Today Ryan and I met with my oncologist, Dr. Hoos. I still can't believe that I have an oncologist. Wow. Dr. Hoos answered a lot of our questions. However, if he would have had the time, I think Ryan and I could have stayed there all day and night asking more and more questions. He asked me a little bit about my family's health history and as I began to tell him I soon realized that my family is riddled with some kind of cancer. He did a quick examination and said because of the size of the tumor (1.3 cm = about .5 inches) and the fact that he couldn't feel any swollen lymph nodes he is diagnosing me with Clinical Stage 1 breast cancer. The only reason it is labeled "Clinical" is because all of the test have not come back and until either surgery or futher testing, there is no way to know if the cancer has spread beyond my breast tissue. Stage 1 is what we are praying for and since that is what he believes it is at this moment, that is what we are going with. Dr. Hoos then began to discuss treatment options. The first thing to determine is what kind of surgery will be performed. Ryan and I meet with the surgeon tomorrow. However, Dr. Hoos, Ryan, and myself all agreed that having a mastectomy on my right side and prophalactic on my left side would be the most aggressive way to treat the cancer at my age. This is something that we will discuss further with the surgeon, but as of right now, Ryan and I have decided that this is the action we will take.
Next comes how to treat the cancer with medicine. Dr. Hoos said that basically there are 3 "generations" of chemo treatment, with the 3rd generation being the most aggressive. I bet you can guess which "generation" he wants to use as treatment. That's right, the third one. This consist of only 6 treatments over the course of 18weeks. Basically, I would have a chemo treatment every 3 weeks. With this kind of intense treatment, I would basically fall victim to all of the nasty side affects...severe nausea, weight loss/gain, and hair loss. Yippie. I am at least hoping that if I have to suffer from nausea and hair loss that I will lose weight rather than gain. I have been struggling to lose about 6 pounds for a month now! With impending surgery and chemo looming in the near future, the only decision for Ryan and I to make is which one we want to do first.
At this moment, having the chemo first seems like a better plan of action. This means that I will probably recieve a port sometime this week or the beginning of next week. Within the next couple of weeks I will have my first chemo treatment. During this time they will do the gene test. Within a few weeks I will know whether or not I test positive for the gene. This will not change my treatment plan, but rather benefit me for the future. If I test positive for the gene, there is an increased risk for developing other kinds of cancer. However, with surgery, those risk are decreased tremendously, especially if there are no lymph nodes involved. When your breast are removed, so is 98% of your breast tissue. So the likey-hood of breast cancer returning is slim to none and if no lymph nodes are involved, the likely-hood of developing a different kind of cancer is unlikely as well.
One of the questions that I asked Dr. Hoos was how it was possible to not feel anything in my breast one day and than have something show up all of a sudden. He explained to me that the human fingertip is not able to feel something under the skin that measures less than 1cm. Since my tumor is 1.3 cm I have to believe that I caught it as early as possible. Having the chemo before the surgery will also allow Dr. Hoos to evaluate whether or not my tumor is responding to the medicine. If my tumor disappers or even shrinks significantly we will know that the treatment is working. I know this may sound crazy, but I just feel like if I do the chemo first, the hardest part will be over with. Also, having chemo and still having both of my breast just makes me think I will feel like less of a victim to my cancer than if I were to have surgery first. I also like to think of it this way.....the next four months of my life will be the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. In return, I get to reward myself with a boob job.