Friday, July 14, 2017

Now what...?

Ok, the shock of cancer news is out there. That was the hardest part for me to conjure up (how do you say this right?). So many wonderfully supportive comments and love in response (over 100 on FB and even more texts and messages!)... thank you so much.

I read in The Breast Book (recommended to me by my Cousin Tracy--thank you!) that drs like some time to pass between giving you the news of your cancer diagnosis and talking about treatment. I totally get this philosophy as I've really only known this for 3 weeks, but it feels like so much longer. .. I am over the shock (though am I really ever going to be?) and ready to take it on.

Based on many, many recommendations and our own research (as well as our gut feelings), we had my local family dr refer me to Stanford Women's Cancer Center. The soonest we could get our appointments with both the oncologist and the surgeon was 2 weeks from the time we called, which was this past Monday, July 10. It felt so crippling waiting for these appointments, knowing and feeling this cancer growing inside of me (yes, I can feel it) and just waiting. But, finally, now we have a plan...

Dr. Massarhew and Dr. Wheeler will be directing my care at Stanford. The biospy 'markers' are that the tumor is around 5 cm (but growing), it is hormone receptor positive for both estrogen and progesterone, HER2 negative, and the proliferation (cell division) rate is 35% (0-5 is slow, above 20 considered fast, but surgeon says she sees 80-90% growth rates regularly, so she said 35% is fairly moderate). Upon physical exam on Monday, both drs found that lymph nodes are involved, which gave a Stage 3 diagnosis. But more concerning is that it is inflammatory... makes it aggressive and in the skin of my breast, which will most likely require a mastectomy (rather than the preferred lumpectomy) as soon as we stop the growth and spread with what they call neo-adjuvant therapy (chemo before surgery). Had a bunch of scans (CAT, bone and echo, with a MRI scheduled for Tues) to be sure of no metastasis, and those seemed to have come back clear (praise the Lord!). So, I start chemo on Tuesday, July 18. Initially, they will give me 4-5 rounds of a treatment they call AC, each 21 days apart. After we see how I do on the chemo, we'll explore surgery to remove the mass or what else might work best.

I've also been talking with a number of folks (who I appreciate their time and care!) about ways to fight this at home as well--with clean eating food, other natural remedies and a lot of positive thoughts!!! We are going to do everything we can to fight this!

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