Dawn Oswald – Update

I completed the 5k I described in my previous post in 31minutes 37 seconds – not bad for this old girl! The photo shows the Wonder Woman outfit I wore on the run.

My arm is the same. It’s stable. I’m still using the Flexitouch, wearing my compression sleeve, and sleeping with my Solaris sleeve.

However, I did not have the surgery I mentioned; after several tests it has been determined that the cancer has spread. I went from stage 1 to a stage 4 as a result of tests that I advocated for myself.

My physician wanted a PET scan just to make sure the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes again; however, he said the insurance would not pay for it because the cancer was only stage 1. He ordered a MRI of the chest and lymph nodes. The MRI was clear; it showed no disease activity.

I wanted to ease my mind so I asked my VA MD to order a PET scan and he did. The PET scan showed a few spots of concern, so he then ordered a CT scan of my chest. The CT scan results were sent to my oncologist, who ordered a MRI of the whole body as well as a bone scan.

And this is where we are now: The diagnosis was stage 4 breast cancer; it has spread to both my lungs and bones.
I will be receiving chemotherapy for 6 months and then we will go from there. I started the chemotherapy targeting drug last week and I am doing well. I have a little bit of nausea and a headache, but I can handle those side effects.
I will receive the monthly estrogen-reducing injection on Friday this week, so I hope no more side effects; if there are, I will deal with them one day at a time.

Given all the research and technology, I can live another 10-30 years, although there is no cure at present.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to educate yourselves and advocate for yourself. When the insurance company denied a PET scan, the physician at the VA ordered one – and saved my life! I thank him and the VA team for all the scans they did when my private insurance would not.

My husband calls me his hero; I don’t feel like a hero, but I do want to share my story for others to learn from and to let them know they are not alone. Let others help you and stay positive. I am doing both!

Dawn Oswald

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