Midlife necessities

Midlife necessities
Midlife necessities

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Post-op Appointment, or I Still Only Know What I Know

I'll be like my surgeon and jump right in. I'm part of the lucky 15% whose cancer doesn't show up on a mammogram for five years. No lump either. The good news is that my surgeon feels he got all the cancer in the breast. The margins around the tumor were clear, so good call on the lumpectomy rather than masectomy. The concern isn't so much the cancer in the breast as the cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes. Yep, nodes plural. The bad news is that we knew there was cancer in one lymph node but he didn't think there was any in the second one. Well, there was 1.0 cm in the first and .4 mm in the second, not much but any at all isn't good. With these findings they used to remove all the lymph nodes (bad news), but studies have now shown there's no need if radiation is done under the arm (good news). 

So what's next? Will need three different scans - CT, bone and MUGA. I love that word, MUGA scan. That one is for a heart baseline because the chemo may affect the heart. And the other two scans are to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else in my body. I know the big question everyone has is what stage am I? Currently Stage 3, which I already knew from my research. Anytime the cancer spreads beyond its original location and is larger than 2 cm it becomes a Stage 3. And it's just a number, it doesn't necessarily mean it's any more or less tragic than any other stage. If there's any cancer anywhere else it automatically becomes a Stage 4. The surgeon feels it's unlikely that it has spread, but we won't know for sure until we get the scan results. After these tests I will meet with my new radiation and chemotherapy oncologists who will suggest my individualized treatment. Special treatment just for me!! Back to the surgeon in one month to check on the breast healing, and to see if I need any further surgery before beginning treatment. My doc feels I'll likely have a combo therapy called ACT for a whole year, with the first six months being harder than the second (less drugs in the combo the second six months). Wouldn't you know that hair loss is a side effect of all three drugs... May have radiation after chemo is finished or concurrently. 

The surgeon apologized for giving me bad news every time he sees me. Also for being unable to give me any more answers. But he did tell me to go back to doing whatever I was doing before. Alcohol didn't cause my cancer and it's not gonna hurt now haha. But seriously as my friend Darlene (a cancer survivor herself) says, the sun will continue coming up every morning and I will eat and sleep and live everyday regardless of the cancer which, again from my friend Darlene, sucks. And I know logically that it does suck, even though I still haven't cried and I don't feel devastated. Well I still don't feel much of anything except if something's funny. Since my sense of humor isn't affected I'll focus on laughter and love and the fact that no matter what I'm going through, life is good.

In today's devotional, which I read before leaving for Kaiser, Jesus said, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. My last recorded promise to My followers was: 'Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.' Let these assurances of My continual Presence fill you with Joy and Peace." (Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

For more info on lymph nodes and cancer, go here lymph nodes and cancer.

No comments:

Post a Comment