Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lyme Disease & Breast Cancer

I have a lumpectomy in the middle of battling lyme and company.  The breast microcalcifications are benign but, within the area they take out, 2 small nodules the size of a pencil point show up.  One is benign, the other is cancer.  I am one of the lucky ones though, because they got all of it and an MRI of the breasts show I have no other calcifications or nodules in either breast.  Now I am waiting test results to tell us if the cancer is hormone related, genetic, among a bunch of other things so we know how to proceed in terms of prevention.  The lumpectomy is a piece of cake, however, I get VERY sick in the days after.  I think most healthy women don't have that reaction, but because my body is in a weakened state already, I react badly to the trauma of it. 

I can't help but wonder if the condition my body has been in for so long created an unhealthy environment that allowed cancer to grow.  I ask the breast doc about this and she says that the two aren't related.  She is really smart and I respect her enormously, so I want to agree.  But considering my journey, I can't help but think they ARE.

One thing I learn with the breast cancer situation is that breast cancer is taken very seriously and I am treated with respect, kindness and made to feel I have an entire team around me.  What I find ironic is that I have had lyme disease for four years and have been so sick I thought I would die from the pain. Yet it took me two years to get a doctor to listen to me and believe me.  With the breast cancer I have had no pain, no warning, and simply because I listened to my older sister and had my annual exam did it even show up.  I didn't have to convince the doctors it was there, I didn't have to feel like I was crazy, telling everyone "I have breast cancer!"  In fact, everything we do in the process is essentially preventative, to make sure I don't DEVELOP breast cancer down the road.

 I don't understand why lyme disease isn't taken as seriously as cancer.  Lyme kills.  It's REALLY painful.  It sucks the life out of you and it made me feel like a zombie in my own body.  It can destroy your brain.  If not diagnosed right away it wreaks havoc on all of the other body systems...my adrenals, hormones, and gut were drastically effected.  I don't know if they will ever fully recover.   I can't imagine what it would be like to have gotten lyme disease and to go to a place where not only do I NOT have to fight for my diagnosis and treatment, but I am treated kindly, and supported by an entire team of people who understand lyme and co-infections, and there are different types of docs to help me, alternative therapies, a BINDER even.  They handed me a BINDER at the breast center with everything I could possibly need to recover.  If only this had been my experience with lyme four years ago when I first got sick.  LYME DISEASE IS REAL.  WAKE UP MEDICAL COMMUNITY!!!

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