Thursday, June 28, 2018

Chemo Worked

I had my post-chemo ultrasound on Thursday, and...

There was NO CANCER there to be measured.  They had a hard time finding the biopsy clips in my breast and lymph node.  The tumor bed (scar tissue, basically) could be seen, but nothing measurable.

That is an amazing response to chemo!

I grinned when the radiologist told me the news, and then started crying when I came back to the waiting room to let Jamie know the results.  Chemo was hard.  It'll take me some time still to recover from it, but it was worth it.

Jamie and I met with my PA and Surgeon this morning (love them!) to go over the results and discuss my upcoming surgery.

On July 20th, I'll have a bilateral mastectomy and complete (right side) axillary lymph node dissection.  This means that both my breasts will be removed - tissue and skin, but no underlying muscle - along with all the lymph nodes in my right arm.  Dr. Miggins will make me as flat as possible both for ease of radiation after, and so that I'll have an easier time living with being flat for the next year/year and a half until reconstruction can take place.

We discussed the possible complications from surgery, what aftercare will look like, and what my lymphedema risk is.  I ordered a lymphedema bracelet to wear (no blood pressure cuff, blood taken, or injections given in that arm for the rest of my life), but can hold off on ordering a sleeve unless I develop actual lymphedema in my arm.  Surgery will take 4-5 hours on that Friday, and I'll go back for a post-op appointment about a week and a half later.  We should have the surgical pathology results at the time.  I was also given referrals to a couple of reconstructive surgeons.  I'll set up appointments with them pre-surgery to see who I like and what their recommendations are for me for reconstruction post radiation, and then won't see them again until after radiation is complete.

Yes, radiation is still a go, even with the great response to chemo.  The reason is the same as that for continuing to take all of my (right arm) lymph nodes - to give me the best chance of a long, healthy life with no breast cancer recurrence.  I'm young and my oncology team wants to do everything they can for me.  I'm good with that.

On to phase 2!

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