Well, there it is! My first pink hat!
I had a stamp class in the cave last night and one of the gals brought me a goodie package with all sorts of goodies in it, including this...my first pink ribbon hat! I loved everything else, but was thrilled with my hat! So, I just had to show it off! A huge thank you to Brenda McKain for my beautiful cap, which I will probably need sooner than I originally thought! And thanks for everything else! That was so sweet of you and really touched me!
So, that brings me to chemo. I met with the chemo doctor today....Dr. Venkatesh, Medical Oncologist at the Community South Hospital in Greenwood. This was my first time to meet him and I left really feeling good with him! He was very personable and encouraging and everyone told me he was really good! He took his time to talk with me and explain everything and had a great sense of humor that started coming out at the end of our visit. He made me feel very comfortable.
He wants me to do chemo first...BEFORE SURGERY! As I mentioned last night, I thought this could be a possibility, so I'm glad I had prepared myself for it so it didn't come as a complete shock. He told me my cancer was fast growing (I think I had already figured that out). I asked him if it could have just come on in the last six months, since I had a mammogram in August and he said yes. He said he's seen that happen before and especially with a fast growing cancer. So, I'm content now that they didn't "miss" something back in August. In reality, a fast growing cancer is not good news....but on the other hand it confirms that it hasn't been there for years and they have caught it early. Basically my percentage on my pathology report tells them that 36% of my cells are duplicating and growing at a fast rate. So, it could always be much worse than that. He said he's seen people come in with 99%! So, even though being fast growing is not good news, he was very encouraging and positive and told me it was treatable. As a matter of fact, he used that "other C" word....curable! Yes he did! :=) Honestly, I didn't expect that word to come out of any of the doctors' mouths, so it was music to my ears!
He explained the reasons for giving me chemo before the surgery. I can tell you now that when you have cancer in your body...you want it removed....NOW!!!!! So, I wasn't sure about this thing of waiting to remove it. But, he said by doing the chemo first, it will shrink the tumor (perhaps to a size that would allow for a lumpectomy instead of masectomy...not sure what I'll do about that, but at least this would help the option). He said the chemo will kill any cancer cells in my body, as well as the cancer cells in my diseased breast, while shrinking the tumor. He said he has seen some tumors shrink to a very small size and when they've removed them, the cancer was even gone because the cells were killed with the chemo! He furthermore said that treating with chemo first lets them see how the tumor reacts to the chemo and lets them know if the chemo is working. As he explained, if the tumor was removed before the chemo, they would have no way of really knowing how the cells responded to the chemo. So, leaving the tumor in gives them a way to gauge the success of the chemo and change the type and dosage if necessary. Makes sense, doesn't it? He did say neither way was wrong, but he would like to treat me this way. I did tell him the biggest worry I had about it was to think it was still in there for several months, but he reminded me that while it was in there, it would not be growing because the chemo would be killing and shrinking it. Oh yeah, I forgot that! After it was explained to me, I am very comfortable with it, so told him "let's get 'er done"! I did tell him I had just wasted money on my cute new haircut that I would have skipped if I realized I was doing chemo so soon...LOL....and his response was, "well, I'm about ready to give you a BIG haircut"! LOL...I loved his sense of humor and that he realized he could joke with me. I told him I bet his haircut was going to be much more expensive than the $15 I spent on this one! :=) Then he asked me what I sold (he asked what my job was earlier) and I pointed to my Thirty One bag on the floor and said, "I sell those bags!" and he said, "Well, we have lots of ladies in this office who would love that" and about that time one of the nurses walked in and he turned to her and pointed at my bag and said, "Hey, she sells these bags...you all need to buy one!" and she took one look at it and said, "That's Thirty One"! LOL...I loved it! I handed out several business cards to the office girls!
Ok, I got off track, didn't I? Ok, so he wants to begin chemo asap....like next Monday!!!! But, before he can do that, my surgeon needs to go in to remove the sentinal node to check to see if the cancer has made it into my lymph nodes. She had already told me she'd be removing two nodes. So, I will need to have the surgery to remove these nodes and to put in a port and then I'm ready for the chemo. He has put in a call to her to see if they can get me done before Monday. If they can, then I'll start my chemo on Monday. If not, then it will probably be later in the week. Either way, I look to start my chemo next week. I will have it every 3 weeks, for 3-6 months. We are still waiting for the Her2 test that may determine the longer period of chemo, plus having to have the other drug, Herceptin, for a year. I'm so ready to get this show started! As soon as I have my first chemo treatment I'll feel like we're doing something to get rid of this cancer. For now I just have thoughts of it in there growing, growing, growing! I do feel, though, that they are moving things along fast considering I was just diagnosed last week.
OK, the MRI....this is more bad news, but not necessarily devastating. It did not come back "clean". I think I was more worried about this test than any others! No matter how postive I feel on the outside, I think my body was responding to the stress of it all last night. I was extremely tired and jittery and felt a huge heaviness in my chest and just coudn't concentrate. I honestly think it was just nerves and anxiety over the MRI test. I had those darn visions that like to creep in......visions of the MRI showing more cancer than they suspected. Well, I got those results this morning and while it did show a couple of more spots, it's better knowing this than imagining things much worse. No matter how positive a person is, these thoughts still creep in. Anyway, the MRI showed another very small tumor right below this one and they honestly don't seem too concerned with it. So, other than that, the cancer in that breast is what they suspected, which gives me some relief. But, it also showed a very tiny spot on my other breast and that seemed to raise more concern. So, now I have to go back to the doctor on Friday morning to let them ultrasound this spot and see if they feel it needs to be biopsied. So, here we go again! It may be nothing...but could be cancer too....so we need to know! I'm not stressing out about it. I feel I'm in good hands and if it's cancer, we'll deal with it. I hate the "unknown" and even though it wasn't the "clean" report I wanted, I can deal with it better than the anxiety of wondering what they'll find. And whatever it is, it's tiny....too tiny to show up on a mammogram.
So, today I had a chest x-ray and then Friday I will be getting that ultrasound and an echocardiogram and visit with the Radiation doctor. Larry is off work, so he'll get to go with me this time. Tomorrow looks like a "free day" at this point, but if they call me to get the sentinal nodes removed and the port put in...I'm soooo there! I'm ready to roll!
Until next time.......WINNING!!!!!!!!!