Today’s appointment went great. I was glad Lenny was able to come with me today. I had no idea what to expect as this doctor was a general surgeon and it seemed to me I would need to get more answers before meeting with a surgeon but of course I go the route I was told.
Before I met with the doctor, the nurse who brought me back was comforting and explained she was a breast cancer survivor now cancer-free of 4 years. She stated the doctor I was about to see is highly recommended and extremely knowledgable about breast cancer. If she had known this doctor when she had cancer she would have used her “hands down”. The patient navigator through Lutheran also highly recommended her. I was looking forward to meeting her. I also have had a good friend recommend a general surgeon who I was going to see if I did not feel comfortable with this doctor.
She first asked me to tell the story of what I have experienced so far. After I spoke, she went into a full explanation going over all the results of my biopsy. She first explained the name of my cancer, where the cancer started and the different types of grades. (I spoke of these things in my entry from March 28th, these parts are the only things I knew before today). She then explained my estrogen and progesterone along with Ki-67, and Her2/neu results. These are two hormones along with two characteristics of the cells that can be present within cancer cells. These results help to identify at the clinical stage (where I am now) which therapy may achieve the best result. She informed me that my estrogen receptor and progesterone receptor are positive which indicates that hormonal therapy will probably be part of my therapy. Hormone therapy is a one-a-day oral pill that will more than likely cause my body to go into early menopause. All I know about menopause is hot flashes. That will be something that I will research as well.
However, she wants to get all the answers before we decide on a treatment plan since the gene testing and the results of further testing play a huge role. I will be set up with a medical oncologist and after meeting with her I feel confident the specialists she recommends I will go with. She also would like me to meet with a radiation oncologist, and its up to me to also meet with a plastic surgeon (again depends on what route is taken.) Next on my agenda, I will be scheduled for a mammogram, MRI, a chest x-ray, some more blood work and a liver function panel. I am to stop breast feeding as soon as possible ideally within one week. Charlie is not going to like this. What’s great news is she is going to get all these tests scheduled in one day. Sounds like a fun day spent. At least I don’t have to study for these tests right?
There are three types of surgeries she explained which are the single and double mastectomies and a lumpectomy. With any of these surgeries I will be having a sentinel node biopsy which they will remove lymph nodes to see if there is any sign of cancer in them. Through examination by a doctors hand my lymph nodes are not inflamed which is a good sign.
Depending on the type of surgery she sees a possibility of 7 weeks of radiation 5x a week. There is also a possibility of chemo followed by radiation. She does believe either treatment will include the addition of the hormone therapy as my hormone levels would respond well. Again, is still unclear until I have the further testing completed and even the pathology report from surgery. She did explain being diagnosed at a young age will be a factor in treatment. She said having a 60 year old diagnosed with my same circumstances would results in a different treatment due to age.
She was very informative and took her time. We were in the room with her for over an hour discussing everything and she took her time to answer all my questions. I didn’t feel like I was just another patient to her, I felt like she truly cared for my health. She recommended the book, “Breast Book” sixth edition by Susan Love. She said starting with this book, is like the bible of breast cancer. Being the most informed of what it all entails is important. Knowing me I love to research just about everything I take interest in or plays a role in our lives. I hope to pick up a copy tomorrow.
I did ask if it would be ok to take one week off before starting the tests and the next steps. She thought it was a good idea to enjoy spring break with the kids before life becomes crazy. I am looking forward to taking the kids and flying with Lenny back to AZ for the week. We are hoping things get arranged fairly quickly so he can work from CO.
While we were at the appointment Miss Charlie went to her first babysitting experience. A great friend from my bible study watched her and along with her two children. Anyone who knows Charlie knows she doesn’t go very easy to anyone. We have been trying for some time and she will stay strong and cry. I felt so thankful to hear Charlie didn’t cry at all and we were even gone longer than expected. I feel this was a huge milestone and hope this continues as she will need to start being watched more by others.
I again want to thank everyone who is reading this and tell you I so greatly appreciate your support. All the messages and even phone calls has showed me what an amazing support team I have. I am still working on getting back to each and everyone who has reached out to me, so please know if I haven’t contacted you yet I am working on it. Thank you all so very much!