Cancer Journey: Update (3)

Pre-Mastectomy Updates:

Still have both my boobs and haven't had surgery yet. This unknown, waiting is seriously, THE. WORST. part of this whole journey. We got the results of the MRI and CT/bone scans back last week...

Negative for mastasis (the cancer hasn't spread beyond the left booby area), however, they did find a lymph node near my left arm pit that is "significantly enlarged". This could mean several things (especially considering I've been battling every cold virus known to man, that my 3 year old has been kind enough to bring home from school), but ultimately, it could mean that the cancer has spread to the nodes, which would be bad. So, naturally, I thought they would just schedule the surgery and we'd take that sucker out when we hack off the boob, right? Nope. I have to have yet another core needle biopsy this Friday to determine for sure if there is cancer in the lymph node(s). Why is this important? Because, if cancer is found in the nodes, then I will need neoadjuvant therapy. 

What is neoadjuvant therapy you ask? Good question, lesson time; most neoadjuvant treatments involve one or more chemotherapy medicines. Targeted therapy medicines, hormonal therapy, or radiation therapy also can be used as neoadjuvant treatments. Neoadjuvant therapy is not typically needed in early-stage breast cancers, but it is often necessary if the tumor is larger than 5cm and/or the cancer is aggressive and invasive. Since we already know my tumor IS larger than 5cm we're now going to determine how aggressive and invasive it is from the biopsy.  

Why hadn't we delved into this subject before? Well, because the doctors couldn't FEEL the enlarged lymph node, so they were thinking that we were just dealing with a large tumor (which is only one part of the equation when we're talking about pre-surgery chemotherapy). Since we had already determined that the size and location of my tumor meant that my breast was unlikely to be saved (via a lumpectomy procedure) we knew a mastectomy was in my future. Most of the time, a mastectomy would negate the need for chemo and radiation (IF all cancer and margins are removed). So, we weren't talking much about chemo and radiation. They did order the MRI and CT/bone scans though, just to be sure. And sure enough, suspicious lymph node activity. Damn. So that possibly changes things. 

We already had the mastectomy tentatively scheduled for January 31st, and it still is. But, that will change if the results of the biopsy show cancer present in the lymph node(s). If cancer is found in the node(s) I will likely need chemotherapy for 4-6 weeks (!!!!!) prior to the mastectomy. I'm kind of freaking out. I mean, I knew there was always a chance they would get in there during the surgery and see that the tumor was larger/deeper than they thought and/or that it had spread places. Which would mean chemo. But I was really hoping that a full mastectomy would be all that is needed to rid my body of the cancer.  I mean, that's why I'm even considering a bilateral mastectomy - I NEVER want to go through this again, just get them off me and the cancer out of me. I really didn't want chemo (can I have that pity party yet?).

So, basically, just keep the prayers and good vibes coming my way. I know we can't reverse what is already there, but I can still have hope that chemo is not part of my future. 

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