August 20, 2018:
Ok, so scrap everything that I told you about the original diagnosis. That's all out the window now.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Dr. M (my surgical oncologist) booked me for an MRI just to be sure the mammogram and ultrasound hadn't missed anything, and sure enough they had.
I obliviously walk into the exam room and sit down with my list in hand, prepared to ask a whole gamut of questions that I have accumulated over the last three weeks (throughout my hours upon endless hours of researching), and I’m cut short by two very solemn looks from Dr. M and his nurse practitioner.
Much more solemn than they were the first time I met with them, which immediately sucks all of the air out of the room and makes me feel sick to my stomach.
I put my paper down. I brace myself. And they proceed to tell me that the MRI found two more tumours in the same breast. These tumours had been hidden in the mammo by a mass of benign cysts that often seem to congregate in that boob during a “certain time of the month”.
While they can’t say for certain if they are cancerous (not without a biopsy), they are confident the results will come back positive. Furthermore, the original lump (the primary tumour) is much larger than they had thought. And in light of all of this, they no longer feel that saving the breast will be an option.
Additionally, and just in case that wasn’t enough, further testing has come back from my biopsy, and it turns out I have Triple Positive Breast Cancer (HER2 positive + ER [estrogen] positive + PR [progesterone] positive), which basically means that my cancer is hormone driven and that the receptors in my cancer cells are SUPER aggressive and fast growing.
I mean I know I like to excel at things, but COME ON!!
So now all of a sudden, the course of action changes, and I’m looking at chemotherapy and a full mastectomy! MOTHER FUCKER!!!
Oddly enough, I’m more bothered about losing my hair from the chemo than I am about losing my boob. That bugger has given me issues a few times over the years, so when I hear that there are THREE lumps in there, I just want it gone. In fact, take them both!
Just get this shit out of me!!!
But the chemo … ugh … that part I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around. Well that, and the fact that they are suggesting that I do chemo BEFORE surgery.
They want me to keep all of these squatters inside of me for another four(+) months?
Are they crazy?!?
Dr. M explains that even though I’m going to have a full mastectomy, the chemo is suggested in order to shrink the tumours AND any potential stray cells that may have found their way outside of the breast … all of which will (should) make for an easier surgery.
He tells me that if I absolutely want to have the surgery first, and then chemo, that it is an option … but when I ask “if you were me what would you do?” he doesn’t even hesitate to say that he would do chemo first. And he’s a surgeon. His whole aim in life is to cut into people!
He tells me to take a day or two to think it over, and says that he has me booked to meet with Dr. W (a medical oncologist) in three days, to go over the different chemo options.
So ultimately, what was supposed to be the best of the worst, is now the not so best of the worst, but not the absolute worst of the worst. It still sucks big donkey balls, but WTF are you gonna do, right?
Off I go … another hazy exit from good ole Princess Margaret.