It has been two weeks since my lumpectomy. I met with both the surgeon and my oncologist this past week. The surgery turned out to be more extensive than originally planned. Due to my ample supply of tissue, 🙂 the tumor/s in the breast were easily removed. The dye that was injected prior to surgery to outline the cancerous lymph nodes did not work properly so the surgeon removed all 14 lymph nodes from under my arm. Because of this, a drain needed to be put in and I had to spend the night in the hospital. I still have the drain. It will remain in until I expel less than 30 cc’s of fluid over a 24 hour period. I am getting close. It is a good thing she removed them all because 6 of the 14 had evidence of cancer. She is confident she got all cancer out and left good clear margins. I left her office feeling pretty good.
Then a couple of days later we went to followup with my oncologist. He said he usually waits until patients are midway through radiation before meeting with them to discuss the next steps but he had something important to discuss with me. He learned a lot from my pathology report. He went on to explain that while Invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), is the most common kind of breast cancer, my personal form of this cancer is very “aggressive” and did not respond well to the second type of chemo. The tumors shrank the most during the 1st regimen of chemo, the 1st 8 weeks, but that progress basically ground to a halt when we switched over to the different drug (Taxol) week 9. He said this also puts me at a high risk for recurrence. Because of that, he would like to try to get me into an upcoming clinical trial. He kept stating that I was “young” 😆 and with my other physical limitations, he thought I would be a great candidate. It would mean taking an additional pill when I start the maintenance pills after radiation for the first 2 years. It could be the actual medication or a placebo as it is a blind study. He needed my permission to proceed when he meets with a committee at the end of the month. I told him I was on board, how could I not be? I also kept a brave face throughout our meeting but later that evening I started to freak out a bit.
I have tried to stay positive throughout this process but I sure don’t want to go through this again. I started second-guessing myself, should I have had a total mastectomy of that breast? Why didn’t the scans show more? I know that had a heck of a time getting images of the lymph nodes. COVID 19 was a blessing and a curse. Because of it, my treatment was started quickly because so many other procedures were put on hold, but it also meant I was in most of the doctor meetings alone and maybe I missed something. The doctors I had were highly recommended and I trusted them and still do. I know they have my best interests at heart as do all the others on my team, from the patient advocates, the nurses, and everyone else involved in my care.
Now I wait to start radiation next month and wait to see if I am accepted into the clinical trial. I also put myself in God’s hands and hope I will be able to put cancer behind me once and for all.