We visited the surgeon this afternoon for my one week post-op and to go over the final pathology reports. First off, I have to say, I've arrived. When I go to sign in at the doc's office, the nurse sees me and says, "Kim, you don't have to sign in." Ooh, cancer has its perks.
A few minutes later, I'm called into the office and the nurse removes my surgi-strips, shows me the stitches that will dissolve and then brings me into the doc's office along with Mom and Chris to go over the report.
I scribbled notes all over it and I'm going to try to recap most of it here for you - feel free to ask questions. I feel like now, my education can begin.
First, we went over page four of the report, the pathology from the surgery. I had a duct cell carcinoma which is one of the most common cancers. My tumor was a whopping 3.7cm which works out to be 1.5 inches. I had angiolymphatic permeation which if I understood correctly, means the little blood vessels within the tumor contained cancer cells. This could be bad because that's how the cells travel to the lymph nodes but luckily my little suckers didn't make it (go body!). Most cancer patients have a grade 2 tumor, mine was grade 3. It's the fastest growing kind. The good news, it also responds best to chemo. To give you an idea of how fast it grows, grade 2 can double every six months, grade 3, every 3 weeks. This sucker hadn't been around for long (which relieves some of my guilt, makes me realize that breast self exams are way important, and that Alina, getting me to call the doc to move up my appointment probably saved my life - or at least my lymph nodes!).
Now we get into a little discussion about chemo and radiation and the difference between the two. The doc explains a bit to us but basically the chemo prevents the cancer from appearing/spreading to the rest of my body, and the radiation, saves my boobs. The chemo kills the cells, and the radiation "rehabilitates the cells" basically discouraging them from becoming rogue mavericks (hmm...perhaps we should have named that tumor Sarah ... you bettya). Anyway, after this combo of treatment, recurrence is about 10% - I can live with that.
Okay - now back to the results from the aspiration - I'm ER IPOX (estrogen?) negative, PR IPOX (progesterone?) negative and HER-2 Negative (still waiting for the final results on that one), but that's good. I won't be doing any of those other medications, and she seemed real upbeat about the HER-2 being negative too. Basically, my cancer was not hormone sensitive (again the education needs to begin - though she said stay way from stat tables b/c my tumor size was large but everything else was good but a lot of the stats don't take that into account).
The rest of the time we asked her some questions better geared towards the oncologist but just to get her opinion on what my future may hold. She thinks, I'll probably need 16 weeks of Chemo, every other week for 4 cycles and then again, radiation after the chemo. She also said it will probably be a drip, three hours at a shot. Of course, all of this will be up to the oncologist but we just wanted an idea.
Lastly, my mom and Chris left, and the doc took a look at my stitches and said I'm healing faster than expected and to have a great time in Italy!
Update: Oh, I totally forgot this but Brenda's comment reminded me, when the doc walked into the room she said, "So how you doing Kimmy?"!!! Too funny - okay so who tipped her off?