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Dodged a Bullet?

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?

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Other Thinks (10)

Brenda:

What a joy to have all of this knowledge and all of the answers you've been given, Miss Kimmee! :-)

This is a huge relief for me to read, so I can only imagine your emotions as you were led through the process. Sounds like you have a fantastic doctor, and having your mom and Chris with you for support...amazing!

Will you need to take Tamoxifen for a period of time after you are finished chemos and radiation? I have 2 friends who are on it as a preventative measure, and are years into their health and a cancer-free life.
Wonderful!

Get packing, get going and get on with your life, girlfriend!
Huge hugs,
Brenda
xox

sandrac:

I must say, I like the sound of Miss Kimmee!Although I loathe people calling me Sandy. So, I won't try to use Kimmee anymore, after this one time.

Kimmee, this sounds so positive. Thank God you caught the tumour at an early stage, before it had a chance to really take off.

And now you know what you're dealing with and what your treatment will be like, so you really can get on with your life -- starting with a fabulous trip to Italy!

Kim-Thanks again for sharing all of the personal information you are. I know this is helping someone who is going through the same thing or who has a friend/relative who is. I'm so happy the news is turning out as good as it is. Have a wonderful time in Italy!!!

This sounds very postitive. I'm guessing that there could have been a scenario where you couldn't have gone to Italy and would have to start treatment right away? So the fact that it's not urgent is good?

Anyway, hang in there and have a wonderful time in Italy. I think Italy's a very healing place so I'm glad you are going!

Lisa:

Thanks, now I can absorb what you said, and look up some facts. And I am glad you are healing quickly. Hey...I don't think I ever called you Kimmee....would you push me off the treadmill if I tried?

Amy:

Again, awesome.

One more thing to say--I can't imagine that I am the only one your sharing has spurred to call her doc for an overdue mammogram, or to review the procedures for self-exams and actually *do* them.

Yeah, like Amy says, sharing your experience is making me remembering to do those self exams.

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Thanks all.

Yes, Lisa, I will push you off the treadmill or at least, "pull a Kevin" and raise the resistance dramatically. ;D

And I do hope this helps get other woman off their butts and in for mammos and learning how to do self-exams. And if anyone out there is afraid (god knows I was), I'm more than willing to go along with you for comfort/distraction. Can't tell you how poking the ladies auxilary saved my life. :)

So glad to hear more good news! I hope having the stitches out helps lessen the pain some.

I agree that reading all of this is getting many of us off our butts. I admit to slacking off the self examinations, and often put off my mammogram for a few extra months.

Claire & Bill:

As friends of your parents, we found your comments very touching and we just want to wish you good luck and good health!!! Enjoy Italy

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