Monday, October 22, 2007


I'd like you to meet Elvira (the dark spot among the lighter material). Elvira is what I named my tumor. Today's ultrasound of Elvira shows that she is about 1/4 to 1/3 smaller than she used to be. The chemotherapy is working! I think the technician was a bit startled when I wanted a picture of my tumor, but I want to be able to visualize it and hold the image up and look at my enemy.

The breast surgeon today helped to clarify WHEN the surgery would take place on my breast. It will be three weeks after my chemotherapy is done, which is likely to be sometime in late January or early February.

The type and breadth (literally) of the surgery is so muddled in my mind right now that I have no idea what I want the surgeons to do. I talked to a plastic surgeon today, and he does not feel I am a candidate for any of the reonstruction techniques that I was favoring, should I elect to have a skin-sparing mastectomy. My fatness definitely limits what the plastic surgeon feels is possible.

I got some materials from the insurance company today regarding my upcoming trip to MD Anderson in Houston. I'm glad that I am going. I'm glad that I get to talk to some different surgeons and get some other ideas. I need more input about the surgical options because I want to do everything I can to limit the chances of cancer returning -- everything. Especially because I am a triple negative, there are just no treatment options available to me once I've completed surgery and radiation. So, I feel I have to be particularly thorough in my surgical options. Yet, there are some real differences in the perception of acceptable risk involved here.

I get to decide what treatment option I want, but I need more information to discern what option is my best bet. I need information from other women who've had a mastectomy and are larger women. The plastic surgeon today said that breast reduction wouldn't hurt at all. (Seriously.) Now you and I know that once scalpels are involved so is pain. How can a surgeon ethically tell a patient that cutting on them will not hurt? That's just crap. (And this guy is highly unlikely to be doing my surgery too!) Thankfully, I have a few months to research these options and sort through the variables. I need that time right now.

What I take away from today more than anything is that with two chemo treatments down, a difference has been made in the tumor. I have to take hope and heart from that. Another day when I'm not so overwhelmed by cancer, cancer, cancer I will think and research my options for surgical intervention.


Anonymous said...

I hope he was referring to it helping you rather than the pain? Cuz, Baby, it is a painful surgery. Didn't help that I couldn't take anything but Tylenol then or I would throw it up (which hurt Worse!) Nor that I was married to an idiot at the time who kept saying it was an elective surgery... I will say that it was worth it, though. Instant 5# off the scale....From a FF to a D in 40 minutes.... I would do it again... Article on MSN tonight about how many women are opting for both going rather than just the affected breast. Maybe he was referring to that?

Susan said...

Great news on the reduction in size of the tumor!

So much to think about for you, it is mind boggling I am sure. Maybe the second opinion in Texas will help to clarify things.

Love that you have named your enemy!