My Name is Mrs. Dude and This is My Breast Cancer Journey (So Far…)

breast cancer

Dude Note: I went back and forth a bit whether I should be posting Mrs. Dude’s breast cancer story on this blog. After all…this is a blog about living with celiac disease and how much of my audience really wants to hear about breast cancer?

But this blog is also about community. It’s about spirit. It’s about dealing with adversity. And most of all…it’s about hope.

And to top it off, my audience is roughly 90% female so I guarantee Mrs. Dude’s story may not only resonate with many but if it makes even one single person get a mammogram when otherwise they wouldn’t have, then absolutely we should share.

Hon…take it away.

—————————————

I want to start by saying I am truly grateful for this amazing community that has been a support lifeline to hubby and now one incredible virtual support team for me! How blessed are we??!!

Here is my story, my journey, my nightmare that I have been thrown into.

I went for my routine gyn/mammogram in May. I have been up to date with my gyn checkup. I had benign fibroids removed last summer. Easy surgery (I was asleep 🙂 ). It alleviated all the uncomfortable issues I was having. On the other hand I was delinquent in scheduling my mammo. I believe it had been a few years. I was naive and and just plain stupid thinking “breast cancer doesn’t run in my family…” About 90% of breast cancer is not genetic.

I had my mammogram in May. They found micro-calcifications. 80% of the time they are benign. Mine were not. Stage 0 DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ).

surgeryDuring my biopsy, they put a marker in my breast so they knew where to do the lumpectomy. They also recommended a breast reduction. This was mentioned by more than one Dr. It wasn’t until my 2 hour meeting with my radiation oncologist that my best friend/sister-in-law Bitz heard what they were saying. If you are a medium to large breasted woman, it makes radiation more challenging. Another benefit is during the surgery this means they can get more tissue out.

She also knows being large breasted woman has not always been a positive experience for me. Shopping is a nightmare and I’m tired of wearing 4 sports bras during my workouts. I love to exercise (it’s cheaper than therapy). She said if you can come out of this nightmare with cute perky breasts – why not girlfriend?!

So after lots of research and meetings with my amazing team of doctors, I was “comfortable”…which really means I was terrified of my decision.

I had my surgery July 3. The first 4 days were tough. I felt like I was was hit by a truck. I had amazing help at home. My cousin/sister/best friend Julie came to be with me. My amazing Mom and Bitz were one fantastic team taking care of me! I am extremely lucky to have the support that I do. I love them all beyond words can ever express.

You are probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned Gluten Dude. Well, my sweet adorable hubby decided to play in poison ivy 2 days before my surgery. The morning of my surgery while waiting for me, Bitz noticed Dude scratching up a storm which he said were mosquito bites. She said, “YOU ARE COVERED IN POISON IVY!!”

post-surgeryThe next few days were hairy for him as it traveled through his blood stream and down his body. Yuck!! As supportive and loving as he usually is and I know wanted to be, he was the worst nurse in my rotation. Instead of gently telling me to sit down he would bark it (lovingly??). I just didn’t want his open oozy wounds near me. Well, my mom, otherwise know as “Super Mema” ended up nursing him back to health as well. Once he went on steroids he felt much better.

Dude note: I was just looking for attention. Ok, carry on…

5 days post surgery I worked my way up to walking 4 miles. By day 8 I was feeling great.

Until the doctor called with my pathology results.

I had more stage 0 cancer cells than first expected and they found stage 1 cancer in the tissue that was taken out from the reduction. It was small, .05 mm. It never showed up on my many mammograms that I had leading up to surgery. Dr said it was amazing the radiologist found it. So basically the reduction saved my life. Who really knows when the tumor would have showed up on a mammogram and by then it could have been too late.

bitzRemember who I said gently pushed me to consider a reduction? Bitz. My dear sister-in-law who has been my best friend for over 20 years. (I know how to pick em!!) She is the dearest and most selfless person I know.

When we got the call I was complete devastated. Suckered punched. Terrified. I cried like I have never cried before. The hardest part was telling my 2 beautiful daughters and my parents.

The next day was a brand new start. I was energized, pissed and ready to fight back. We spent the rest of the weekend researching and preparing for the next round of doctor appointments. (I won’t say that we didn’t enjoy a couple of Dude’s homemade frozen strawberry margaritas as well).

