Had my post op appointment today. I’m beginning to be a good face reader…I could tell by the look on my consultant’s face, there was a lot to discuss.
Here’s a summary and some facts :
* Breast cancer is graded 1-3. My results have come back as a Grade 3. ‘The cancer cells look most changed and are usually fast growing’.
* Type of cancer – Invasive – Ductal with Ductal Carcinoma in situ (DCIS)
* In addition to the tumours in the 2 ducts (1 invasive and 1 non invasive), 13 lymph nodes were removed, of which 8 were cancerous.
* Even though I had the most advanced scans, involving dye, the cancerous nodes were not picked up. It was only because my consultant (who is also my surgeon), used her expertise and felt them during surgery and took the decision to remove them and send to the lab. Had she not done this, I would be having surgery again next week!
* If more than 4 nodes are affected, next step is to have a bone and CT scan. This is routine and to determine if the cancer has spread to your organs or bones…yes.
* On Monday I have an appointment with my GP for some sleeping pills. I’ve been sleeping upright since 9th September. I’m usually awake 2/3am every morning.
* It’s advised to have a flu vaccine pre chemo so will discuss with GP as ideally, it will happen next week or early part of the following week.
* Wednesday I will be having a hair cut. Nothing to do with today’s appointment but I’ve decided to get a shorter version of my current hairstyle so that I can get used to things this way…ie. shorter, partial or no hair, who knows!?
* I’ll be receiving a letter next week of a date for my bone and ct scan – this is likely to happen week commencing 29th September 2014.
* I meet my Oncology team on Monday 6th October 2014. The team will by then, have the results of the scans of the previous week and I will know if the cancer is in any organ or bones….yes, I’ve just said that….
* Chemotherapy usually starts a week after this meeting. Currently, I’m down for 6 cycles of chemo. By my calculation (1 day every 3 weeks), this takes me to February 2015. We know that radiotherapy is also needed but until I have the meeting on 6 October with my Oncology team, I won’t know if I’m doing 6-8 cycles, won’t know radiotherapy date and I’ll only know on this day if the cancer has spread.
* If the cancer has spread…….STOP! I don’t know the answer as it will be specific to what and where it’s spread to and I cannot worry about this right now.
* 31st October, after my first but before my second chemo treatment, I have an appointment to see my consultant to review the implant and to increase the fluid via the port that’s currently inserted in my breast muscle.
How am I feeling?
* Let’s just say that up until yesterday, I was a different person. I’ve been mechanical up until now and emotions are setting in. I’m not a complete mess….yet…that will come during chemo. I did cry today and it felt good. It was a mixture of release but also, ‘yet more scans and more potential bad news and more waiting’. This release happened in my special room that I go to after the consultant- it’s our safe place to talk to the nurse, over a cup of tea….and always a full box of tissues in the room…
* I was convinced that they would drain the breast today as it is looking and feeling swollen….but she didn’t. Earlier in the week, it felt like mastitis! She explained that the fluid is moving around in the implant and there will be an element of lymph fluid too but she won’t drain it now. I’m only to be concerned if it turns red.
* Not sure why I thought this was a 3 week recovery but it’s 6-8weeks for full recovery! My breast bone still hurts ALOT.
* I’m very scared of lymphoedema – that’s getting a fat arm for the rest of your life! 30 % of people who have their nodes removed, get it. That’s a rather high %. At the breast cancer group this week, my first one, 3 ladies had it and wore what looked like a cast/bandage.
* I CAN go to the gym but only gentle stuff and no lifting.
Eating healthy is going to be vital now, more than ever. Juicing has started.