It’s official: The boob and cancer are no more.
Yes, that’s right, the cancer is officially gone. Sure, I miss my boobs because being boobless is a bit strange, but I am happy to be cancer-free, so I don’t really miss them all that much. I already have adorable outfits picked out for my new, fabulous rack, which I will hopefully have by the end of June.
Surgery went well. Recovery isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, and I feel like a cyborg with my funky drain tubes and pretty gnarly incisions, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I spent the first couple of nights in the hospital, and then I went home where friends and family have blown me away with kindness, concern, and care. Thanks to everyone’s help, words of encouragement, and fun surprise deliveries, I’ve managed to maintain a generally positive attitude, and I’ve allowed myself to enjoy hours of guiltless Netflix paired with Percocet.
Thanks to Dr. Kantor’s chemical cocktails, Dr. Brew found and removed only .8cm of my originally 3.8cm tumor. Margins around the tumor were clean. She removed and bioposied five lymph nodes, and all came back cancer-free. She is confident my lymph system was not affected. This is all incredible news, and it really couldn’t have gone any better.
So, now what? This past week has been a bit frustrating because even though on paper I am good to go and should now be able to focus on recovering from my surgery so that I can have my Sarah Jessica Parker boobs, my doctors asked me to consider further treatment. Although my pathology reports show that I am cancer-free and my lymph system was never affected, nothing in the cancer world is certain, so they’d like to blast my cancer with a final “F-You” just to be sure there aren’t any stray cells floating around. My options: radiation, more chemo, both, or neither.
After a little research and meeting with a radiation oncologist, I am 98% sure I am not going to have radiation. I am meeting with another radiation oncologist this Thursday to get a second opinion, and I’m hopeful she too will not fully recommend it. The first radiation oncologist has amazing credentials and a reputation for being aggressive. Because he did not give a definite recommendation but only said that it’s an option, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to do it. He told me that right now he’d assess that I have an 80% chance of never having to deal with this again. Based on research that is now several years old, my chances with radiation may increase to 84%. However, I received more advance chemotherapy than what was available when the studies on which he’s basing that number concluded, so he thinks my odds of a recurrence-free survival without radiation might be even better. He did tell me that radiation will for sure permanently damage my body, making reconstruction much more difficult and maybe impossible. More importantly, it will scar my lung, possibly damage my heart, and could cause a different type of cancer years from now. Although the truly deadly side effects are rare and unlikely, 4% doesn’t seem worth the risk.
I have to trust my doctors when they tell me that they don’t feel right about doing nothing after surgery, so I’m thinking it’s more chemo for me. Typing that just now literally makes me want to throw up, but it is what it is, and I’ve done it before. Dr. Kantor is recommending Taxol, which is the drug that I would have had if I didn’t participate in the clinical trial. It is a little harder to handle than Halaven but not as bad as A/C. If I am treated with Taxol, I will post more about it later.
Final prognosis: Surgery was a success, I am doing fairly well, and although I am not happy about it, I will most likely have 12 more weeks of chemo, just to be safe. Sarah Jessica Parker boobs are still in my future, but they will not be able to make an appearance until the summer of 2014.