Dori is a bit of a ditz but she has a great philosophy about what to do when you don't know what to do, "Just keep swimming......just keep swimming....just keep swimming." That's what I feel like I'm doing right now. I'm just keeping swimming in-between allt he big tests, the blood tests, the appointments, and the conversations with surgeons and oncologists. Even though they seem overwhelming to me most of the time, I'm a bit like Dori and I "Just keep swimming."
Today's adventure was setting up the appointment for a sentinel node biopsy and a new core biopsy of this weird tumor that gives the pathologists such strange results. That pushes off the first chemotherapy, I THINK. I'm not sure. I now have an e-mail in to the oncologist to see for sure. It might actually be a little cool by the time I lose my hair!
I'm very excited that Mr. K, my principal has approved my scheme to raise money for Relay for Life. I tried to record a promo for the school news today, but the mysteries of electronics prevented that. Maybe tomorrow, eh? I'm hoping we'll get a bunch of money for R for L.
The reason for the Sentinel Node Biopsy is that since I'm doing neoadjuvant (or before surgery) chemotherapy, I'll never get a chance to have my tumor staged. Staging is relatively important, but it's not everything. My MRI says that my lymph nodes are not likely to be involved (infested with cancer), but the only way to know for sure is to get a biopsy. The Sentinel Node is the principle node for the arm, and she will harvest a few other nodes as well, but I won't likely end up with the drastic swelling and impairement that women used to have to deal with when node examination had to always be so invasive. This has to be done on the arm with my dominant hand, so I want to preserve it as best as possible, but I also want to know if the cancer has decided to migrate from its original location through my bloodstream.
The surgeon today asked me if she wanted her to take out the lump when she had me under for the SNB, but I just turned it back to her, and said, "And how will I know if the chemo works on the tumor if you take it out?" She replied that most patients want it out, out, out, but that she thought I was wise with my strange profile and the limited number of drugs that may effect and/or affect the tumor to keep it inside me until she could do the more dramatic surgery later.
So the oncologist is pretty much telling me that my chances are just as good if I do the chemo before, as they are if I do the chemo after the surgery. The surgeon is definitely giving me good "marks" for my research, and complimented me on learning so much and being a very well educated cancer patient. God I hope I'm making the right decisions! Only time will truly tell.....for real.