January 15, 2015

Things are happening!  And also not happening.

I got a phone call from Dr. Ching (breast surgeon) to confirm that we’re switching the order so that I’m doing chemo first then surgery.  She had two things she wanted to talk to me about that change.  First, sometimes the tumor shrinks so much from chemo that it cannot be found easily.  In order to ensure she can find the tumor site after chemo, she told me that I needed to have a clip, or marker, put in place where the tumor is.  Other women who have had negative biopsies have had this done so that during the annual mammogram, the radiologist can make sure to look at that area.  I had the clip put in this morning. It’s not bleeding as much as when I had the biopsy, and the pain is definitely less, but it’s still a wee awkward to be icing my breast for 10 minutes every hour at work.

The 2nd purpose was to let me know that there are some increased risks in other areas by doing chemo first. “Baseline” refers to doing surgery first, then chemo.

1.  Baseline, 3% of surgeries are unable to “find” the sentinel lymph nodes b/c the radioactive dye does not travel through the milk ducts to the lymph nodes.  Doing chemo first increases the chance to 4%.  If I’m in the 4%, Dr. Ching will remove ALL the lymph nodes on my right side.

2.  Baseline, the % of false positives of taking just the affected lymph nodes is down to 6% (from previous 10%, using the sentinel lymph node technique).  Doing chemo first increases the chance to 12%, so the recommendation is that she will remove all 3 lymph nodes (the first grouping of lymph nodes) during surgery, not just the sentinel lymph node.  (False positive in this case means thinking that surgery removed all the cancerous material when in fact it did not.)

Oh well.  I guess there are plusses and minuses to everything.

The other issue which came up has to do with timing.  When Dr. Priya talked to me about doing chemo first, she said that because the tumor is reduced, I can have surgery whenever I wanted.  She didn’t recommend putting off for a really long time, but certainly I could wait until I completed my commitments (mid-August) to have surgery. Dr. Ching said no, you need to have surgery 4-6 weeks after your last treatment.  I sent a message to Dr. Priya after that phone call which essentially asked if I could delay chemo so that surgery could be in August, or could she convince Dr. Ching that I can have surgery 3 months after my last infusion.  I haven’t heard back, and if I don’t hear soon, I’ll call Dr. Priya’s nurse.
In the meantime, the outpatient surgery to install my port has been scheduled from January 23 at 2 pm.  Sisters have been conscripted to take me and pick me up…now all I need is to know when chemo will start.

3 thoughts on “January 15, 2015

  1. Vickie Myers says:

    A friend of mine in Florida had an aggressive form of breast cancer called Triple Negative Breast cancer or TNBC. They did chemo on her first to reduce the tumor and then did a mastectomy. She has now been cancer free from one of the worst types of cancer for over 5 yrs now. So praying for you and that everything goes well.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s