My final pathology report just came back and I am cancer free! I now consider myself a breast cancer survivor. Words cannot describe my feeling of joy and thankfulness for all of the prayers, help and encouragement through my journey. THANK YOU!!!
Just a quick note on hair growth. I have been looking in my 15x make-up mirror for any glimmer of hair growth. I am happy to report I can see eyebrows, eyelashes and hair on my head just starting to grow! yippie! What a relief!
I went in for my lumpectomy surgery Thursday and I am happy to report was a great success! I can't 100% say I am cancer free yet, I still have to wait for my pathology report to come back in a week but all things are pointing to a great report. Here is the process I went through...
First up, I had to get my needle placement. What that means is I had to get my boob squished in a mammogram machine that had a little window. Then a very handsome radiologist came in the room and had to thread a needle to my previous tumor site. He could tell where that was because I had a small clip placed in my first biopsy after diagnosis. So I sat there topless in front of this man while he threaded the needle and then a wire through my breast. I was literally dripping with sweat down my chest and back. Ugh!
Next up, I became radioactive! yes, they had to inject my breast with a radioactive dye then take pictures to find out where my sentinel (not sure if I spelled that correctly) node was.
Then I was wheeled to pre-op where I got an IV and a pain blocker in my back. I fell asleep and woke up in post-op with the procedure completely finished! I love that part. Didn't feel a thing and don't remember nothin. John told me the great news, the cancer had not spread into my lymph nodes! Thank goodness.
I was so incredibly sleepy from all of the drugs. The surgery was about two hours then post op was another couple of hours. I did vomit on the way home and slept for the rest of the day and night that first night. Woke up on Friday feeling great! It's Saturday and I didn't even have to take pain killers last night, although I do have to take some today. Funny, my port removal is what hurts the most. I am all bandaged up for the time being. I can't shower for three days. Whew! lucky I showered the morning of surgery. I can take of the bandages on monday afternoon. No lifting anything over 10 lbs. and have to take it easy for a couple of weeks. I'm not allowed to walk the dog in case he pulls and rips my stitches. The surgeon said that will be my biggest challenge: feeling good but not overdoing it.
John and the kids are throwing a small party for me tonight. Kids bought balloons and confetti (I didn't have the heart to tell Ella I will kill her if she throws that in my house), flowers and pizzas on the grill. Life is good and I am blessed to have such a wonderful family. Mom arrives tomorrow!
Here I am with my wig, fake eyelashes and painted eyebrows...
Just a quick note about recovery thus far. Good news! I am feeling really good, gaining my strength. I have been taking Oscar for three mile walks and feeling healthy. Bad news: I did end up losing all of my eyelashes and eyebrows. Whah! I found myself in Sephora buying fake eyelashes and special eyebrow brushes so I don't look like a martian. The fake eyelashes are, at the least, comical. I picked up the kids from school yesterday and realized one of them was half glued and half fluttering around. I'm sure I looked like a hot mess!
I am preparing for my surgery next week. "Surgery?" you say... yes. I have to have surgery even though my tumor is gone. Here is how the process will go... I have a couple of things going on here. First off, in my surgery, my surgeon will scrape the margins of where my tumor was located. She will also remove the small clip that was placed there in the beginning to show where the tumor was. While in there, she will inject me with a special dye which will immediately go into my lymph nodes. She will remove the first three or four nodes it goes into first and test onsite to make sure the cancer has not spread. If it hasn't, which all signs point to it has not spread, she will close me up and I will have a small incision scar under my right armpit. Next, she will remove my port. Yay! The port doesn't hurt or anything like that, it just really signifies that chemo truly is over. Lastly, she will take some bone marrow samples from my hip. What? you ask. Well, I have turned into a clinical trial junkie. They have asked me to be a part of the "Surmount" clinical trial which is Surveillance Markers of Utility for Recurrence after (Neo)adjuvant Therapy for Breast Cancer. You can read more here if you choose here: https://www.pennmedicine.org/cancer/cancer-research/translating-research-to-practice/breast-cancer-tce/surmount-study. Will this give me any specific information for me to use? Probably not, but I want to be a part of research in hopes that if my Ella gets this as an adult, there will be more, less invasive options for her treatment. Down time for all of this is 4-6 weeks. After that I can start radiation.
Now for radiation info: I found out I will have 33-35 treatments of radiation starting 4-6 weeks after surgery. I will go in every day Monday thru Friday consecutively until treatment is finished. This means no big travel until April. Ugh! At first, my radiation oncologist had dangled a carrot in front of me with an "expedited radiation treatment" of only 30 days. I was super excited until he called me back an hour after we met to let me know I was not a candidate. When we mentioned this to my surgeon she told us there is not enough research (they like 30 years worth) to recommend this treatment. Apparently some women in Canada who had done the expedited treatment had problems that their boobs practically turning to stone. YIKES! No thanks doc, I'll stick to the tradiational 6.5 weeks. Also found out with radiation, the radiated boob becomes more firm. This will mean at some point when gravity sets in on my chest, one will be perky while the other starts to head south. Thank goodness for bras!
I also confirmed another issue. I was told by other suirvivors that your boob shrinks from radiation. I was assured by my radiation oncologist this is untrue. Since my tumor is gone and there will be just a small handful of cells scraped from in there, I shouldn't expect to have any significant shrinkage. Yay!
Lastly, let's get back to hair and not having any. I am beginning my fifth week since I have had chemo. I am frantic to start seeing peach fuzz, but nothing yet. I have been slathering my head with castor oil in the hopes of little hair folicles popping out of my bald noggin. The wait continues... sigh.
Hi! I'm Amy. I was diagnosed at 44 with