Because they don’t know the exact location of the tumor that was found in the tissue removed from the reduction, the recommendation was a single mastectomy. I have decided to have a double mastectomy. Since the tumor wasn’t picked up, I know I will live in fear about my other breast. This decision is a personal one. Every woman’s decision is her own and can’t be judged by someone else.

I’m scheduled for my next surgery the end of August, on our 21st wedding anniversary. I told my doctor I was showing up in my wedding dress. He said he would bring my tiara.

During the double mastectomy surgery, they will also be checking my lymph nodes to make sure the cancer has not spread any further. Many hurdles to clear still but feeling strong.

I have decided not to be private about my breast cancer and my journey. I have learned a lot through Gluten Dude and the community that he is a part of. If one person’s story can help another then we are already Heroes.

Please feel free to follow my journey on Instagram at @goteamdoodles

I want to thank my amazing husband. He has been my rock.

I also want to thank my entire family. I am one lucky lady to have the incredible family that I do.

And I want to thank my New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Hong Kong, Fairfield, Texas, Facebook, and celiac community. You all know who you are! Your love and strength is what’s fueling me.

Now go schedule your mammogram.

This journey to be continued…

mrs dude cancer

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87 thoughts on “My Name is Mrs. Dude and This is My Breast Cancer Journey (So Far…)”

  1. Mrs. Dude, thank you for sharing your story. I think you are amazing and will kick cancers a** . I will be sending prayers up for you. Don’t forget to lean when you need to. It sounds like you have an awesome support team.

  2. I had a double mastectomy at 28 in March 2012 – you won’t regret the decision! I was also stage 0 DCIS (but I am BRCA2+), and I can’t tell you the peace of mind I finally experienced when I had my first post-mastectomy MRI last year and everything was crystal clear A-OK. You will get through it, and you will come out stronger on the other end; I PROMISE! There are tons of awesome BC Facebook support groups (“Beyond the Pink Moon” is one of my favorites!) and I can say from experience that it’s helpful to talk to others going through the same thing – be sure to reach out when you are able! Best wishes, and please know we are all cheering for you – the worst will be over before you know it! <3

  3. You are definitely one of the strongest couples I know, and you handle diversity in such an amazing way. Love you both

  4. Bless you, Mrs. Dude. Bless you all. My darling SIL was just dx’d with breast and bone cancer. It’s not an easy fight, but with love and support from family and community, you are not alone.
    Now go and kick some ass!!!

  5. Mrs Dude (and Dude)

    Our continuous hopes & prayers are with you & your family – we know you’ll keep up the strong fight! Thanks for your update so we know how you are doing along the journey.

    As one of Dude’s 10% male posse members, I love the last picture of you going in one direction and Dude facing another direction – reminds me of my wife and I walking. She constantly circles back around to me – cause she can literally walk circles around me (she’s a Thoroughbred & I’m a Clydesdale – give me something to pull – I’ll only run if a grizzley is chasing me). When she & the neighbors tease me about being her boat anchor – my only reply is see if she can keep up with me with a 50lb sack of dogfood under each arm cause I weigh 100lbs more than she does. Gravity is not my friend.

    HOPE for the journey ahead and we’ll look forward to hearing good news along the way!!!

    Hap

  6. Best wishes Mrs Dude! Huge thanks for sharing your story – so good that they spotted the stage 1 tumour. Found is an excellent start on your found, treated, sorted journey.
    Good luck for a speedy complete recovery! Just don’t let GD play in the garden the day before your surgery…….

  7. I know I have said this a dozen times to you guys in the last few weeks via email, but I will say it again: You got this! you’re going to beat cancer’s ass and get on with the business of living.

    I admire your strength and courage for sharing your story, D.

    By doing so, you give others hope and strength and you allow others to lift you both up with their loving support and concern.

    “Hope is patience with the lamp lit”. – Tertullian

    Hope gave me the courage to fight for my life. It continues to propel me through my days. Hope looks forward, never backwards.

    Soon, this will all be in your rear view mirror.

    Never give in to fear. Believe you will get well!.
    I believe in you.

    Love and tons of hugs to you both.

  8. No one said the new perky boobs couldn’t be “store bought” 😉 sound like you have the right attitude…that family is most important.

