I've put off writing this post. Partly because I needed to get a handle on my emotions, and partly because I simply didn't want to do it. It's ugly.
Two weeks ago on May 18th I had surgery to remove the breast cancer and some lymph nodes. It was a long procedure by the time it was all done, but it was outpatient and I came home that day.
The surgeon successfully removed the cancer with clear margins, although we found out later the margins were very small. He also removed four sentinel nodes (lymph nodes they light up because of nuclear injection ahead of time to determine the drainage pattern and those most likely affected) and five other nodes. They all tested negative. We found out late on Friday the 20th and thought chemotherapy would not be necessary.
We met with the surgeon for a follow-up on Monday the 23rd. When I asked him specifically just to clarify my assumption on chemotherapy, he said there was a slight possibility and that he and the oncologist would be reviewing the slides from the surgery, etc. I had an appointment with her on Wednesday the 25th. Even though I still had a niggling worry, Hubby kept saying it was slight.
That appointment with the oncologist was something that I can't even put into words as far as my emotions go. We basically found out that the tumor was twice as large as they originally thought, so it was 2.2 cm. There was also an additional test that my original biopsy sample had been sent off to have performed. It's for HER2, and the first pathology test was inconclusive, showing it neither positive or negative and indicating the need for the FISH test. The FISH test results were back and showed that my breast cancer was also HER2 positive. This indicates an aggressive cancer.
So I was officially labeled Stage IIA (T2N0M0) with a 2.2 cm tumor, no node involvement, no metastasis, ER+, PR+, and HER2+. We still caught it early, but I'm getting ready to go through the ringer.
We go back to the oncologist today since I was a little too upset to agree to anything last week. Soon I will be getting a port put in surgically. Her plan is to leave it in for a year and a half. That will allow me to get six months of chemotherapy, four treatments three weeks apart followed by 12 weekly treatments. Then I will receive herceptin for the HER2 which is given once a month for a year. It has it's own nasty set of side effects. Somewhere in there I will start radiation. Tamoxifen for five years is still part of the plan for the ER+/PR+ aspect of the cancer.
So these are the medical facts. I can't even begin to put my emotions into words here right now.