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Dawn - Bodies of Courage Bodypainted Cancer Survivors

I have had mammograms since I was thirty-five because of a cyst I had found through self examination which turned out to be only that.
When I was thirty-eight, I had another mammogram as I usually do every October which turned out to be clean.
Seven months later and once I had moved to Minneola, Florida I wanted to find another doctor, closer than where I was going, in order to be more efficient and close.

I located an ad for Dr. Lewis here in Clermont and had gone to see her a few times before she suggested I get a mammogram (this was in July of 2009) even though October was right around the corner.
I did not mind so I figured why not. Well, the mammogram taken in July 2009 was compared to my mammogram in October of 2008 and showed abnormalities and a biopsy would be needed.
In August I went to see Dr. Jason Boardman of Clermont who was very nice and completed the biopsy in a timely manner.
Come August 25 while at work Dr. Boardman called me to give me the news of the biopsy which was proven to be cancerous.
He stated “there was no easy way to tell anyone this”, but I had cancer.
I appreciated the fact that he called me and just told me. I would have hated to have to waited for an office visit to find out.
He stated it was “Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and triple negative at that”.

My husband Rob & I met with Dr. Boardman on August 27th which is where we discussed my having Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and it being a triple negative.
I could not help but start crying and thinking “is this real?” as well as “is this really happening?”
I felt just fine. I did not feel sick – I felt normal, healthy.
On August 28th, Rob & I met with a man who would be a part of our lives for quite sometime, Dr. Gopal Kunta, an oncologist who had a great bedside manner and is so very nice to talk to.
He stated that since I was a triple negative he would be very aggressive with this and is sending me for four scans, a CT scan and a PET scan (on August 31st), a MUGA scan (on September 4th) and a BONE scan (on September 1st).
The scans were not so bad.
The drinks you have to take to do a CT scan and a PET scan were ok as they could have been worse.
With all of that said and done, my results came back clean.
It did not look as though the cancer had spread anywhere else.
On August 31st we met with Dr. Graham, a radiologist who we eventually would not need, but did not know that at the time.
I was nervous and scared, and still waiting to wake up from this, because I just felt fine.

My meeting with Dr. Graham, the radiologist was a good one. He is a very nice man who, as well, liked the way Dr. Boardman and Dr. Kunta were being so aggressive with this as this is a very aggressive type of cancer and a triple negative.
We spoke for a while and when Rob and I left we both felt good about the doctors who were handling our case.

After Surgery, CANNOT LOOK YET or want to. I cannot even bring myself to wash. I just cannot do it.
Rob hung a sheet up in the bathroom so that I would not have to look in the mirror and he also dried me off.
I could not bring myself to do any of it one because I was still in pain and two because I was just not ready.
This took and takes a while.

10-16 — First session of chemo at 10:00 a.m. I was so nervous because I did not know what to expect.
The port that was placed in just above what was my left breast and below my collar bone is very uncomfortable as it feels like it touches the expander.
The nurse, Billie, was very nice and attentive in making sure I was comfortable.
She sprayed some numbing spray on the port area so that I would not feel the needle insertion.
The numbing spray freezes up and makes the area very cold, I did not feel a thing.
Before I knew it, she had entered the needle and the first drips were already being started what are that of benadryl and anxiety medicine.
After those two I began my TC meds.

10-17 & 18 — The weekend went just fine. I only had slight nausea but other than that I felt fine.
CANNOT LOOK YET or want to. I cannot even bring myself to wash.
I just cannot do it.
I tried to wash myself and it went ok.
I still have a hard time touching the areas and have a hard time trying to look into the mirror.
I cannot put Palmers lotion on or Vit E oil on as needed because I am not strong enough mentally, so Rob does ALL of these things and MORE for me.
With no complaints – only a smile and loving words.

10-28-09 — Second expansion went very well.
I felt the saline expand the expanders this time.
Have to wait for the next until 11/12 as Dr. Bosshardt is on vacation.

11-30 — Third session of chemo, ugh.. but yeah! I was a little nervous but my numbers came back great Laura said.
It must be the diet or my new nutritional habits Rob has me on.
Either way he is doing great looking after me. I went in at one and did not get out until 5:10 p.m.
Later on I was so hungry so we ate, but that was not such a good idea.
I did not feel well the rest of the night. Went to sleep early.

12-1 — Yeah – – December. At work and did not think I would make it through the day.
On my nausea meds but still feeling yucky. I hung in there though.
Yeah me..I had my last expansion on Thursday, Dec 10th (I think).
I am undecided if I should go one more expansion and then call it quits.
Dr. Bosshardt still needs to put in his 20% after, but my goal is only to be one size bigger than I was.
I was a 34B and would like to be a 34C. Nothing too much just a little bigger.
It is hard to tell what they will look like when right now it looks as though you have two baseballs on your chest. LOL!

12-21 — My LAST chemo. YEAH! A little nervous as there is a feeling of comfort knowing that you are getting medication to help fight the cancer, but on the other hand those same medications are brutally hard on your body.
With that, I am ready for the last one and know that the cancer has NOT spread and by staying on my same nutritional path and exercise I can keep the cancer away forever and be a survivor forever with no recurrence.
I worked a half day Monday, a full day on Tuesday, had my last shot on Wednesday (for my immune system) – – cold and hurt like heck!!, worked half a day Thursday (Christmas eve) and we were off Friday.
Yeah! Nice week.

1-18-10 — After my last 20% expansion this morning with Dr. Bosshardt, I had a 3:00 appt with Dr. Kunta for my results of my scans.
Dr. Kunta advised that my scans were perfect, clean and clear and told me he would continue to treat me to keep the Cancer away.
I got a name and number of a Dermatologist, Heather Brock, so I could have them check my skin so I can stay.

6-10-10 — Third and last surgery today. I had to be there at 11:00 when the surgery was at 1:00.
Rob & I did not get out of there until 7:00 p.m.
I was not as nervous as the last two surgeries.
I have had many check ups with regard to my implants, but as of July I was pretty much done.
I had my nipple surgery with skin taken from between my legs. The creases to be exact.
It looks pretty good. Just the usual hairs coming through that I have to pluck.
All in all Dr. Bosshardt did a great job.

9-10 to 9-12-10 — Camp re Faces of Courage with the ladies.
Had a great time, met a lot of great ladies and had a lot of great and new experiences such as body paint, drums, meditation, and just a relaxing time away from phones, computers and life in general.

11-7-10 — A new chapter… posing nude while being body painted by Lisa Scholder at her home in Tampa, FL.
All for a good cause.

4-17-11 — Wow! I cannot believe it has been a year and a half since being told I have Cancer.
I am doing well.
I am on a Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Team, WOW – Warriors on Water.
I have been for almost 10 months now. I am feeling better, getting used to my implants, trying to workout more and paddling.
Other than the mental aspects that come later, all is well