  9. You are brave and amazing…Thank you for sharing your journey. You and Gluten Dude are the best couple…I love seeing how much you love and support each other! (((Hugs)))

  10. Thank you for sharing your story. It reminds me to savor every day that I have with my family and friends…as I know you are. We will all be thinking of you! Keep us posted.

  11. The Atomic Mom

    Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope you share more. I think every one needs to hear these stories. I had my first mammo last year, there were problems, that turned out to be nothing, but it was still a scary experience. I’ve been preaching the mammogram to all my friends since then. All the best in your recovery! 🙂

    1. Mrs. Dude aka Doodles

      I have been inspired by you! Thank you for your friendship. I love the middle of the night chats:)

  12. Mrs. Dude, I can’t begin to thank you enough for sharing your story. All of the exams on our “lady parts” are so important! You will continue to be in my prayers!

  13. You are going to be fine, Mrs. Dude and the whole Dude family. You have each other, and a positive and educated outlook on health. Best to you all.

  14. Many prayers for each day of this journey. I have two friends dealing with breast cancer right now….on different levels. So hard to watch and I can’t even imagine what it is like to go through.,,,

  15. Martha Spiegel

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You’re a strong lady with a strong family, and I have great faith that you will overcome this. My whole church will be praying for you. I miss you!! Big (but gentle!) hugs!!

  16. Sue in Alberta

    You are truly inspirational. Now, I bet there are times you’re thinking, “inspirational, my ass” but your courage to tell your story with such honesty is just that and I bet there are times when you’re thinking “enough already with the character building” but you continue on.
    I am grateful on your behalf that you have such loving support. Go easy on yourself, Mrs. D. Your days of one sports bra await!

    Sending positive energy you way,

    Sue

    1. Mrs. Dude aka Doodles

      Ah Sue thank u! I love it!
      I am way over the character building! In need of some plain old boring!
      Xoxox

  17. Christine Gill

    Thank you so much, Mrs. Gluten Dude, for sharing your journey here.
    My thoughts and prayers will be with you. We are all in this together. Your husband helped me so much in the beginning with my celiac journey and my Father’s (who nearly died during TPN treatment to heal him). Thankfully, we are just fine. Your husband responded to my sharing and made a difference in my life. Grateful! I wish you the best as you recover.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your story Mrs. Dude and the update.
    You’ve been in my thought, concerns and prayers.
    Focusing on dealing/healing the effects of Celiac over the past few years and the other conditions I’ve developed, I’ve neglected my GYN health and getting a mammo. Losing a ton of weight, going from being large breasted to having teeny tiny breasts made me “feel safer”. Ridiculous I know. You drove the importance home of having a mammogram.
    Mush love to you to you…amazing woman that you are, and your equally amazing husband, family and support system. You’ve got this!
    Go woman go!
    ~Mary

  19. You’ve inspired me to make an appointment for a mammogram. No more procrastination. I appreciate your courage and openness. It takes a strong person to help others amid your own challenges. Best wishes!

  20. Fight like a GIRL Mrs Dude! And thanks for sharing your story here! You are absolutely right that we, the Celiac community, are a compassionate bunch and will definitely be here to support you!

  21. Thank you for sharing your story. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. You can do this! You have a wonderful support system. God bless.

  22. Miss Dee Meanor

    Thank you for sharing this and please continue to post updates. You have been in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be. I saw Dude’s FB post concerning a setback for you and wanted to ask about your diagnosis/treatment, but felt that you would discuss it when and if you were ready and didn’t want to invade your privacy. (I know that I need to think things through, talk with friends/family, weigh my options, do my research, and make my own decisions before discussing health decisions publicly.)

    You have earned a tee-shirt that says “I kicked breast cancer AND survived my Dude’s nursing skills”.

  23. Okay, I have been lazy about mammos, my doc yelled at me over a week ago for neglecting myself, I was sick of doctors, etc….
    Now, I will schedule it.
    Lots of extended love to you and the Mr.
    Bethesda MD mom!

  24. Thankful for Whole Foods

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us and being an advocate for mammograms! I am a fairly new to the celiac community (about a year ago I was in terrible shape and was diagnosed in September) and have a history of DCIS (Stage 0 Cancer). My DCIS was discovered not through mammogram but the physical exam performed by my OB/GYN. I have lumpy breasts and she referred me for screening. So ladies, please be sure to see your OB/GYN regularly too!

