Well, in my case more studies. MRI, CT scans and Bone scans. Looking to see just how big and aggressive my tumor was. Had it gone to the other breast? Had it metasatized to other parts of my body? Luckily the left breast was clear. No evidence of spread. The first good news I had heard since diagnosis. Now all this took a few weeks to do- Insurance authorizations (HELLO PEOPLE THIS IS MY LIFE!!) and the sheer number of tests.
I had my first appointment with my oncology team (gulp) 6 days after diagnosis. Between receiving my diagnosis and my appointment, I did research naturally, on my type of breast cancer. Being medically trained, I needed to know in order to make good decisions. After learning how truly aggressive this cancer is, I had made the decision to go with a double mastectomy, to rule out the risk of quick recurrence in the other breast. It is highly recommended you bring someone with you to your first appointment. The sheer amount of information you receive is a bit overwhelming, and listening to it all, you can forget to ask questions. So, I brought my daughter Mariah, who is an RN and my other half.
That first appointment was frightening yet empowering. Yes, the first step to getting rid if this monster in me! We met with the cancer surgeon first, who went over surgical options- Lumpectomy, Single Mastectomy or Double. He did not try and persuade me in any specific direction but rather allowed me to ask pertinent questions. Who gave me all the positive and negatives of each procedure. Before I could speak up and say something about a double, my awesome daughter who had also done her homework, popped up to say “well shouldn’t mom have a double given this cancers aggressiveness” I reiterated the statement. The surgeon responded that he was quite happy that he didn’t have to convince me to do the double.
We left the first appointment with a game plan. The testing I mentioned above, double mastectomy to be scheduled as fast as results came in an insurance approval. Meet with the plastic surgeon regarding reconstruction. And dependent upon my tumor testing, we were tentatively scheduled for 12 rounds of Taxol and 4 rounds of AC. At that time I was staged at 1A. This was because at that time the tumor was measured at 1.5cm and I had no lymph node involvement we were aware of. A sentinel node biopsy was scheduled to happen during mastectomy. That is where they remove lymph nodes to check for spreading of the disease. Metaplastic Breast Cancer doesn’t often spread to the lymph nodes. Unfortunately it likes to skip the nodes and go big.
I’m tired now and going to lie down. I just completed round 14 yesterday. I will get you all caught up day by day.