Saturday, June 20, 2009

What we know

This week has been enlightening. After numerous appointments with radiation specialists, surgeons and oncologist we are a little better informed. Cindy's cancer is an invasive ductile carcinoma with triple negative receptors. If a woman develops breast cancer, the cancer cells are tested for the presence of three receptors: estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2). Oncologists generally use these receptors or markers to guide their treatment decisions.

In Cindy's case , there are two lesions. One relatively large lump in the left breast and a second in the lymph nodes, most likely the sentinel node. Ductile carcinoma is a fairly common form of breast cancer, however the triple negative receptor factor, or T3 is a bit more rare and presents an added challenge in treatment. It is a good thing the HER2 is negative but the fact that the estrogen and progesterone receptors are negative means that the type of chemotherapy given is unable to be specifically targeted towards an individual form of cancer. Triple negative tends to be a bit more aggressive thus resulting in the larger tumor in a short amount of time. The good news is that statistical results show T3 tends to respond well to chemotherapy.

In order to monitor the effectiveness of the chemotherapy on the tumor it is highly recommended that pre-operative chemotherapy be given, especially to those with T3. This will allow the Doctors to monitor the effectiveness of the chemo to kill the cancer cells and also shrink the tumor. So....

On Tuesday - June 23 Cindy will begin chemotherapy treatment. This will last for four months. Once completed surgery will follow approximately 2-3 weeks later in order to remove the remaining tumor and lymph nodes. This will then be followed by approximately 6 weeks of radiation.

Yes Cindy will lose her hair. (But her good friend Karen has already taken her to have her portrait taken!) She will be extremely fatigued and will need naps and early to bed. She remains positive, faithful and humble in her attitude. Cindy is a fighter and does not allow difficult challenges to get in her way. (Even trees stripped of their bark. More on this in a later blog!)

Cindy is grateful for the support and love of family and friends. She LOVES reading your comments on her blog and getting your emails. Visits are important and needed, we simply ask that you keep them somewhat brief. Thank you all for your care. Cindy may be in the ring doing the main fighting but all of us surround her with love and support. You go girl!

Posted by Libby


  1. Cindy, I love you! Our thoughts & prayers will be with you as we wait for the sun to come out & it will! Your huge support system & amazing attitude will make all the difference. Knowing what we're up against & having a plan of action is huge progress. Just take a break from your busy life & let us take care of you! YOU DESERVE IT!!!!!
    Love & Hugs, the Simpson Family

    p.s. There is life without hair! Spoil yourselve & get some great wigs & hats & scarves :)

  2. Aunt Cindy Just heard the news of this trial in your life and am not sure what to say. The thing that keeps coming to my mind is how strong and wonderful you are. Keep strong!! Charles Swindell wrote a thing on attitude and says "life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it” I believe that to be true. I know you are strong and can and will remain positive. There is a power in positive thinking. We love you and you will be in our positive thoughts and prayers daily!! You are such a giver of LOVE and compassion it is now your turn to receive in return. We love you,
    Dan Ferrin and Family

  3. Thanks so much for the update. I'm glad that you know more about it and have formulated a plan of action. I'm so glad that you have a strong support system around you. Its good to feel loved. I thank my Heavenly Father daily for all those whose hands held me up through the scarry stuff and I know those same hands will be there for you...including mine.
    Love you,

  4. Cindy: Knowledge is power and you guys are doing a great job of finding out the specifics of your individual disease and options for treatment. It also is helpful for all of us to know what is going on so there is not all the usual speculation and rumors. Shannon sends her love to you and Meg. Let her know if you want to change any arrangements for Meg's tennis. Her email is She is trying to increase her faith about the adoption situation and we set the nursery up last night and she has her "go bag" ready for California. Baby not due until July 10, but birth mother went to O.B. and baby's head is down and mom is 70% efaced. She is having some trouble with low amniotic fluid and doctor is keeping a close eye on things. Love and hugs- Mary

  5. Wow Libby - are you sure you didn't go to medical school? :)
    Sounds like you are in good hands, Cindy. Both on this earth and in the divine sense... :)

  6. You are so AMAZING! I have so much enjoyed teaching tennis to Meg and getting to know you. Thank you so much for all your support through our adoption process, we couldn't have made it this far without you! Really.... LDSFS is not great. BUT YOU ARE! You have such strength, you are an example to me to brave the storm and be lifted up. Love you!
    Love Shannon Day