Nichole Trudell

My story is not a short one. Let me first start my introducing myself. I am Nichole, my friends call me Nikki, Trudell and I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart, Jeff, for almost 22 years. We have 2 sons, Josh is a freshman in college and Luke is a junior in high school. I was first diagnosed as a senior in high school with thyroid cancer. I actually had two types, follicular and papillary, which resulted in a total thyroidectomy and 5 rounds of radioactive iodine treatments. The sweetest words I heard were, “you are cured.” Jeff and I became engaged, I graduated from college, and we were looking for an apartment. Then came my checkup 9 months before our wedding and the words, “we found a spot.” I had another treatment, which took care of that last area. I continue to see my endocrinologist yearly due to the fact that he believes there are thyroid cancer cells that haven’t presented themselves yet. As a result of the extensive radioactive iodine that I was given, I have had yearly mammograms since my early thirties. My mammograms always came back perfect until 3 years ago. That was my first irregular which required a biopsy of the right breast. The biopsy results came back normal, we were so relieved. I truly didn’t believe that I would have another abnormal mammogram. Then two years ago I underwent a hysteroscopy polyectomy with endometrial ablation due to excessive blood loss. March 1, 2013 I scheduled my yearly mammogram and received a call on Monday March 4 that I had an irregular result in the right breast again. I scheduled to go on March 8 for additional testing and was informed that I needed another biopsy. My biopsy was scheduled for March 14 and I received the call on Monday March 18 that I had Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. At that point I was in disbelief! I didn’t have time for this…Josh was getting ready to graduate, we had his party, I was matron of honor in my friend’s wedding, and I had the annual Mother/Daughter weekend in Vegas coming up. After all tests were completed, the decision was made to have a lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy followed by 6 weeks of daily radiation. My surgery was on April 11, which was 1 week after my girlfriends wedding. My surgeon called me on the 17 to inform me of the pathology report. My tumor was larger than they thought (2.7 inches) and there was a second Invasive Ductal spot that was ½ inch, but I had clear margins. I met with the medical oncologist the next day who informed me that I needed to have the Oncotype test to determine if I needed chemotherapy. I was in utter shock! I thought I was having radiation, I had even met with the radiology oncologist to discuss my traveling to Vegas in May. Nikki Trudell 2 On May 2, I met with the medical oncologist to review my Oncotype result. My result was on the high end of intermediate so he stated that I needed to have 4 rounds of Taxotere and Cytoxan, then radiation, followed by 10 years of Tamoxifin. I expressed my concern over Josh’s graduation coming in June and that I didn’t want to start treatment until after his party. It was important to me that this was his time to shine. I was still healing from surgery, so starting the end of June was not a problem. I was able to visit my Mom in Vegas, celebrate Josh’s graduation, and have a wonderful party surrounded by everyone that is important to us. I had my port inserted the Tuesday after the party and started chemo that Thursday (6/20) followed by Neulasta the next day. This first round was very hard on my body, but I knew that I just had to keep going. At my second round, we decided to go without the Neulasta to see if I did any better. My counts were really good! I felt so much better for the first week. Then I started with a fever and ended up in the hospital for 4 days due to being Neutropenic. So back to having the Neulasta for my 3 and 4 rounds. I finished chemo on August 22 and started radiation on September 23. I was determined to not miss any of Luke’s football games, which I succeeded at. I finished radiation on November 5 and have started on Tamoxifin. I feel so thankful that I was able to finish before the holidays. It was a very blessed time for us. My hair and nails have begun to grow back and my energy seems to be increasing. I do have Neuropathy in both my hands and feet, but am confident that this will also improve over time. I haven’t been able to have a follow-up mammogram yet due to the skin being too swollen. I will be starting PT to reduce the swelling to hopefully be able to have the mammogram in March. I am so lucky to have such a close, supportive family. They have truly stood by my side, lifted me up, and pushed me to keep moving. This has not been easy on the 3 males in my life. I will say that my sons have become extremely protective of me. I am hoping that we qualify for this vacation, not only for myself but for Jeff. He has stood by my sided ever since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He is my rock! He works so hard and it would be amazing for us to spend some time as a couple enjoying and laughing with each other.