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Phew!!! The decision was finally made – I was to have a lumpectomy of my right breast to remove the known cancer. A lumpectomy usually removes the least amount of breast tissue. The surgeon removes the cancer and a small portion or margin of the surrounding tissue, but not the breast itself. They also chose to remove an area of dense breast tissue called a fibroadenoma. Fibroadenomas are common benign (non-cancerous) breast tumors made up of both glandular tissue and stromal (connective) tissue. Fibroadenomas are most common in women in their 20s and 30s, but they can be found in women of any age. They tend to shrink after a woman goes through menopause. Dr. Kahn said it wasn’t necessary to remove the fibroadenoma but I figur...

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I can't believe it's been exactly one year since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The journey was slooowwww but yet fast, all at the same time, and so much has transpired.

So, you may be wondering why I stopped sharing about my journey.... Well, despite the fact that I felt like crap, "life" continued to happen, and I had another massive family crisis that took precedence (as if I didn't have enough on my plate) during this time. When it rains, it pours and it was dumping hard.

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So where did I leave off... oh yes, a year ago, August 9th we returned from the house we purchased in Austin, to begin educating myself with all things breast cancer.

Despite the fact that I have been working in healthcare for the past 25 years, I really had no idea what it meant to have "breast cancer". You hear about so many women who have faced it and beat it. You see the pink ribbons posted, pink license plates, pink wrist bands, the Susan Komen Walk advertised, October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hollywood Stars who survived breast cancer like Sheryl Crow, Christina Applegate & Melissa Ethridge, but I truly didn't have the remotest idea about the complexities of this disease. Call me "totally clueless".

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Lucky for me, living in Los Angeles, I had many choices for great cancer treatment - UCLA, City of Hope, USC, Cedars Sinai and others. That coupled with the fact that over the years, working in healthcare, I have been blessed with the opportunity to establish a deep network and close relationships with health care executives and providers across the country, and as a result, I had access to the top physicians in the area. I also had no qualms whatsoever, to cash in on those relationships and ask for a few "favors". What good is it to have "connections" and not use them, right?

I chose to go with Hoag - Keck Medicine of USC program. It was their team of physicians and staff that introduced me to "breast cancer" and walked me through, in great detail, what my personal "cancer' was and the treatment options I had. From the moment I walked into the office, I felt a sense of comfort. Each doctor or nurse I encountered treated me with respect, spent all the time I needed on cancer education, answered all my questions, and considered my opinions & personal situation.

Despite the time and attention each physician took, it still didn't change how much I needed to learn... and QUICK! There were so many physicians on the treatment team... surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons, infusions specialists, genetic counselors and nurse navigators. I went to what felt like a million doctor appointments and each had their opinion about the treatment options - lumpectomy, mastectomy, double mastectomy, interoperative radiation therapy, external whole beam radiation for 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, oncoplasty, chemotherapy, therapy - AAAHHHH!

One of the things I did learn was that each individual's cancer is unique and the treatment plan would be specifically created from the post surgical test results. There were so many different variables and no one, was certain, at this point, what the exact outcome would be. They did confirm one thing - expect the plan to potentially change. They could only definitively determine the type of cancer - where, when and what stage I was, when the surgery & pathology results were complete. From the initial diagnostic tests, it all looked like it was early stage so I was hanging on to the hope that this would be the case.

If you know me well, too many variables, puts me over the edge. Not being in control and not knowing what my outcome would be post surgery, was not an environment that I was used to being in. This was completely out of my comfort zone. I needed to make a decision and quick, so that I could get to the next step. Ok - here goes.... I decided to do a lumpectomy with IORT (interoperative radiation therapy). Based on the initial results of my biopsy and MRI's, it looked like I was a candidate for this new technique which allows me to reduce radiation therapy from 7 weeks to 1 day. I prayed and crossed my fingers that this would be the easiest way out.

Stunned, dazed and confused - picture that walking out of the doctor's office. I remember getting in the car and thinking that this had to be a dream, or rather a nightmare. I took a few deep breaths to get my panic attack under control and drove home.... to what?

OMG...it hit me as I pulled into the driveway... we're supposed to be moving to Austin the following morning at 8 am. Holy Shit!! Everything was done, bought the dream lake house in Austin (Rough Hollow Lakeway Tx), "check", shipped the boat, "check", registered the kids in the new school, "check", LA house for sale, "check", and jobs set up, "check". The only thing left was to pack the furniture & hop on a one way flight from California to Texas.

