asked them to fax them over. Why don’t doctors communicate with each other? I feel like I’m a “doctor coordinator” here. They came through and I could tell they weren’t good. If they were, he would have told me. Is it any wonder my blood pressure was up?

When I got to the surgeon, I had to wait an hour before I got to see him. Finally, he told me I had some cancer in my right breast which by this time I already figured out. Still, it wasn’t the results I was hoping for and I kind of went into shock as he quickly explained my alternatives and the risks. The next day, I made an appointment for a lumpectomy on September 1.

I am so appreciative of all the prayer support I’ve received from my blogger friends! I just let a few know through personal emails the day after I found out and Mountain Woman at Red Pine Mountain posted about my need for prayers (with permission). I know I’m in good hands and God will see me through this. Many people have had this experience so now I figure it’s my turn. I am looking at this as just another life experience and know that God knows all about me and my body and I’m His child.

The blogging community has really been wonderful to me! Thanks so much for your prayers and well wishes! I can’t thank you enough!

UPDATED 12/24/09: I had a successful and painless lumpectomy on Sept. 1 followed by time off work with pay and a month of radiation treatments that were quick and painless and am back to work full-time. Will start taking Femara January 1, 2010 for five years. I felt fine through my whole recovery period (except for the bad cold I got at Thanksgiving). I was back teaching Sunday School just one week after my surgery.

I'm using this old post for Mama's Workshop prompt: Who blind-sided you? Write about a time someone caught you totally off guard.

45 comments:

BeadedTail said...

Karen, as you know, I am sending positive thoughts and prayers to you. I had a blog friend of mine add you to her prayer list on her blog yesterday (I used your initials only) but I'm recruiting as many prayers as I can for you. You will get through this - we are all behind you in this battle!

tahtimbo said...

You will be constantly in my prayers! I know that God will be with you every step of the way, providing his comfort and courage.

Daisy said...

Oh no, I was hoping it would have been benign. I am sending you my very, very best healing purrs and keeping you in my thoughts.

JStantonChandler said...

My prayers and my thoughts are with you, Karen.

Jen

Mrs. Mecomber said...

My prayers are with you, Karen. God can heal. Have you ever read the book, "God Can Do It Again"? It's an older book... by Kathryn Kuhlman. I just re-read it last week.

Sandee said...

You let the doctors do what they know how to do and the rest of us will do the praying part. Every single day.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

Mary said...

A positive attitude is the key! I know you have that already but will be carrying your name before the throne of God to which nothing is impossible. Keep me informed.
Mary

Karen said...

I am praying. Many have fought and won this battle.

jennifer said...

I'm here by way of Red Pine Mountain. I know all of this must be scary and upsetting. I like your decision to stay positive earlier on. I will pray for you!

Kathy said...

Karen, you have all of our support! You have a great attitude and the love of your family and friends. If you get scared, just think of all your blogging friends. We are with you in spirit. Please keep us posted.

Furkidsmom said...

Dear Karen,
You have my prayers and support. If you don't mind, I'll have you added to our prayer list too.

Sharon (Mom to Sniffie and the Florida Furkids)

Babs-beetle said...

You are in my prayers and thoughts, and you're right of course, He will look after you! Your positive attitude will help you also.

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, my gosh, Karen, I'm so sorry.

You and Gerard are in my thoughts and prayers. I know you have TONS of support from the blogosphere as well as family and friends. I hope you'll post when you can and keep us updated.

annof thejunkdrawerblogfamily said...

Your positive attitude will see you through this crisis. I pray for a quick and full recovery so that you can resume regular programming.

Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

We will support you with prayers through this.
~ Bobbie (Mom of The Bunch)

Eva Gallant said...

Nothing but positive thoughts headed your way.

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

Thanks for all your support and prayers! It's so nice to know many people are pulling for me.

