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Breast Cancer

A little over a month ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. As some of you have noticed, I have not been posting as much since that time. I appreciate the email I received asking if I am alright. I am.

My wife and I are 49. Each year, my wife has a routine mammogram. As usual, this year's test was clear. However, my wife's OBGYN felt something during a visit and requested that the mammogram be repeated. Once again, it was clear. This time, the OBGYN requested a biopsy and it confirmed the existence of cancer.

If not for my wife's OBGYN's sensitive touch and persistence, we would not have known about the cancer. We probably would not have discovered it for at least another year, that is if the next mammogram would have shown it.

Thankfully, my wife's cancer was caught early. Just a week after the biopsy, surgery was done to remove the tumor. The next week, a second surgery was done to increase the margin (clear zone) around the area where the tumor was.

My wife is very strong and handled the surgeries very well. I was amazed that she took no painkillers at all.

Although the diagnosis and surgeries were very traumatic for my wife and me, as well as our extended family, we felt that the hard part was over.

That is when we really started to learn about breast cancer. Removing the tumor is just the tip of the iceberg. Tests began to determine exactly what type of tumor it was, how it responds to estrogen, its genetic characteristics, and other factors.

We quickly learned that the most important thing is to prevent the cancer for recurring, not just in the breasts but anywhere else in the body.

We knew that my wife would have to undergo radiation treatment to kill any remaining cancerous cells in the area of the tumor. But we learned that there are other treatments designed to minimize the risk of recurrence. In particular, there are chemotherapy, hormone blocking, and antibody treatments.

My wife is now scheduled to begin treatments on the 21st of this month.

Of course, I have been trying to learn as much as possible about breast cancer and the possible treatments. That is one reason I have not been blogging. I have also been accompanying my wife to all of her appointments and plan to do so as much as possible.

The next few months will be very challenging and her various treatments will continue for the next year or so. I mentioned to my wife that I wish that I could take the treatments for her. She replied that she thinks that she can handle them better than I could. I am pretty sure that she is right.

This is an ongoing learning process. One thing I would like to say is that I have a much greater appreciation for the members of the medical profession who save lives and help us to be healthy.

I am still practicing and teaching Karate. I feel that my Karate training helps me to be a better husband and supporter of my wife. I have tried to train hard in Karate since I was a teenager. I will try to do even more to assist my wife through this process. On January 7th, we will celebrate our 30th anniversary. Her chemotherapy is scheduled to be completed a week later.

Thank you again for the emails checking on my health. Thank you also for thoughts and prayers of those of you who might have already known about my wife's condition.


Charles C. Goodin