Horrible day of waiting today…..
But leading up to today I have had a wonderful weekend with a dear school friend – Fi, who came to visit from Germany. On Sunday, a surprise visit from my mum, Darren (bro) and Josh (nephew) – bringing gifts of flowers and food – better than the 3 wise men! Monday, I pottered and had lunch with my lovely friend Jane M and kitten cuddles! Tuesday I had nails of happiness done by my lovely friend Hannah! Pretty nails really do help. I also had a surprise package arrive which had a beautiful new sparkly heart charm from my darling Phil. My charm bracelet of love to represent this year is looking good! Today I have busied myself by having a cup of tea with another lovely friend, Bev – great to chat about medical stuff too! Lunch with Phil and then off to hospital for the dreaded results of the killer boob dissection! I am such a lucky girl!
So at hospital, big delays so had to wait even longer. The wait is the worst. But I was ok. I had prepared myself that it may not be great. I was confident with the boob as Dr Chakravorty had reassured me, but it has always been the lymph and the grade 3 super spready thing!
So today my breast nurse Morven was back and we got to see Dr Chandra – he’s another surgeon that works alongside Dr Chakravorty. We met him briefly the other day so we knew he was nice. He was laid back and took the time to sit and explain everything.
So results from pathology are there was no residual tumour in the breast – this means the chemo worked amazingly and has killed the cancer in the killer boob! Unfortunately 5 out of the 16 lymph nodes contained cancer – HER2+. Good news is Dr Chandra said they were the middle 5! I think this is great as they were surrounded by the non infected 11! Well that’s the way I’m trying to think of it. The worse way of looking at it is that there could have been all 16 infected and the chemo blasted some away and left 5 – but I’m not focusing on this option because I don’t like that option! Another good thing is this cancer is the type that the Herceptin drug will target = good! The Herceptin is marketed as a wonder drug and should stop the cancer in it’s tracts. It doesn’t cure but it does stop and slow down the growth. The strange thing is that the chemo worked so brilliantly on both cancers in the breast, I thought it would have attacked the lymph nodes first as that is he bodies defence system – in fact it was in more nodes that I expected! I don’t really get this – does this mean it had mutated and had a stronger resistance???? Who knows. I don’t think anyone knows really – or maybe they do but think it’s best I don’t know?? Anyhow, I’m glad the wonderful Dr Chakravorty chopped it out!
Basically Dr Chandra explained that it would be a wonderful world if everyone could be treated as completely individual cases but unfortunately it costs far too much for this at the moment but in years to come it will happen and everything will be more personalised. So the best option is that we are put into groups. I am in a middle group – the group where there is a chance the cancer may come back – not as big a risk as some (the 16 node affected people), but more than others (the zero node affected people)! Simples! Says the Meercat!
So plan is to give me a few more weeks to recover from surgery. Then start on Herceptin (for 1 year every 3 weeks), Radiotheraphy (probably for 3 weeks – every day Mon-Fri), and Tamoxifen (probably for 5 years). All with various side effects! Joy, but hopefully no way as bad as the chemo! But I will be closely monitored and at least I’m going to be blasted to stop the cancer returning. I asked Dr Chandra what my chances were and whether he thought I would be likely to ‘kick it’ any time soon and he says he reckons I’ve got a good 25 years in me yet! Fab as I have a lot I want to do!
So on the whole it’s good news as the cancer is the priority and they are doing everything to keep it away. Bad news as there was obviously more cancer than we originally thought, big risk to the new boob with the radiotherapy, delay to recovery and treatment will probably be all through the summer. Plus it means I probably won’t be able to get back to work as soon as I wanted and we’re really skint! Really good news is that I’m still here and fighting this evil cancer! Let’s focus on all the good!
He also gave me a quick check over. I am still in a lot of pain and my whole right upper chest and arm feels like it’s badly sunburnt – it is much worse of a night time which means not a good nights sleep for me! The wound is healing well and the new boobie looks good. Bit swollen and tight (feels like breastfeeding all over again!) but ok. He explained where they had attached the biomesh and moved muscle around – this helped me understand why I was getting so much pain in certain areas. He again reminded me I had had major surgery and it had only been 2 weeks! I am an impatient soul!
My arm is still very tight and painful and I have some cording of the ligaments so Morven is going to arrange for me to be referred for physio to help this – they may give me extra exercises to do. I have been religiously doing my exercises and we discussed today about massaging to help which I will do to. I am sure that in time it will improve – I hope so as I’m right handed!
So feel a bit fed up today as it’s difficult to see an end to all this. But one step at a time! Also I’m really tired, hurt a lot all the time (my head and legs are ok though so i can talk and walk!) It also means the treatment will probably fall smack bang in the middle of the children’s summer holidays. But we’ll still try and have some fun days out around the hospital visits – just feel bad for them as they have been so brilliant. May see if the school lets us take them out for a week when I am better as we are so going to need a holiday as a family – may even get to go to Spain for some sun, sea and sand and a rest! Italy will have to wait until I am fitter.
So that’s the update from today. Next Tuesday we are back with the lovely Dr Vivienne Loo for the oncology plan of treatment! Until then……. keep smiling!