Short Version: Getting chemo port today. Visit Dr. Troung tomorrow to get cleared for chemo, which will begin Monday at 10:00 in Pratt. I will also be getting injections Wed.-Fri. of a medication to increase my white blood cell count when doing chemo. Radiation is still up in the air and will depend on many factors that will be determined as we go. Double Mastectomy and hysterectomy will probably take place in early November.
I am on my way to Wichita to get my chemo port installed by Dr. Nicholas and wanted to give a quick update. We got back from Houston yesterday. We left MDA after my radiology oncologist appointment Tuesday and stayed at Stephen’s parents in Athens, TX. It was nice to get to see them and also broke up the trip some for Delaney. Tomorrow I will see Dr. Troung so he can clear me for Chemo. I am scheduled to begin chemo on Monday at 10 am in Pratt. Evidently it will take 4 hours or more to administer the treatments. I was surprised by the length of time it takes so it looks like my Mondays are shot for the next 12 weeks. They do have Wi-Fi, so I can take my laptop in. For that I’m grateful! At least maybe I can get some work done while receiving treatments.
I also got my PET Scan back and it looks clear except for the tumor that we know of in the right breast. This is a very wonderful outcome!! God has been at work! I also find it odd that I have such an aggressive cancer, however it hasn’t really grown since I first found it before New Year’s? This has to be God working. He made the tumor grow quickly and large enough for me to find, which I did. He also made it hurt bad enough that I had to go back into the doctor even after the first radiologist told me I was fine. Now I truly feel he’s working again as he is holding the tumor to its original size. It just amazes me what when I look for miracles I find they are all around.
I also visited the radiology oncologist on Tuesday. Right now radiation is still up in the air. If the tumor shrinks with chemo and no cancer is found in my lymph nodes during surgery then NO Radiation. If the tumor remains the same with chemo and no cancer is found in my lymph nodes during surgery then Radiation is in the gray area. Radiation is recommended if the recurrence rate is 15% or more. In this scenario the recurrence rate would be about 18%. I think I’d probably have it, but it would be my choice. If they find in surgery that the lymph nodes are infected with any cancer, radiation is a must. It would be 6 weeks daily for a total of 30 treatments. I guess the radiation only lasts about 15 minutes and the entire treatment is about one hour daily with prep included. MDA has some of the most advanced radiation treatment options so if I have to have radiation I would go to MDA for that and be there for those 6 weeks. I hope I don’t have to have radiation as I don’t want to be gone that long, but if that is what has to happen I will do it. Radiation has the possibility of damaging the lungs and heart and is very operator dependent, just like the surgery. So I want to ensure I’m getting the best operator i.e. doctor and care possible. Just like with the mastectomy and hysterectomy, skill and experience are very critical. Since MDA does this so much the damage likelihood to my lungs and heart are almost nonexistent however with lesser experienced groups the statistics could be different.
I also saw the genetic counselor and she called me yesterday with a very interesting finding. Evidently the BRCA-1 gene I have derives from the Ashkenazi Jewish Founder Ancestry. This would not affect my treatments but is a very interesting insight into my heritage; as we had no idea any of our family was of Jewish decent. By having this particular gene, the likelihood of being BRCA positive goes from 1 in 750 for the general population to 1 in 40 for this ancestry. There are also other possible genetic disorders inherited and I’ve emailed my genetic counselor Michelle Jackson to see if I need testing for other possible inherited disorders. Dad also found out today that he is BRCA-1 positive too with the exact same genetic malformation that I have, which indicates I received the trait from his side of the family. People inherit good and bad genes from parents, but I know he feels bad. However, it’s no one’s fault, it’s just the way God made us. Now we know we have some Jewish ancestry I will have another project to do as I want to find out more about this particular lineage and their customs and cultures! Thank you God for my healing.