I had another doctor’s appt today to review the pathology report. No real surprises but some hope that I may have more options for chemo. Seven total lymph nodes were taken – 3 from the left arm and 4 from the right (3 in the arm and 1 in the breast mass). All of them were clear of cancer, except 1 and that was isolated in the node that was removed. It was a speck on the slide and will require further discussion between pathologists and oncologists but I have been told that it, in the grand scheme of things, is not a big deal.
Cancer stage is at a 2. No surprise there except that the tumor was smaller than we originally thought which puts me closer to stage 1 cancer. Tumor was 2.1 cm and the cut-off between stage 1 and 2 is 1.9 cm. Considering that the lymph nodes were also clear, I may have an easier road ahead. We are still waiting on the final report which will come in 3 to 5 business days that will identify what type of cancer receptor this is. There are three: estrogen, progesterone or HER2/NEU. The result of that report will help the oncologist determine my course of treatment.
Bandages were removed today and stitches are still in place and will be for at least another week. Drainage tubes are still in and I was encouraged once again to just rest. The more I move around and am active, the more my body will produce fluid. It doesn’t make sense to me, but I want the tubes removed so on the couch I sit.
Other interesting news from my pathology report: the left breast contained multiple cysts with at least two that were pre-cancerous. Ten years ago I had a similar report with my first lumpectomy so I am more at ease with my decision to do the bilateral surgery. I would not want to go through this again. I still shed a few tears everyday but I think that is part of the process. In 2008, actress Christina Applegate made the same decision to have a bilateral mastectomy and I remember her saying the same thing in an interview with Oprah. “I cry at least once a day about it because it’s hard to overlook it when you’re standing there in the mirror. When you look down, it’s the first thing you see… So you’re reminded constantly of this thing — this cancer thing that you had.” When she said this she was going through the process of reconstruction with the tissue expanders. I have a few weeks to go before they start the process of filling the expanders with saline but I can already feel the top edges of them under my skin which is tender and a little creepy…much like the drainage tube running down the inside of my rib cage. I have to remind myself that in six months, this will all be over and that there are lots of people supporting me through this life changing event.