Nothing too much to report today!

Dr. Lovett called this morning just to touch base. He wasnted me to know that if we have any questions to just call him. All blood work came back AOK. Chest x-ray is normal. They are hoping to move the date of the surgery up….but I’m okay with the 13th. Gives me a little time.

AND – the time is ok with me, too. As it stands I have to be there by 1:00 PM! That means coffee until 8AM! I’m already planning on getting up at about 5AM to make sure I get that whole pot in!!! :o)

A plan is taking shape – surgery scheduled

We visited with Dr. Lovett (my surgeon) today. After a brief exam he declared I was darned lucky to have found the lump because he wouldn’t have said there was anything there.

My only real option is to have a bilateral mastectomy. The surgery is scheduled for October 13.  I’ll be having the sentinel node biopsy (basically they put in a tracer to find the first lymph node from the tumor site, take it out and see if there is a spread of cancer there). I was in the trial for this 11 years ago which means they not only found the sentinel node but they also removed 14 lymph nodes to determine any spreading. This time they will only need to remove the one.

Possible follow up treatment may be chemo and as long as there is no spreading noted radiation will not be needed. I can’t have it on the right side anyway. But that all is a long way off….the surgery is first.

So now I wait! My first surgery was September 24, 1998. Guess if I keep it all within the same time frame it doesn’t mess up every part of the year! :o)

Nervous

In 25 hours and 15 minutes I will be meeting with my surgeon. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Lovett again! I also know things may roll along quickly now. Lots of planning on going in my head taking into account every case scenario that I may face. Some tell me to just be cool and wait to see what happens. My brain does not work that way (as many of you already know). “What ifs” only scare me if I haven’t already contemplated them.

Today I’m a bit nervous. The anticipation….hearing from so many family and friends offering their support…watching the NASCAR race makes me nervous no matter what!!! :o) Perry is threatening to duct tape me down if I don’t stop pacing. Hey! I did get the closet cleaned out!

Sending my love to you all! I’m off to watch the race and pace some more. GO JIMMIE JOHNSON!!!!

Then and now

I remembered I had a family picture we had taken just a day or so after my first chemo in 1998.

From left to right:  Mary Beth (8 yrs), Me, Anna (6 yrs), Perry and David (10 yrs).
This picture was taken at Christmas 2008
 
David (20 yrs), Perry, Mary Beth (19 yrs), Brandon (Mary’s boyfriend at the time) and Anna (16 yrs).
And this one was taken at the 4th of July family celebration this year

 
David (21 yrs), nephew Matthew, Mary Beth (19 yrs) and Anna (17 yrs).
My how they grow!!

Path report explained

For my own sake I decided to review the path report. I kind of understand most of it but a lot of people have asked me about certain things so maybe this will explain. The Breast Cancer Network of Strength organization has a great brochure that is available to download called “Understanding Your Pathology Report.” Check it out!

Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma (IDC) – that’s what has been found in both breasts. This is the most common breast cancer. It starts in a milk passage or duct, breaks through the wall of the duct, and invades the tissue of the breast. From there it may be able to spread to other parts of the body. It accounts for about 8 out of 10 invasive breast cancers.*

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS): This is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. DCIS means that the cancer is only in the ducts. It has not spread through the walls of the ducts into the tissue of the breast. Nearly all women with cancer at this stage can be cured. Often the best way to find DCIS early is with a mammogram*.  Minimal DCIS noted in the left breast – “1 duct” documented on path report.

Nottingham Grade III of III:  Grade three is the least differentiated and most aggressive of the breast cancer tumors. The features are not normal and are likely to spread and grow quickly. The tubule formation in grade three is less than 10 percent. There is a marked variation in the changing of the cells. There will also be a notable cell division (15 or more) in grade three tumors.**

Nottingham Score 8 of 9:  It is a total score based on 3 different sub-scores. The 3 sub-scores are assigned based on 3 components of how the breast cancer cells look under a microscope. (The details of these 3 components are not critical for you to understand). Each of the 3 components is assigned a sub-score of 1, 2, or 3, with 1 being best and 3 being worst. Once the 3 sub-scores are added, a Nottingham score is obtained: the minimum score possible is 3 (1+1+1) and the maximum possible is 9 (3+3+3).***

There are still other results pending. Estrogen and/or progesterone receptors as well as the Her2 FISH status. These basically refer to what is triggering or affecting the growth of the cancerous cells can can make an impact on treatment options. I can tell you that my first tumor was negative for all.

The size they have documented is also interesting. 19x16X17 mm on the right and 12x14x10 mm on the left. My first tumor was 2.6 cm. Remember 2.54 cm equals 1 inch. I hate meteric and without converting it 1 cm could be 3 feet for all I know! LOL

Sorry if I overwhelmed anyone. It just helps Perry and the kids to be able to see this information to understand. Knowledge is power!!

