30, Pregnant and Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Welcome to the Oesch Family Blog. This blog will allow you to follow along as our family grows, we tackle my breast cancer and live life to its fullest.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Guys Love Chicks with Scars

At least this is what my brother tells me.

October is always a big month for me. Not only is it Breast Cancer Awareness month but it also happens to be the time of year that all of my check-up appointments fall.

First up mammogram. Mammogram was clear. I am officially a three year survivor. Happy to also report my mom's came back clear as well- she has hit her one year mark! Always a nerve wracking elevator ride up to the top floor of MoBap to the Breast Health Center. After signing in, filling out paperwork, changing into a lovely pink robe I anxiously waited for my name to be called.

It was my turn. It was time to bare all, get flattened like a pancake but all in good measure to get clean results. After scans were complete on both breasts I returned to the waiting room, still robed, to wait for the all clear. However this time when my name was called the nurse told me the doctor requested a few more scans. Heart racing, blood pressure soaring we entered the scan room again. I was praying we just didn't enough boob (ha, there is plenty to go around) for the doctor to give me an all clear. After second round of scans, we got what he needed to see and I was cleared for another year!

Next up, annual woman's exam. Another heart racing ride up the elevator. Flashbacks to the year prior when I broke down in front of my OBGYN. I was stressed. I was emotional. I was not feeling like myself. I was depressed. The emotions were finally sinking in at the two year mark; I finally let myself stop the charade of putting on the happy, positive and brave face and I melted down. After a 45 minute conversation with Dr. Smith I was back on track and had a plan of action to get back to feeling like myself.

This year, however, I was feeling great. I was feeling healthy. I was happy. Dr. Smith, remember she is the doctor that found my lump originally, and I have created a bond beyond one I could ever imagine with a doctor. (Many of you have actually become patients of her practice because of my story.) Immediately when she walked into the exam room, she mentioned I was glowing, that I looked like the old Jenna. I remarked back that I did. The three year mark is a huge hurdle to overcome and I am proud of myself and my journey to get there.

I was on a high. I hit three years. I had been cleared by my radiologist, my surgeon and my OBGYN. And then, just as fast as the good news came, so did the bad. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer. I had noticed a blister like bump on the top of my right ear this summer. It would be sore in the mornings if I slept on my ear wrong and even if I popped it, it wouldn't go away. Emma had a bad episode of croup early Fall and I ended up needing to go to the Urgent Care to receive steroids, etc. While I was there, I asked the D.O. to look at the blister on my ear and he recommended I get to the dermatologist immediately. After a biopsy, I received the call while out of town for work; I was literally walking into the lobby of the hotel to meet my team when the phone rang. I again found myself having to put on that brave face.

I had my consult with the dermatologic surgeon and after returning from vacation with my mom and Emma to California, I had MOHs surgery along with reconstructive surgery to repair the "bite" or skin removed during the MOHs procedure. Recovery was rougher than I expected. I was out of work for 3 days plus I missed my FOCUS Leadership class that weekend. I was not tolerating the pain and my stomach didn't want anything to do with the pain meds.

post surgery
two days post- although swollen and a bit bruised the incision looks great

three days post- it was basically like an ear lift and the doctor was able to cut down my ear to pull up a flap of skin to reconnect to the top of my ear
learning how to keep it protected from my operating room RN mother in law
In true brave face fashion, I chalked this up to an easy procedure. The day before I was in Kansas City for work and was able to have lunch with my mom. She told me "good luck tomorrow" and I said "for what?" I didn't tell anyone but immediate family and a few people at work. I was working in the procedure room between the two MOHs procedures I needed to have in order to get clear margins. I was on email. I was on my phone. I was hoping to make an afternoon conference call. It wasn't until they moved me into the operating room and the doctor was explaining my options for reconstructive surgery that everything sank in. I again was battling cancer. And no matter how big or small, it was cancer. I couldn't help but cry and blame myself. Was it my stupidity when I was a teenager and in my 20s of not wearing sunscreen? Was it the hours I spent in a tanning bed? I will never know. But I can learn from my mistakes.

So here's to chicks with scars. With each scar we persevere. We push forward. We learn a lesson. And we hope to share these lessons with others we love and care about.

Take care of yourselves,

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