Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Official Diagnosis & Treatment Plan

I will try to keep this condensed but as most of you know, I am the queen of long voice mails, texts and emails!

During my annual exam in January of 2013, my doctor noticed a "fibroid-like" lump in my right breast. I proceeded to have a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy a few weeks later with my pathology results diagnosing ductal infiltrating ductal carcinoma (grade 2-tumor size approx. 1.3 cm) along with DCIS  (basically cancerous cells in breast tissue).  I have also tested "triple positive" which means the cancer is driven by estrogen, progesterone and Her2 (protein).

These terms meant very little to me then but my "dumb-it-down" interpretation is basically that I have breast cancer that was found on the "early side" based on tumor size and is "middle-of-the-road" aggressive.  

After meeting with two surgeons with wonderful reputations (thank you family and friends for your research!!), I have since had a lumpectomy performed (March 8, 2013) by Dr. Diane Ogren.  She is amazing and since first hearing her name, I have heard many times over confirmation from past patients, etc... that Kent and I made a great decision.

The surgery went very well, better than I anticipated from a recovery standpoint.  The results of the pathology report are as follows:

Removal of 4 lymph nodes, 1 which was cancerous  (Dr. Ogren and radiologist had determined one looked "suspicious" before surgery) and the removal of a 1.7 cm tumor- grade II invasive ductal carcinoma.  

The only "surprise" from surgery is an area of DCIS (cancerous cells) that are separate from the tumor area that was removed.  This will be surgically removed later this year after I have completed a series of treatments. 

Today,  Kent and I met with my oncologist at Woodwinds Hospital, Dr. Nambudiri.   Treatment has been determined to be 12 weeks of chemotherapy followed by two different types of medications (Herceptin every 3 weeks for approx. a year) and Tamoxofen (daily medication for 5-10 years).

Chemotherapy starts next Wednesday, April 3rd, and will consist of a 3-hour session every 2 weeks for 2 months (4 sessions total) followed by Taxol for about 4 weeks.  I will then have surgery again sometime after this followed by radiation.  We had a lot of information to interpret today so I may be a little bit off on some of the timing.  Chemo has been described as resulting in hair loss and fatigue.  I will be on preventative medication to help reduce nausea.

I am very relieved to finally have my treatment plan (although it has only been a month or so since diagnosis it feels like FOREVER!)  and start date put on the calendar.  

My plan is to update this blog weekly with my progress.   I cannot put into writing how much Kent and I appreciate the love and encouragement from so many people.  We are so lucky to have each and every one of you in our lives.