After talking with my surgeon and oncologist, I've decided to have a mastectomy. Just the left side, where the cancer is. Both recommended I delay any reconstruction until after chemo. Then I can decide what I want to do. That sounded good to me, because right now I just want to focus on getting rid of this cancer. Having to make reconstruction decisions would have been just too overwhelming right now.
The cancer at the margins of the tissue removed during the lumpectomy is DCIS. The surgeon feels we got all the invasive cancer. But apparently there is more DCIS (non-invasive cancer) than we knew about, and that can eventually become invasive.
I might still have to do radiation. I will have to meet with my radiation doc to discuss that. Studies have shown that if the cancer has spread to 1 lymph node there is no added benefit from radiation. If its in 4 lymph nodes, radiation is necessary. 2-3 lymph nodes is a gray area. But the cancer broke through one of my lymph nodes, which might make radiation more desirable.
The plan is: (I think I went through this all a few days ago, so skip this part if you want) Surgery on Monday, May 24th. 1 or 2 nights in the hospital. And yes I have to have another drain! My surgeon told me just because the first one hurt so bad, doesn't mean the next one will. His nurse said the armpit drains usually hurt the most. I'm just going to try not to think about it!
About 2 -3 weeks after surgery I will see my oncologist and start chemo. Andriamycin and cytoxan every 2 weeks for 4 cycles, so 2 months total. The day after chemo I will get a Neulasta shot. These are like the Neupogen shots I had to do last time, but Neulasta lasts longer. This chemo cocktail is even harder on the bone marrow than my last regimen (FOLFOX), so they don't wait until the white blood cell counts drop, they do the shots right away. One of these drugs is the one will make me lose my hair, and it happens pretty fast.
After 2 months of that I will start another chemo drug, Taxol, and Herceptin. I will first have another MUGA (heart) scan. I will get these 2 drugs weekly for 12 weeks (3months), then stop the Taxol and continue on the Herceptin every 3 weeks for 9 more months, so I will be on Herceptin for a year total. All the drugs I will get through infusion. The Taxol sometimes causes neuropathy, so we'll have to see if my neuropathy that I have from my last treatment starts to go away before that. There is a way the onc. can modify how I get the Taxol that lessens the side effects. This chemo cocktail is called AC+T (I think!).
When I'm finished with Taxol, and while still on Herceptin, I will start the radiation, if needed. That would be daily, Mon-Fri, for 5 to 7 weeks.
K, have I lost you yet? I just wanted to lay it all out there, the way the docs have explained it to me the last 2 days.
The reason I have to have the heart scans is because both the Andriamycin and Herceptin can cause heart problems. The problem usually goes away after stopping the medicine. A bit scary, especially given my family history of heart trouble, but I'll just have to trust God that He will be watching over me!
Oh! I almost forgot...I DO NOT have the breast cancer gene. That is good news. I can beat this and it may NEVER return!
I've been hearing "Do not be afraid" and "Trust Me" a lot lately. Also, I wrote in my notebook the other day "THERE IS A REASON", and I feel that was from God too.
I'm a little, um, freaked out maybe? that I have made the decision to have the mastectomy and put it on the calendar. Other than that, I'm really doing well. Really, I am! Just because I know God is with me, and His will is being done in my life, doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy surgery, or losing my hair. But He is giving me peace, and I know this is what I have to do. So its all good. :)