I just found out last night that sugar causes the cancer cells to increase. This is very bad news for me because I usually eat 2 donuts a week and love chocolate! Both are very bad and are on the "foods to avoid" list. The other bad news for me is that the good food list is vegetables which I eat zero of unless I go to a buffet. And guess what is the best offense against the Cancer cells--green tea and vegetable drinks! YUCK! Please pray God will help me acquire a taste for these things--I know With God, all things are possible!

KAT said...

Karen,

Thinking of you and sending you hugs and prayers!! Stay strong!

Tina Kubala said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you. You are just the profile of the optimistic and faithful cancer survivor.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Karen, I'm so sorry you have to walk through this. I have several friends who have and are either recovered or are still walking through. You will be in our prayers and I pray God will give you peace (while you wait - the WORST), and comfort before, during, and after the surgery. We'll also be lifting up your husband. How wonderful to have him to lean on and into.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Karen, I just read your comment above about sugar and eating veggies, and while I know you have so much to contend with, I just wanted to invite you to come and join our healthy eating when we will all be starting together on - What day? September 1st. Maybe we can encourage you if we all work together. Few of us are perfect at this. I hope you can find strength in our numbers and journeys.

Homestay Mama said...

Karen,
I have so much I want to say to you---where to begin?!

How we eat is SO VERY IMPORTANT! I'm glad you were told what to avoid and what to eat. I will be praying for you--that God will help you make the necessary changes in your diet.

I have a dear missionary friend--her name is Beverly. We've known each other all our lives. We grew up in the same church together. Anyhow, she had breast cancer about 18 years ago--had a double mastectomy and chemotherapy afterwards. She was cancer free for 15 years, and then it came back with a vengeance. They found spots in her lungs and liver. She had surgery to remove her lymph nodes. They wanted to put her on chemo again. They gave her a 20% chance of pulling through. Someone told her about the Hallelujah Diet (www.hacres.com), so she opted for a drastic change in diet rather than chemotherapy. Her doctor was not pleased with her choice. The Hallelujah Diet was such a change in her eating habits that she asked all of us to please pray for God to give her the willpower to stick to it.

Fast forward to a year later when she went in for a check-up and the doctor couldn't find any lumps anymore--they had all shriveled up and disappeared.

I went down to Oregon and saw her about a year ago. She had lost weight, looked the picture of health, felt wonderful, she said, and had vibrant energy! She has been cancer free going on three years now!

Karen, I'm glad you are having only a lumpectomy. I'll be praying for you. I would be happy to give you more details if you want. Just e-mail me at scrussell(at)juno(dot)com.

Blessings, dear sister in Christ.

Sue

Mountain Woman said...

Dear Karen,
It's taken me so long to come visit you because I kept thinking if I didn't visit, it wouldn't be true. I can only say I've been praying for you every day and I know personally the power of prayer. My belief has pulled me through the darkest hours. You and Gerard have such strong faith and there is a reason for that. God will be with you every step of the way.

LiveLaughLoveCj said...

Karen

I came upon your blog, and this post from Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest, however, I find myself at this moment in prayer for you and your family as you walk this particular journey in your life.

My prayers and my thoughts are for the very best outcome! For radiant health and for peace.

I had a recent cancer diagnosis (3 weeks ago) Thyroid. The "C" word can throw you for a loop, to be sure, but I also know with your inner strength, faith and the prayers that surround you you can kick this "C" to the curb!

I will be continuing to check in on you, my visit is not a one time thing.
From my family to you and yours our prayers and our very best.
Always
Christine

The Bumbles said...

Oh Karen - that is not the kind of news I wanted to see when stopping by to check in on your world. I'm very sorry for your diagnosis. My boss is battling prostate cancer for the last year and there are many others in my life that are survivors. Here in Boston the Red Sox partner with Dana Farber Cancer Institute's "Jimmy Fund" each year to raise money for cancer, with a focus on children. The pledge drive is this week and their goal is $5 million. You will be in my thoughts when we donate.

