Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Race for the Cure - Amarillo, TX

Getting ready to go Walk!

Ted, Connie, Shell & Melissa

Nearly 1/2 way thru, we had just gone under I-40.

There were many lawns decorated for the walk!

Connie & Ted at the finish line!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010


Today was a great day for me. Katie and I were interviewed by a TV station in Lubbock for an upcoming segment on their evening newscast. I will be sure and let you know when it will be airing! While I was sitting back and watching Evan interview Katie I started thinking about some topics I should discuss in the near future. Several of the question in the interview involved what would you tell other people about the genetic testing and your choices. I believe I have touched on that subject in several of my posts, but I have not elaborated much on the subject of my experiences regarding surveillance.

There are different options available for those of us who are not quite ready to have body parts removed. While I have not experienced all of them I do have a something to share with you! Katie said it best today in the interview, and if you are willing to take advice from anyone she is definitely credible.

Today Katie said, "Ten seconds of being squeezed during a mammogram is better than 6 months of chemo any time!"

With that in mind I would like to re-visit a few of my experiences from the past year. In February I had a Breast MRI, this is a newer technique used to scan the breast tissue for abnormalities. The MRI itself is a little intimidating. You are taken into a room with a huge piece of equipment and placed face down onto a table. Your girls are then placed through holes so that they are hanging in thin air. Dignified to say the least, but when considering the other options I'll give up my modesty to avoid cancer. There are two portions of the MRI the first is a thorough scan of your chest area, once this is achieved die is released through an IV. As the die enters your blood stream it can show areas that have abnormal blood flow. Since tumors are body cells that have mutated or changed from typical growth patterns it would be reasonable to expect a deviation or change in blood flow to those cells. MRI can pick up on these abnormalities as well as others.

My MRI did show an area of dense tissue. When looking at the pictures taken it reminded me of a thumb print on one side of my breast. I could not tell you much about it technically other than there was a difference in the way that specific thumb print showed up on the pictures. My doctor decided to follow up with a Breast Sonogram. Using the same instruments we associate with the happy experiences of seeing our unborn children a technician analyzed my breasts. I had experienced a breast sonogram before this so it was not much of a surprise. Just like when we go to see our little growing babies gel was applied and the wand was used to document my breast tissue. Ultimately the anomaly came back to be nothing of concern, but I was able to experience two different methods of surveillance.

The MRI was not relaxing, dignified, or comfortable in the least, but this was one small piece of the puzzle to achieve long-term benefits. It has been documented that mammography, breast MRI, and breast sonogram are all good methods of screening for breast cancer, and it has also been very well researched and proven that early detection saves lives.

In August, I went in to see my gynecologist. It was a good visit, and so far all of my results have come back with nothing to be concerned about. After my appointment I traveled down the elevator to the in house lab and had a CA-125 blood test drawn, which in my mind is the easiest of all screening. I will gladly give a tube of blood anytime. The other scan that was scheduled was a trans-vaginal sonogram. This is as bad as it sounds, but if you are a woman and have regularly seen a gynecologist for yearly exams it is nothing. I am being honest here. In comparison to what you go through each year during your exam and pap-smear this is a walk in the park. At least in my case, it was not painful, took very little time, and gives my doctors another tool in taking care of my health. Let's just say that I will be happier on the days that I go for this than my breast MRI.

So now you have the run down of what I have experienced. With the exception of a mammogram I can say been there done that. Surveillance is not something we should be scared of, getting the results may be a different story. I think it is healthy to be afraid. My experiences were by no means negative. I will be honest with you that during some of these I was scared. My fear was not of the screening, but of the fact that my sister had cancer. The "C" word is what we are really scared of, not the screening. If we will take a minute to really think about it the real reason that we avoid the screening is because we are afraid of what they will find.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A few things...

I thought it was time to let all of you in on a few things. First and foremost next week marks a very important week in the publisizing of Heriditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer (HBOC).

FORCE, which I have mentioned in previous blogs, has fought hard and achieved the passing of a house resolution deeming the last week of September National HBOC week. Along with this the last Wednesday in September will be National Previvor Day!! This is great news for all of us out their fighting for the widespread publicity of HBOC.

This link gives more information about the new resolution.

