Friday, March 17, 2006

You win some...

You know the rest.

I had my follow up appointment with my surgeon yesterday. I also got my pathology report. Unfortunately it did not tell me what I really wanted to know- what color is cancer, anyway? I did, however, get all the information I was waiting to know for the last month. As with anything, it was a mixed bag. And as with anything involving this damn breast cancer, with new answers come a whole lot of new questions. And decisions. I hate these decisions.

For those of you who may be lost in the next paragraph, I suggest a refresher in breast cancer terms.

The most important thing is that the margins around my tumor (the sections of tissue they took out around the cancer) were clear. That means the surgeon, in theory at least, got it all out. The downside... well, Maria happened to be twice as big as they thought. 3.5 cm to be exact. See, mammograms and ultrasounds are only 2 dimensional. Maria apparently had some junk her in trunk and had some extra on the back end. She is latina, after all. (My tumor is just like J-Lo). So that sucks. Another shitty thing- my lymph nodes. They took out 6. Everyone has a different amount of these suckers- I have a bunch. They took out the first level of nodes in my surgery. That's why I had the radioactive mapping- to find them. While I was on the tiny table, a pathologist tested them and they were all negative. I was told that a very small amount (like 10-15%) of the time, they will find a positive node when they are actually tested into he lab after surgery. Guess what? I'm special. I did have one tiny bit o' cancer in one lymph node.

There's a problem with this. See, standard of care means that I should go back for another surgery to have all my lymph nodes taken out on my left side as a precaution. My surgeon doesn't know if it's necessary, seeing as I'll have chemo anyway. I'm meeting with an oncologist on Tuesday to discuss my chemo and whether or not we should go back in and get them. Let me tell you, not looking forward to another surgery- this one involving an overnight stay and some sort of drainage device under my arm, but if I have to, I have to. Shit happens.

The hardest part about this. I went from, "Oh, stage 1, good they caught it so early." to "Just kidding, you are Stage 2B." The fact that all of the sudden the cancer is in fact worse than we thought in terms of size and spread blows. In terms of treatment, nothing changes. It's probably more of a mental thing than anything else. The best part is that the margins were clear and they did get it all out of my breast. Then again, it had started to spread.

In the meantime, I'm hanging out, back to work. I've still got some pain and I'm a little more tired than usual, but hey- it just gives me an excuse to take a nap. And my boob is still blue from the dye they injected. That's good fun.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

2A is cancer with no symptoms and 2B is with symptoms, right? I was 3B because of anemia, weight loss, etc., etc., etc. Are you 2B because of the lump? So the lump was the symptom?