Thursday, August 15, 2013

More Good News!

What 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 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 implanted

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 surgery.

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 we all?

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