Here is the explanation and the plan from Dr.K and the most important part of my story. Are you paying attention? This is VERY important. The mammogram did NOT detect my cancer. We know it is there, I can feel it and it has been biopsied. It is there. But even after very close examination of my breast area where the biopsy was performed, they cannot see the cancer. The spot has been marked by a metal "clip" the size of a grain of pepper, and when Dr. K blew up the picture the clip was about a 1/2" in size.........and still no sign of the cancer. So trust in mammograms, but verify with your own monthly self exam!
Here is all the good news that has come behind the one ugly word.
Size is small
Type of cancer is estrogen fed which translates to SLOW growing.
I got the guy!
Right now I am traveling this cancer trip on the interstate. We all know there are many on and off ramps, but the quickest way to your destination is a direct trip. Here is my direct road map. Many things may change, but as I discussed with Dr. K, I can compartmentalize things very well, let's handle one thing at a time. He agreed, stating that there will be many "hurry up and wait" issues, ie having the biopsy, and these situations will give me plenty of worry. So let's focus on what we know and what can be dealt with in the immediate. No point in borrowing worries from the future, they probably won't happen anyways.
Step 1: MRI
Booked already for tomorrow, Thur May 7,2009
20% of MRI's come back with issues showing up on them and I might be one of the lucky ones. This is being done to ensure that there are no other spots of cancer in either breast. Since we can't see this spot, are there other relatives out there hiding in the hills? Just a precaution, we are not expecting to find any. There is some lag time from this appointment to the surgery appointment to give everyone time to do any further testing ie another biopsy. So we hurried up and got this appointment, and I'll wait through the weekend for some results.
Step 2: Book Surgery
During the surgery there is a 15 minute test performed on the Sentinal Node, this is the gatekeeper to your lymphatic system. This test is 85% accurate. If negative, they sew me up and send me to recovery. If it tests positive for cancer cells, Dr. K will continue with removing the lymph nodes and then send me to recovery. This will change my trip, I just don't know how. Then comes the wait game. The same node is then sent off to pathology for a test that is 100% accurate and it takes 2 days for those results to come back. If negative, I wait one month. If the results are positive, then I will get out the map and we will look for an exit off the Interstate and see what town that takes us to. Until then, that is not an issue for me.
Step 3: Take a month of no worries, but have a CT Scan done. This will ensure that there are no other cancers in my system, ie: bone, lungs, or organs. Again, not expecting to find anything, this is just a precaution to rule out things.
Step 4: I start Radiation treatment, 15 min a day, 5 days a week, for 7 weeks, and then start a drug therapy for 5 years and "ain't life grand!"
This will take me to the end of the summer. I have a trip planned for mid September and Dr. K has told me to keep my plans and look forward to the time away.
I feel really good, no different that I did 4 weeks ago. I am back to sleeping pretty good, I don't get my usual 8 straight, I'm waking up once or twice, but I just don't look at the clock and I roll over and go back to sleep. Annie and Molly keep good company for me and I have a great support system of friends, family and co workers. Who could ask for more.
So through this journey, THINK PINK! I just opened up my new spring/summer lipstick. I had purchased it last fall, it was sitting in my cabinet, just waiting for the right time to be opened up. It's a nice bright pink, MAC Chatterbox. Could it be any more perfect for me!
So let me close with a few photos. There is pink everywhere and it is beautiful!
That's all for now! Thanks for following along, knowing that you are reading along my journey is a fantastic support for me! Thanks