I’ll be frank. Yesterday was a rough day.
It is rather surreal to walk into a place and know that every patient there had some sort of cancer. I knew it was a big building. I wasn’t prepared for how many people would be there. It was a hoppin’ place.
We arrived a bit early, checked in and sat by the windows. The 3rd floor of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is the Women’s Health Center. The waiting room has floor to ceiling windows that overlook Elliot Bay. I love to watch the boats go to and fro.
I knew the appointment would be long. It was scheduled from 12-5 with a 1 hour break from 1-2. I met with a medical assistant, a nurse advocate, physical therapists, a survivor volunteer and the whole medical team. It was quite the production.
The short version is… there are still many unknowns. I walked in wanting a clear cut plan. I wanted to know what was going to happen.
I have a general idea of what could possibly happen.
Answers… No. A direction… Yes.
The basics are that most indicators point to good things. The tumors (there are 2) are ER+. One is ER+ and PR-. Both are Her2 negative. Both are Ki-67 positive. The initial ultrasound and (many) physical exams show the lymph nodes are not affected. However, the tumors are a grade 3; add that to the Ki-67 positive and you have a bit quicker moving cancer. The doctors won’t know more until they run a few more tests and ultimately get in there and look at the lymph nodes.
First I have to have an MRI. This will give them a better picture of what this thing looks like and maybe if there is lymph node involvement. Second, I have to go for genetic testing. Since I’m an adoptee I dont know my family history. I need the genetic testing to see if I’m a carrier of the BRCA genes or other genetic indicators that lead to breast cancer. Third I meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss options for reconstruction.
Once I have all of that done, I can go forward with scheduling my actual cancer surgery. This is where my headache started to set in yesterday.
I was hoping for lumpectomy. I like this doctor. She was frank. She didn’t sugar coat it. I need a mastectomy. At the moment it’s only a single. Depending on genetic testing it might become a double. That would be my choice.
Radiation is up in the air. It depends on exactly how big the tumor(s) is as well as lymph node involvement.
Chemo is also up in the air. They’ll send a sample out for testing and make a decision after that.
For now, I know surgery and long term hormone therapy.
As to how I am feeling. I’d like to adopt my friend Kate’s motto of #nobaddays. I’ll be honest. I can’t. I’m 40. I am a wife and a mom. I have a career. I have all of these things I’m dealing with and the thought of 4-8 weeks of recovery following a surgery that I can’t schedule for probably another 4 weeks, plus potential additional treatment has me very very tired.
I can only communicate information to so many people at once before I become completely exhausted. I am going to use this website to be my main source of keeping you informed of what is happening.
Thank you to everyone for their love and support. This is just the beginning. We’ve a long road ahead of us.