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Monday, July 25th, (I'll never forget the day) finally arrived and I was fairly calm, cool and collected because, in my mind, the results from the biopsy were going to be benign. No big deal. The call finally came in from the diagnostic center that afternoon asking me to come in to the office per "typical protocol"... Really? Couldn't they just give me the results over the phone? I'm in the middle of moving to Austin and didn't have time for these inconveniences! My husband and mom insisted on coming with me, "just in case" but again, it was a non-issue, right?

Dr. David Chan (medical oncologist) comes in, sits down at the desk and after some niceties states, "After reviewing the results of the mammogram and the biopsy, we have concluded that you have breast cancer- I'm so sorry."

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Ironically, over the weekend, while I was anxiously awaiting the news of my biopsy results, my daughter Cami and I had planned to attend the "Walk with Sally" fundraising event in Manhattan Beach, in support of a mentorship program for children whose parents, guardians or siblings have cancer or have succumbed to cancer. Nick Arquette, the founder and CEO of the charity, is a friend of mine and I wanted to support his cause. We also had the opportunity to recognize my husband's mom, Mary, as she passed from cancer a few years ago.

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His story - Sally was Nick Arquette’s mom. He and his brother lived with her in Northern California while she was diagnosed with and battling breast cancer. They struggled to try to make sense of why their mother was going through this and at the same time longed to have a mother who was just like all the other mom’s they saw with their friends. As the mounting pressures of cancer took their toll, this single mother could no longer care for her two sons and Nick and his brother moved to Idaho to live with their father. The impact of cancer had started to take it’s toll.

At just 11 years old Nick realized that cancer changes everything… he and his brother had to leave everything they had known, school, friends, family, and move to start a new life with their father in Idaho. Although he had his brother, Nick had always wanted someone who could understand what he was going through since his friends hadn’t really been exposed to cancer in their own lives yet. It reminds me so much of what my kids may be going through right now - breaks my heart. More about Walk with Sally Mentor Program

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temp-post-imageReally, right now? Nothing like this comes at a "good time", of course.

Our family was right in the middle of a move from Los Angeles to Austin (that's another story in an of itself). I was in the middle of packing boxes on Sunday night and had two choices...push this, most likely benign situation, off until after we moved to Austin OR see if I could have my OBGYN Zhanna Pinkus, MD squeeze me in on Monday for a quick "check" and ease my mind of any serious consequence. So, I opted for the latter. Lynette Miya, NP was gracious enough to see me on Monday morning & my daughter later in the week.

So the diagnostic journey began... ultrasound on Monday with Lynette (not a cyst - but what was it?), a diagnostic mammogram on Wednesday (a defini...

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It's ironic how we all get caught up in what we want in life, planning our futures, building our families, establishing our work, the pursuit of happiness and in a single moment, BOOM! it changes... it did for me, but in the most insane, crazy & yet amazing way. Ironically, I'm sharing my story this month of October, which happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month but more importantly I'm sharing in the hope that it might impact someone in even the smallest, simplest way.

Sunday July 17, my 19 year old daughter came to me and said, "Hey mom, I feel a weird lump on my breast and I'm not sure what it is - can you check it out?" It completely caught me off guard, as who would have thought an "invincible" 19 y/o would consider their health...

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Water is extremely beneficial to the body in so many ways. We want to see how you can express this through social media! 7 of your 14 days must include these types of posts: 1. 3 facts on the benefits of drinking water 2. Ideas about times it is easy to add water into the day 3. Healthy ways to spruce up your water (i.e. fruit) 4. A selfie drinking water at work! 5. A picture of you and a friend drinking water 6. A picture of your water bottle (doesn't have to be Swell) with the launch website or social media pages 7. A place in your office you can refill a water bottle, or if you don’t have one, a suggestion on how this can be implemented! Your other 7 posts can be about anything that you like, or you can repeat any of the...

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Searching for a healthy, easy recipe for dinner this week? Look no further! This Slow-Cooker Quinoa-Summer Squash Casserole is delicious and nutritious, with only 111 calories per serving. Ingredients: • 12 ounces tomatillos, husked, rinsed and chopped • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped • 1 poblano or bell pepper, chopped • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion • 1 tablespoon lime juice • 1 teaspoon salt • 1 cup quinoa • 1 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese, divided • 2 pounds small yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano Directions: 1. Combine tomatillos, tomatoes, pepper, onion, lime juice and salt in a medium bowl. 2. Coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer quinoa, 1/3 c...

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