In 2014, I was diagnosed with aggressive Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) metastatic breast cancer, stage 4. In less than a year, I had four months of chemo, four blood transfusions, a breast tumor & lymph node removal surgery. It was all topped off by 33 rounds of radiation.

This cancer started in my breast, but it didn’t stay there. It invaded the chest wall, lymph nodes (they surgically removed 19). Each section of my liver was covered with tumors, rendering removal by surgery impossible, but they don’t do that with stage 4. At the end of my chemo, my spine doctor found a dead tumor in my spine.

The numbers were:

  • The SUV measures how deadly your tumor is. Anything above 2.5 is considered malignant. Mine was 16.2. 
  • The RATE or ki67 measures how fast the disease was growing within my body. They consider 20% high, and my rate was 60%.
  • The GRADE represents the quality of the tumor. You need to add three factors to get the grade: the nuclear grade, tubule formation, and the mitotic index.  My Grade was 3 out of 3.
    • The nuclear grade determines how normal the nucleus of the cancer cell looks. The grade of 3 is the worst, and mine was 3. 
    • The tubule formation is the percentage of cells that have a tubular formation. The average score was 1, and mine was 3. That’s 3 out of 3. 
    • The mitotic index measures how quickly the cancer cells are dividing and multiplying. The highest score you can get is 3, and that was my score.  

I’ve had it easier than some and harder than others. We don’t compare. Everyone’s cancer is usually the worst thing to happen in their lives. There is always hope and strength in God.