Climbing on the Treadmill

Here’s what we know at this point, June 9, 2009.

The biopsy of the second area was negative (yeah!).

We met with the oncologist yesterday and talked about feasible treatments for the problem. We can do either a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Since it’s one lesion, I’m opting for lumpectomy.  In either case, they’ll check the lymph nodes.

The lump is “triple negative” meaning there are no hormone or HER-2 receptors to work with for treatment, which means drugs like tamoxifen, etc. won’t work for me.  The oncologist said that’s fairly typical of “younger” women. (I was so glad to still be called a young woman!)  The type of cancer I have is the most common form of breast cancer — invasive ductal carcinoma (as compared to lobular, DCIS, or inflammatory). Unfortunately, triple negative tumors tend to be more aggressive than those with receptors. So as follow-up to surgery, he’s suggested chemo and radiation. That’s also what the radiation oncologist suggested when we spoke with her this morning.  The only point to clarify is which comes first.  The regular oncologist is thinking radiation, the radiation oncologist is thinking chemo. Between the two treatments, chemo will be the more difficult. The radiation doesn’t sound that bad, except for the fact that it’s a daily treatment for a period of 6 weeks.  We’ll have to lay that plan after surgery.

I’m praying that the surgeon can get clean margins around the lump when he removes it and that the lymph nodes are clear.  (If you need something specific to pray for — that’s it!)

The surgery should be sometime Friday morning.  If all goes well, I should be back home by Friday evening. I’ve just climbed on a treadmill I never anticipated being on, and one that I’ll be on for awhile.  The good news is that both oncologists are anticipating a cure.

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