Yesterday I met with three of my doctors to talk about my treatment plan. It was unnerving to say the least. Lots of positive, some negatives, and a plan to attack this demon head on.
First I met with my breast surgeon. My cancer is hormone positive which is a good thing. In basic terms, it means that the cancer cells are feeding off estrogen. After all is said and done, I will be on hormone therapy for five years. We talked about staging and she told me preliminarily mine was stage 2, but without surgery and further testing they could not give the exact staging. Since I'm young, the cancer is considered more "aggressive". Not the worst case scenario, but not the best either. I'm intermediate. Ok, not good, but not bad. I'll live with that.
The original thought was I would have surgery first, then radiation, then Chemo. However, once the surgeon examined my breast she was bit more concerned. My breast was inflamed and red. She said that made her believe the cancer was more "angry". It didn't change the treatability and survival rates, it just changes the course of treatment. Between that and position of the tumor, she felt it would be "cleaner" if we went ahead and started with Chemo first, then surgery.
I met next with the medical oncologist. We talked about chemotherapy and she agreed with the surgeon that chemo would be appropriate first. 4 treatments, 3 weeks apart. Port placement will happen next week and my first infusion will be shortly afterwards. She said I will lose my hair and we talked about other side effects - nausea, fatigue, risk of infection. She said I could continue to work as long as I felt ok. I told her that I felt I needed some level of "normalcy" for my own mental well being. She said that most people feel worst the day or two after infusion. So we talked about doing infusions on Friday so I would have the weekend to adjust and hopefully feel better by the beginning of the week. She told me 8 out of 10 women continue to work during chemo, it all depends on my body's reaction to the drugs.
Finally I met the radiologist. He said I won't see him again until months down the line, but he reiterated what the others had said. It's curable and I will be ok.
When I got home I told my kids the treatment plan. We talked about how we will need to become germophobes and that they will have to pitch in more. The holidays are going to suck around here, but as a family we will get through it.
So last night I sat down and cried. I'm scared. I'm determined to beat it, but I'm still scared. Deep breath. I got this!
Early and treatable…early and treatable.
I know you must be terrified and even though we stay positive my heart still breaks for you. I know with your sense of humor, strength in general and being a mamma you will beat the crap out of this. No one truly knows how you are feeling at this time, unless they have faced this demon called cancer themselves. I do not know how you feel about support groups and even though you have an enormous support team who love you,sometimes talking to some one who truly knows what you're feeling is a good thing. I am always here for you, I do not know how you feel, but I was a guest inside the "cancer bubble" for 7 years. I love your attitude....Kick ass darling!
You can do this! "Early and treatable" are the best news you could get. I know it is hard--believe me, I know--my husband has his 4-year post-cancer-surgery checkup next week. So my heart hurts for you and your family, and I will be here praying for you and your loved ones.
Peggy - It is like being hit by a train! Also sucks big time. Yes there will be tears and being frightened will ebb and flow for a while. You have started on a very personal journey, be patient with your feelings. You now have a plan and this helps to be actively doing something. Call me anytime to talk, cry, rant or whatever. Twenty-two years ago I had chemo and a mastectomy. Stronger for it. Now again it asks me to trust in life again. More surgery as it hits me again and here I go asking more out of life and I trust that it will be given. It takes time - day by day - a friend who cares - Barbara
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