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

Kat: Thanks for your prayers and taking the time to comment.

Tina: Thanks for your prayers. I'm glad I can have a good attitude but it's only the beginning. Hope I can continue to stay strong and be optimistic.

Robyn's Ravings: Thanks for your prayers. During this waiting time I am trying to bombard my body with lots of vegetables and green tea and V-8 juice. At least I feel like I'm on the offense that way in fighting this. Hope I remember to check out the good eating group starting 9/1. It might help me.

Mountain Woman: Thanks so much for your prayers. I wish I could just ignore it and make it all go away but I am putting my trust in Jesus to heal me and am being anointed for healing Sunday after church by the elders as instructed in James. It's really hard though to be certain of healing when I know of others who weren't healed even though many people prayed for them and they had faith too.

Christine: Thanks for visiting my blog and for your prayers. I really appreciate them! Looking forward to reading more of your comments and visiting your blog as well SITSta.

The Bumbles: This was shocking for me too because I feel absolutely fine and can't feel any lump at all, nor could the surgeon. I know several cancer survivors to so I am hopeful. Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment.

Tania @ Larger Family Life said...

I'm lost for words. I will keep you in my prayers constantly.

Jude said...

I knew you were waiting for results and just learned that your results weren't good. I'm very sorry to hear this news, but know with your spirit and faith in God you'll be okay.

Nicolasa said...

Just read this from the Fight the Fight posting on Him, Me and our Three.
Thinking of you!

Amy said...

Thanks for sharing this as your post. I am glad to hear you are doing okay... I wish you the best in 2010...

Stopping by from SITS..

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

Coming by from SITS link up! I'm thrilled to hear that you're doing well!! You'll have to come by and check out my blog and check out our Breast Cancer 3-day posts--lots of photos and a great stories of the event. Merry Christmas and here's to a fab 2010!

Pink & Green Mama said...

Merry SITSmas, wishing you a happy and HEALTHY 2010!!! : )

itsybitsyknitsy said...

Popping in from SITS. Im so happy you are feeling better and healthy!! All the best to you in the new year!

Serendipity said...

Glad to hear that you are doing well. I hope you have a happy - and healthy - new year! Visiting from the SITS link-up :)

Juggling Thoughts said...

What a positive and happy ending! Just stopping by from SITS, but will be thinking about you and your family during Christmas!

Amie said...

Praying for you and your family during this difficult time.

Karen said...

I hope I never have to know what it feels like to get a call like that one. But we are lucky to have this amazing community of friends to help us when we need it!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I'm glad it's all been good news along the way. I hope it stays that way!

Jenny said...

Visiting you from SITS and I am your newest follower. Wow. It sounds like this ended well for you. So glad. I cannot imagine how you felt...

Farmers Wife said...

Glad you are on the mend....its scary getting a phone call like that! Visiting from mama kats xx

Amanda said...

That you for sharing your story! Visiting from Mama Kats!

gamommy2two said...

This certainly fits Mama Kat's prompts. I can only hope that if anything like that ever happens to me or my loved ones that I will handle it with the grace and dignity that you did. You are an inspiration.

Saundra@ItalianMamaGoneCrazy said...

So you are doing well now? Everything is still okay?

Ugh... I am so sorry you had to endure that...

Life with Kaishon said...

I am so glad that everything turned out ok! I imagine it was horrifying to go thru something like this. Oh my. I love that you were back teaching sunday school right away again. You are a blessing!

Karen Zemek said...

Thanks for everyone's kind comments, well wishes and encouragement. I never thought myself to be inspirational. I just had my 6-month follow-up mammogram and it looked good, just some scar tissue the surgeon said should be smaller in another six months. Now I'm spending over $400 a month for that pill though (never expected it to be that much)--talk about blindsided, I thought it would cost $4 a month like my other ones do!

Erin said...

Stay positive and always keep the laughter....it's what keeps me going through cancer!

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