  25. Thank you for sharing your journey with us ! Your story kinda hit me hard ..I am long over due for a check up and ( long sigh ) I’ve never had a mammogram ( don’t hit me ! ) I am taking these double D’s in soon , I promise !
    You amaze me , so strong and brave !

    1. Mrs. Dude aka Doodles

      Each day is a new beginning. Don’t be afraid. Go get screened. We only have one body. The good thing is it’s a quick smush, then u are done! Let me know how it goes. It will be holding your hand virtually.

  26. What an amazing tale of optimism and strength you provide Mrs. Dude. Much like Dude himself, sending out helpful and hopeful vibes showing us to all pull our Sh*t together, to work together, and keep moving forward. Best wishes for quick recovery!

    1. Mrs. Dude aka Doodles

      One foot in front of the other. Dude inspired me to share my journey. I thought if he can, I can.
      Thanks u for your kind words.
      Xo

  27. Thank you for sharing your story Mrs. Dude. Breast cancer does not run in my family either. I kept scheduling and rescheduling my mammogram. Finally did it and it was normal. Breast cancer is nothing to sniff at. Now that I’m older, I get my regular exams done. Since I found out 2 years ago that I have Celiac disease, I realized that I am not bulletproof. I used to have a devil may care towards my health because I really thought I was invincible—NOT! God bless and may you have a long and healthy life. I will be thinking of you and the progress you make.

    1. Mrs. Dude aka Doodles

      I think we all fall in that invincible mode. I thought I was bullet proof as well. Sadly, that’s not the case.
      Be well!
      Xo

  28. Mrs Dude, walking 4 miles after 5 days post-op? You go girl!
    My friend had a double mastectomy a few years ago for the same reason, she is doing great and is really into kickboxing now…. her motto is fight like a girl! 🙂 … Now if you can just keep Dude out of the poison ivy… 😉

    1. Mrs. Dude aka Doodles

      Great to hear about your friend! I love that motto- fight like a girl!!!
      Dude is not allowed to play outside anymore 😉

  29. Mrs. Dude, I am in awe of your courage and your brutal honesty. It is people like you and GD that make a difference in this world. Sharing your story will save someone else’s life. How many of us can say that we have made a difference. You are an inspiration to all.

    Aloha

  30. Dear Mrs Dude,

    You’re a brave lady! I know you will win this battle. My neighbor lost both of her sisters to breast cancer. She decided to have a preventive double mastectomy and hasn’t regretted her choice for even a minute. She has a husband and three kids she wants to be here for. Shortly after her 2nd sister died, her mom died of a broken heart. They have shared their story through a foundation they started called The Oldham Project. You can find it on Facebook.

    You are in my prayers Mrs Dude

  31. I am new to this blog but i am not new to breast cancer. I was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer with 7 lymp nodes positive. ER,PR + HER2-. I also opted for a double masct which was a good thing as they found microcalcifications on the other. I also opted to do radiation but i refused chemo and tamoxifin. I went on a search of why isnt my body functioning right. I in turn found out quite a few things that i have been working on correcting, one of which is celiac’s. Mrs Dude I don’t know any more about you than this story but are you gluten free also? I have found that by correcting and trying to make my body in tune that I have been able to survive. I am now over 6 years cancer free when they told me I would be dead in 6 months. I honestly believe all diseases start in the gut and i will never give up trying to improve me as an individual and not the me as a number the medical community labeled me as. Good luck to you both and God Bless.

  32. thank you for sharing your story, doodles!
    i was the primary caregiver for my mother, for her last 3 years dealing with metastatic DCIS, but her philosophy was so different than yours — re-active, instead of pro-active, is a mild way to describe it. i support your courage to opt for double mastectomy, and i wish you successful surgery, with never a recurrance or metastasis, and i look forward to following the rest of your story.
    and yes, i’m celiac, it tracks thru my family for at least 4 generations, but few are formally diagnosed (including me.) i don’t need invasive procedures to tell me how much better i feel without gluten, but then i’m horribly doctor-phobic, after multiple breast cancer scares and biopsies (and painful procedures) resulting in “benign” pathology reports.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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