My Journey to Being Cancer Free, One Day at a Time,
by Ann Damron
Thursday, August 15, 2013
More Good News!
a beautiful day, in every sense of the word.
Today was my follow up appointment with my surgeon, Dr. A.J. He was, of course, going to check the
incisions and then review the pathology report.
Six days ago, he removed the cancerous lump and lymph node, as well as 3
additional lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread. Although I had had a PET scan a few weeks prior,
and cancer was present in two locations, it’s possible that small cells in
additional nodes wouldn’t have shown up
in that report. This new pathology report
would determine whether I would need radiation….or not. Needless to say, I was praying for “not”. Of course I wanted to avoid all of the
possible side effects of daily radiation, i.e. shrinkage of tissue, even more
fatigue, lymphedema, heart problems (more common if left side of chest is
radiated), rib fractures, radiation pneumonitis, brachial
plexopathy, and worst of all…the possibility of more radiation causing a SECOND
cancer! Adding to my anxiety was the
idea that I would have to wait a year after radiation to schedule reconstructive
surgery. I just want to put this
nightmare behind me...as quickly as possible!
Dr. A.J. removed the bandages and,
despite the deep purple eggplant color of my entire breast and underarm, was
quite pleased with his work and my progress.
I can’t imagine what a breast would have to look like to concern him. He said the swelling and discoloration would
get better each day and not to worry.
Then he pulled the pathology report from my file. He said that he removed quite a bit of tissue
during the surgery. The margins were
clear, meaning there was no cancer in the tissue surrounding the tumors. Of the four lymph nodes removed, two of them
were cancerous. My heart sank. Oh my
God. There’s another one that didn’t show on the PET scan. Dr. A.J. said that with chemo and a bi-lateral
mastectomy, radiation wouldn’t be necessary.
Thank you, God! So now…here’s an
idea of our timeline:
8/26 Chemo port surgically
8/29 First chemo session
(provided that incisions have healed).
Have 8 sessions every other week for 16 weeks. Last infusion should be
12/19. Wait three or four weeks then
have a bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery (at the same time). Dr. A.J. removes the port during that
It’s amazing the difference a day can make. I looked back at yesterday’s post this
morning and realized that me posting a blog on Lortabs is the equivalent of
drunk dialing. After seriously considering packing up the
keyboard until I climb out of my vat of self-pity, I realized that it would
defeat the purpose of this blog: to
express myself and possibly help others who might be experiencing a similar
health crisis. To edit myself would be a
great disservice to us all. So, sometimes,
I won’t be inspiring…or funny. I’m just
going to be sad. But, at times, aren’t