Yesterday, Tad and I went to see Dr. Cancer, whom I have not met with since all this began. Dr. Demo had already given me a head’s up that the pathology results might have some bad news, so we were bracing ourselves.
During my surgery, they performed a sentinel lymph node biopsy, in which three lymph nodes were extracted. Initially it appeared that these were negative. But the pathology report had a different finding: one was positive for “metastatic carcinoma.”
This means that my cancer is now considered Stage 2, and that I will, indeed, need chemotherapy.
The next step is to have a body and bone scan to determine if the cancer has settled elsewhere in my body, so the news could still get worse. They don’t expect this (of course, they didn’t expect me to need chemo either…), so we spent the majority of the visit yesterday discussing the chemo procedures.
The good news is that this is nothing like what my dad had to go through when he had leukemia; Dr. Cancer assured me that this type of chemo is far less intense than what Dad had to go through. The chemo will be administered in six cycles with three weeks between each cycle. I’ll start two days after we get back from our London vacation. My calendar math indicates that that means I’ll be done right before Christmas.
Yes, I will lose my hair (and after I just grew it out, sheesh!!!). I will need radiation after the chemo is done. As for mastectomy reconstruction, the breast expander that was put in during the mastectomy will be filled as planned, but the other surgeries will wait until the chemo is done.
I am still thinking through work implications; I just spoke to my HR liaison to understand my options. If a co-worker of mine is reading this post, stay tuned. I know that lots of people work through chemo – we’ll see!
I woke this morning feeling really overwhelmed, but spent the morning going over my notes (migrating from a half-inch cancer binder to a one-inch!), processing, and am feeling better now. At this point I’m mostly just PISSED OFF. (In case all my f-bombs have not made that obvious…)