Alright, on to my second bit of news. I have decided to take the plunge and go back to school! Cody and I have talked a great deal about this, and the decision has been made. In the spring, I will start taking classes to get my Bachelors of Science in Nursing!! I currently have a Bachelors in Agronomy (Agriculture), and have been able to put it to good use as JB & Taylor's Mommy! Both of the kids will be in school in the next 3 years, so I have decided to put this transition time to good use and pack in as many classes as possible while they are beginning Pre-K and eventually Kindergarten.

I feel that I am being called upon to help others in my situation, and my ultimate goal is to work at the local cancer center in Amarillo. God has a purpose for me, and he is slowly starting to show me what He has in mind! I have been very cautious in making this decision, and we feel this is truly where God is leading us. Wish me luck, but most of all be patient with me! I am sure I will be giving all of you updates along the way. It is also my intention to keep up with my Blog, though it might be more slowly than last winter and spring.

Last, but not least Katie and I have been asked to be a part of several activities during the month of October! Tomorrow we will be meeting together in Lubbock for an interview with a TV station. (I will let you know about the air date when I know more) We have also been asked to speak at a luncheon later on in October at the Joe Arrington Cancer Center in Lubbock. Team Deaton is striving to do our part to educate and get the word out! God is using us! It gives me a great deal of peace knowing that both our mother and grandfather would be so proud of what we are accomplishing!!

Until next time, God Bless!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

JAMA Article

I believe I have had adequate time now to thouroughly digest the article pertaining to Risk Reducing Surgery publishind in the last month. It is by no means light readaing, riddled with medical terminology and statistics it could easily be seen as sleep inducing for the general population.

My first several times through were much like a whirlwind. I picked up on the key phrases that pertained to my specific circumstances and that of Katie's and took much relief from a patients perspective. It took me a few days to put aside my excitement in the article from a personal understanding and start to analyze the article as a person wanting to inform others of the overall information provided.

Within the article are several tables expressing the data collected and the numerical evaluations of that data. What does this data say?

1. Preventative surgery works.

I am not saying that if you have preventative surgery that you will not ever get cancer. What I am saying is that a person can make a choice of prevention knowing that his or her overall risk will be reduced.

Preventative surgery is not a cure for our gene mutations, but I do not know many people out their who would not like a little less risk in their lives.

It is so hard to decide what to and not to share, and I can hardly do it justice. If you would like to read for yourself please go to the following link. Also, if you have any questions please feel free to ask.


I had plans to elaborate a great deal more and try to give you more information from this article, but I find myself incapable of the means to do so tonight. The proof is there that preventative surgery is working to reduce overall risk. Improved surgical practices and methods and a better understanding of what we are dealing with has brought us so far in the past 10 years. To many people out their it could easily be seen as a bleek and depressing time to find out your BRCA status, but there is so much HOPE to be had.

We are not alone, and more importantly we have amazing allies on our side. There are thousands of doctors, nurses, research technichians, students, and countless others who are fighting for our better tomorrow. I cannot think of anything more refreshing and hopeful to an Oncologist than the ability to prevent cancer! We are a new kind of army and our batallions are growing daily!

God Bless!

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Friday, September 3, 2010


Genetic testing for the BRCA gene mutations has been around for ten plus years now. This means that our doctors have had at least ten years to make their recommendations on how best to pro-long and enhance our chances of a cancer free long life. We all know what these options are, and have come to see them as more culturally accepted.

Thus far in my quest to better inform myself I have focused on websites and books to digest the published information from the medical field and feed it back to me in their words. This week my genetic counselor and I have spoken several times and I have had the pleasure of receiving my own copy of the JAMA's newest publication. I am sure you have all heard media reports on this wonderful study this week. There is a great deal of valuable information in here, and I am planning on giving you my own run down of what it reports. Over the next week I am going to be highlighting, note taking, and question asking to accurately give you my best interpretation of this publication.

After reading it thru just once I have already assigned myself a few more publications to track down and investigate. One specifically deals with the use of hormone therapy after oophorectomy. This topic is still very controversial, but I want to know more about it. So in my mind who better to go to when in need of information than our world of medical professionals!

Wish me luck and I look forward to reporting back to you soon!!

Have a great Holiday weekend!

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