Her excellent surgeon called from the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center up in Lebanon, NH, to share the good news that there was no sign of cancer in the "sentinel lymph node" they had taken - and that indicates to them that there is a very high probability that the cancer did not spread to other parts of her body.
The joy at that news was tempered somewhat by the fact that the cancer in her left breast was found to be not simply "Stage 0 DCIS" as in her original diagnosis... some of it had morphed into "Stage 1 Invasive Breast Cancer" and she had a very small lump forming outside the ducts.
In a year or 2 or 3, this could have been much, MUCH worse.
We give thanks now for the persistence of Dr. Luthra at the Cheshire Medical Center and his dogged determination to get to the bottom of whatever was causing the changes in my wife's breast. It would have been easier to just dismiss it... but we definitely have him to thank for pursuing it until it was indeed found to be cancer.
With the discovery of invasive breast cancer, my wife next will meet with an oncologist to go over options... and whether she needs to take some of the various medications that are out there to help reduce the chances of the cancer's return.
You see, we've learned that you don't really "survive" breast cancer as much as you "learn to live with it".
Unlike some of the other cancers that really can be completely removed or go into long-term remission, breast cancer seems to lurk inside. It can even return in the scar resulting from the mastectomy.
You survive a battle... but the war goes on.
And winning this one battle was not without sacrifice - my wife made the difficult choice to have a double mastectomy, in large part because with basically no sign of an issue in the one breast she didn't want to live in fear of any issue in the other breast. She chose not to undergo any of the reconstruction options, although she always has that option at some later date.
Her surgery was on Friday, July 1 ... it is a crazy sign of the times that mastectomies are now so routine that it was day surgery and she was back at home that night. The first week was complete hell between the pain, the drains and all the side effects of the narcotics medication. But we were blessed to be surrounded by wonderful family and friends who helped out in so many ways from watching our 2 girls, providing many meals and doing so many other things. It's been truly wonderful to have this community around us and helping us.
Fast forward 18 days to today and my strong (and not very patient) wife is up and around... going for a 4-mile walk every day... and planning to walk the NH/VT Susan G. Komen 5K Race for the Cure over in Manchester, VT, on this coming Saturday, July 23rd! (I'm joining her in running the race.)
She still can't lift our 2-year-old daughter (or other heavy objects) and her range of motion is still limited... but each day gets a little bit better and better... she's on her way back!
And she survived at least the first battle with this unwelcome guest that intruded into our lives...
 Sadly for others in our area, Dr. Luthra has now moved on to a hospital down in the Philadelphia or Baltimore area to purse further education/research.
 An entire other post could be written on the topic of breast reconstruction and all the options - and tradeoffs...
Image credit: hygienematters on Flickr