Turning Back Time

The day that my reality changed entirely. I wrote about it the day of. When I was talking to a newly diagnosed momma – welcome to the club? – I thought that seeing what this first day looked like might be helpful. So… Here it is:

December 23, 2019

Today was a whirlwind. I am so grateful that Rob has been such an amazing support, and I have wonderful family and friends that will make this whole thing possible. This morning was Cancer Center appointments- meeting with pharmacy, blood work, and meeting my oncologist. Dr M was absolutely fantastic as was every person I spoke with today. She went through the game plan: 2 phases of chemo – first phase 4 cycles over 8 weeks (with injections to boost my white count), and second phase of 12 cycles weekly. We’re hoping I don’t develop neuropathy as that would potentially shorten my treatment cycle. Followed by surgical consult with Dr M (surgeon – using initials may prove to be difficult moving forward…) This may be followed by radiation depending on the overall results and response to treatment.

I confirmed with the team that I will not be able to continue breastfeeding. As silly as it may sound to many people considering D’s age, this is the part I am having the absolute hardest time with right now. Being given a timeline on when we need to be done when I don’t feel done and he certainly doesn’t either has me really feeling extremely sad. My beautiful friend has offered to do photos to commemorate the journey through breastfeeding and this ordeal and I cannot even express how this is going to help my grieving process as far as weaning is concerned. Alas, back to the day.

When I last spoke with the surgeon we were moving forward as if the lymph nodes were involved and under the impression that the tumor was invading the chest wall – Dr M was able to down grade me since the tumor is only abutting the pectoralis fascia and the lymphnodes were negative based on the more extensive imaging (CT and MRI on the 19th) I was able to obtain. I think this may be the only time that I will be so excited about a down grade! This is excellent news as the CT and MRI didn’t show any distal involvement, however, there is concern of a couple spots on the left side. Whether the left is also cancerous (rates BIRAD 4) or not doesn’t change the treatment plan at this point, but may change our surgical direction. I’m anticipating an ultrasound/biopsy to determine what’s going on there.

Dr M also explained that being stage 2 (a) I am also estrogen positive. Which means I’ll be on medication for at least 10years and put into menopause. This will be determined down the road as well. The other interesting thing she talked about was the grade – this essentially outlines how aggressive or fast moving it is. Lucky me got a high score ‘grade 3’ (9/9). This is actually somewhat relieving for me (weird but bear with me) as I hadn’t been missing it the whole time, but rather it’s just progressed quickly enough that my being conscientious and going in right away means it isn’t significantly worse. Strange to be relieved about that but I had worried that I missed something and let this fester for an extended time, and it turns out that I didn’t and I’ve been right on top of things.

We went from the Cancer Center to Genetics – I’m eligible for genetic testing due to my age, the aggressive rating, and family history of breast cancer (my grandmother, and my mom’s cousin on grandpas side). 5-10% of people will have a genetic component. She told me it’s less likely given its estrogen positive (and not triple negative: estrogen/progesterone/HER2 negative) but we will go anyways to see what happens to determine if any family members should be going to further evaluations as well.

Finally. We bombed over to my echo (that I rescheduled from 10am to accommodate the appointment at the cancer Center) for 2:15. I practically had a nap, even though it was rather uncomfortable. The only tests I have left that were ordered are the bone scan (scheduled in January), and I need to get the blood drawn for genetics (which they will likely add to my first chemo blood work prep).

All in all, today was a good day as far as cancer diagnoses goes. I’m happy to be wrong in my evaluation and to be downgraded to Stage 2 and absolutely thrilled that the lymph nodes were clear. Now to wait for the call to be booked in for chemo – sometime in the next two weeks – and we will go from there.

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