Thursday, November 10, 2011

Boring Cancer

After an early start out the door (2:30 am -- ugh!), a brief stop in Fort Wayne for a 15 minute cat nap and a coffee (thank you all night Starbucks!), Mom and I arrived in plenty of time for her "specialist treatment meeting". Neither of us knew what to expect from this meeting (like how many specialists would be involved) so we went with the flow.

First we met with her surgeon who confirmed that Mom is healing quite nicely. Dr. M is pleased with how things are going and even helped remove that pesky suture that was partially in the skin and partially out (Mom said she'd remove it herself, but didn't want to un-knit herself). She has been given the all clear to go back to work (no lifting over 10 pounds!) and plans to return on Saturday. She'll have a follow-up mammogram for Dr, M in six months and another appointment with her only at that time.

The area Dr. M removed was 18cm by 24cm (Mom says she's glad she had enough tissue to give). One tumor was 1A, the other was 1B. Each tumor was on opposite sides of her breast. A third growth was forming slightly behind her nipple, so Dr. M just took one large area of tissue instead of punching out individual areas. Mom still hasn't seen pictures from her surgery, but she plans to ask in six months.

Next we met with Dr. R, an oncologist who specializes in chemotherapy. At this time, we still don't know if Mom will need any chemotherapy. The oncotypedx test is still not back (much to the annoyance of Dr. R) which would determine if any chemotherapy would be needed. The lymph nodes that were biopsied during her surgery came back clean (hooray!). Dr. R said Mom has a very boring breast cancer for which we are grateful. He said that her tumors are showing "moderate" growth, meaning they aren't slow or fast growing, just somewhere in the middle. Because of this, it leaves question if there will need to be any chemo. If there is a need for it (come on genetic testing -- hurry and come in!), it will be in pill form. She'll need to start that before she starts radiation. She meets with Dr. R again next Friday. He'll be starting her on a hormone suppressant at that time which she will be on for the next five years (how exciting). On Monday she will be having blood drawn to see what her vitamin D level is at and also to have a bone density scan. Dr. R stresses the importance of healthy bones and healthy habits. He's a great guy.

Finally we met with Dr. G who is an oncologist that specializes in radiation therapy. He has determined Mom will need 6 and 1/2 weeks of daily radiation. Since Mom needs to be on the hormone therapy for four weeks before starting radiation (and because we still don't know if chemo is needed), Mom won't start radiation therapy until the third of January. She'll meet with Dr. G on 12/29 for 4-6 hours to go over the plan, scheduling, etc.

Mom will see Dr. R in a week, then again in a month, then every three months for a year, then every six months. She'll see Dr. G on a weekly basis during her radiation treatment.

Everyone checked out her surgical site and said it all looked really good. Dr. M reminded Mom that in six months she could have reconstructive surgery, but Mom declined. She also has declined a prosthesis (but she does want me to knit her a little falsie -- tee hee!)

Mom only had two questions. 1) Can I still go to Michigan for Christmas? (yep, because radiation won't start until January, and if chemo is needed, it is in pill form), and 2) Will I lose my hair? (only if you go through chemo treatment, you may lose your hair then).

Overall we are both very pleased with the appointment and how things are planned out. Mom received a call from the company that is conducting the tumor testing today and they are having to re-test the samples (which is causing the delay). Not sure why there is a need for re-testing, but the results should be available to Mom's doctors early next week.

So after the appointment, Mom and I swung by her work so she could let them know she was coming back, then we went to have lunch and hunt down a cannoli shop in town (which was within sight of the hospital!) before I had to finally take her back to my brother's home. She'll be back up in December to celebrate Christmas with us. I fought the wind (and my exhaustion all the way home). I was passed out in bed by 7pm.

It's so quiet here without Mom. This morning I lay in bed before getting up for the day fully expecting to hear her upstairs getting ready for the day. Chase is definitely missing Mom, too. He said he had become so used to her being there when he woke up and being here when he got home from school. It definitely is so strange with her not being here.


  1. Emily, it looks like everything is moving right along and the news all looks to be positive [as they can be under these circumstances]. I will continue to keep both of you in my prayers and please remember to let me know if there is anything I can do from afar!

  2. Sounds good, Emily. Still keeping you all in my thoughts.

  3. I am happy your report is good overall, Sorry you miss your mom but you will see her soon and will be knitting away with her again!!

  4. keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers - sounds very positive. Hugs to Chase too. xxx

  5. Glad you seem so calm during this time and forthright too. Will pray that God heal your mom and that you can be a great comfort to her and she to you.

  6. @Tracey

    Thanks, Tracey! Yep, everything seems to be going along the right course and smoothly so far. We're all very pleased.

  7. @Swanski

    Mom is my best friend. It's just so weird not having here right now! But yes, all is well.

  8. Sending you all positive thoughts. Smiling at the idea of your next knitting project!

  9. I am happy to hear it is boring cancer. Hopefully everything continues to go well. Happy knitting....

  10. @Julia

    Thanks! I think if you have to have cancer, boring is best. :)

  11. Just keep taking each day as it comes and finding the 'good news' in each report. I'm still praying with you Emily.

    Blessings, Debbie

  12. @no spring chicken

    Thank you Debbie. Every visit brings good news and I am so thankful for it.