We met with Dr. White, the plastic surgeon today. He explained and drew what the breast lift involves, and I don’t mind saying, it’s a little wierd. Thousands of women have this surgery, so I suppose it works, but it’s all very…odd. In my case this surgery is called a contra-lateral reduction. There’s a 15% chance that I’ll lose sensation around the nipple, but honestly I won’t care if the cancer is out of me. Truth be told I’m a little sad that I lose a little breast size – it’s not like I have overly large breasts to begin with, but again, it’ll be worth it if the surgery (and subsequent treatment) takes care of the cancer.
Post-surgery care is under Dr. White’s care, although Dr. Ching has said several times to listen to her about post-surgery instructions – at least for the right side. I’ll believe her, because I certainly don’t want to get lymphedema. That just seems like a whole other ball of wax that I’d rather avoid. If everything goes okay, looks like full recovery will take 5-6 weeks, which is consistent with everything Dr. Ching and Jennifer have said.
On the way back from the appointment my niece Alex reminded me Dr. Priya had mentioned that with some HER2 positive cases are treated with a drug for neo-adjuvent therapy. This is why you bring others to your appointments; I hadn’t remember that tidbit or the name of the drug, but my niece did. It’s pertuzamab, common name Perjeta. We didn’t really discuss it because during the consult we didn’t know whether I was HER2 positive or not. It was only after we’d left the office and were on our way out that Dr. Priya caught me and let me know that Pathology had gotten back to her and told her my results.
When I returned home, I called Jennifer to let her know that Dr. White was fine, and that I wanted to go ahead with the “lump and lift.” I then asked her about the Perjeta, and she informed me that the therapy had been approved for neo-adjuvent therapy when the tumor is 2 cm or greater, and had not yet been approved for therapy post-surgery. There is no belief that Perjeta won’t also be effective post-surgery, but approval has not occurred yet. Jennifer is going to send a message to Dr. Priya just to check, but at the time we’d discussed it Dr. Priya didn’t have all the information we now have. My cancer is HER2 positive, but the MRI also “downgraded” the size from 1.93 cm to 1.7 cm. I’m not sure I’d mentioned that previously.
Dr. White’s surgery scheduler was not at work today, so I suspect my surgery won’t be scheduled until Monday. I really hope it will be no later than the 3rd week of January at this point. Dr. White gave us his cell and home numbers, which I thought was great. Was he wondering why I wasn’t asking more questions? Worried that he hadn’t given enough information? Or does he do that with all of his patients?
What’s up next? A consult with the radiation oncologist on Tuesday. It really is a team of people, a ton of moving parts and so much information being thrown at me. I’m glad I’m off work right now, just so I have the time and space to process it all.
2 thoughts on “December 26, 2014”
Keep up the good work, Caroline. You’re making smart decisions like bringing a friend with you and asking questions as you need to. I’m proud of you.
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My sister was diagnosed with HER2 positive and had chemotherapy along with Herceptin. She is still with us six years later. My prayers for your recovery. You are strong.