* From the ACS: What is Breast Cancer page
** From the E-How site on Grades of Breast Cancer
*** From Nottingham Score for Breast Cancer on Onolink

And the results are in….

At 1:00 PM Carol from the Breast Center called with the results. Positive for both masses found. Although I knew it…it’s still kind of ringing in my ears yet.

I had them fax me the pathology report. (Remember that “knowledge is power thing?”) Looks to my amateur eye that it’s close to what I had 11 years ago but smaller. At least that is what I am hoping to find out in the end.

Not much more to say. I am thankful to have an appointment on Monday coming up with the same surgeon I had last time. He was suppose to retire in August. THANK YOU Dr. Lovett for hanging in there a few more months! I’ll know a bit more once I see him and then I’ll pass on the info!

I want to make sure to thank all the great folks I work with! Just keep me laughing and I’ll be okay! My step-mom (the not-so-wicked Miss Carol) and my dad are offering a great deal of support. Of course the basset hound bunch (2 and 4 legged alike) are keeping me afloat. Arroooo to all of you!!

Check back here for updates. It’ll be easier than emailing and calling. You know how it goes! Love you all!

Biopsies Today

I must first say THANK YOU to my dear friend Laura who took the time to go with me today. I was going to go myself and would have been totally okay. But it was nice to have here there for support!!

The biopsies were not that bad! A little pain and burning when the Novocain was administered but even that wasn’t bad. The doc was so good! The procedure itself was painless! I was expecting some pain but there literally was none! I was able to observe via the ultra sound. Amazing how technology has advanced so much in the 11 years since I last went through this.

I’m a tad sore tonight but not bad. Just taking the Tylenol as they directed.

I should hear either tomorrow or Monday for the results. The nurse said maybe Monday but the doc said tomorrow. I guess we’ll see! I do think that preliminarily both masses seem a wee bit smaller than my first cancer. That one was 2.6cms. This time the one on the right is about (as far as can be seen via ultra sound) 1 cm. The one on the right is a little bigger but didn’t appear to be 2 cm.

I should be feeling something more than I am right now. For some reason I am feeling relieved? Maybe that’s the wrong word….but in reality there has been a piece of me that always waited for a recurrence. And maybe that’s a really horrible way to think. I certainly didn’t live my life obsessing and worrying! Not at all! Remember when I threw out the “It is as it is” saying? Yep – that is exactly right. It is as it is…what ever happens has to be met head on without fear. Maybe once you are diagnosed with cancer that little fear lingers on and on.

I am full of fear right now. The unknown scares me to death. BUT – there is also power in knowledge. There is power in the love and support of my family.

And again I find myself jumping the gun! Of course I can find out it is NOTHING. It happens! My dear aunt recently underwent the removal of a kidney with the understanding that a tumor was present. Indeed something was there…but it was found to be benign! It happens! Fingers crossed! Forward….MARCH! More whenI get the word from the doctor!

Could it be happening again?

On Monday (September 14, 2009) I felt a change in my right breast. The same one where I had breast cancer back in 1998. To read about that wild ride just click here!

I went to the nurse practitioner for an exam on Tuesday. Although she wasn’t sure she felt anything it was decided to have a diagnostic mammogram and ultra sound considering my history.

The test were done today. Thankfully I’ve never had an issue with mammograms. Perry was waiting out in the lobby until it was time for the radiologist to come in to give us his findings. Enter the radiologist….followed by the tech and his nurse. Red flag. Why did he need his nurse as well?

Dr. Juenemann is a very nice man. Direct, pulls no punches yet talks to his patients as if they are humans…you know what I mean. No extra medical terminology that leaves you scratching your head. Wasn’t in a hurry. Wanted to make sure Perry and I had the time to absorb what he had said and formulate questions.

So, what did he say? Significant changes were seen in the current views taken. The ultra sound confirmed that there were indeed suspicious masses in both breasts. “Even without your history I would be very concerned.”

Next step is the biopsy. Or shall I say biopsies. Ultra sound guided for that matter. Plural. Wow! First time that has really hit me….saying it is one thing but seeing it in print is another thing.

In case you are wondering….right now I am 44 years old. My first go ’round with BC was back in 1998. Mary Beth (our soon to be 20 year old daughter who still lives with us) is expecting our first grandchild. Her due date is somewhere around the very beginning of the year 2010.

I’m jumping to conclusions and must stop. No one has said I have cancer again as of right now. Need to face tomorrow with that thought in my head.

So…off to watch the season premier of House (whoo! hoo!) and crawl into bed with the hounds. As some very wise folks have told me about life: “It is as it is.”