wide-eyed at 4am

Oncology Surgeon #1: May 29

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She’s amazing. But I had heard about her because I’ve known her father for quite a few years. I remember his telling me about the brilliant daughter in med school: The amazing girl who was doing her residency at Georgetown. Now I have that brilliant girl for my doctor. Somehow knowing what kind of family she comes from is comforting and gave me a great deal of confidence in her from the very beginning. So I really do feel like fate put me in her office on May 29.

She explains, draws pictures, hugs, brings you water and crackers, listens, and then explains again. I don’t know any of the other doctors on my “team” but since she has chosen them, they must be the best. Nothing against them, but I hope I won’t have to meet them all.DSC_0021

I think I sort of floated into the examination room. Pictures of my breast were put up on every available light box and the explanation began. As the doctor drew pictures she also wrote a 4 point treatment plan:

  1. Mastectomy
  2. Chemotherapy (2-4 months)
  3. Radiation (every day for 6 weeks)
  4. Oral Hormone Therapy

Suddenly the floating stopped and it became real. All of those images, the shadows she was pointing to: It was all about me. My name was attached to that plan. Just a few months ago, I would not have guessed that the words mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation would ever be in a plan for me.

Oh – I get it. And then I got light-headed and had to go back to the examination table to lie down.

Hey – at least I didn’t just pass out and cause a plethora of paper work on my first visit!  Hopefully, that is the only one of those moments that I’ll have.

I learned a lot during this visit. I learned all about the cancer that I have. What doctors “like” about it and “dislike” about it.

DSC_0023It’s lobular invasive… only 20% of the women who get breast cancer get this type. Ductile is more common. It is non-aggressive (the thing they like) but it is not an encapsulated mass so it cannot be treated with a lumpectomy. Besides that, I have 2 areas in 2 quadrants of 1 breast and when that happens there isn’t really a reason to try to do a lumpectomy. This cancer is made up of tiny tumors with fingers that grow out from the little nodes. That’s why it is invasive because instead of staying in the node it goes outside of the node and invades the space there. This is one of the things they dislike because the cancer isn’t contained and pretty much unless you take the entire breast you don’t know if you’re leaving any of those little fingers around to haunt you later.

I’m very much in favor of just getting rid of whatever needs to be removed. I don’t want anything haunting me later.

So the next step – since I have such dense breast tissue – is an MRI. The doctor is hoping that she can see where the fingers may reach to and how much of the tissue in that breast is taken up by cancer.

So on June 5 (the day we planned to leave for a visit with the kids and grandkids in Tampa) I would have a quick MRI at 8:30am. I would be on my way to Tampa and meet up with my doctor the next Friday (June 12) to discuss the MRI and plan the surgery.


Author: jillpurdy

A few months ago I wasn't but now I'm a statistic. That doesn't define me. I'm a daughter, a sister, a wife, a step mom, a grandmother, a friend and a Christian. I will continue to love exercise, music, cooking and food, and my family and friends. I'm stubborn, energetic, giving and too OCD for my own good sometimes. And I'm going to stay this way - despite cancer and the treatments that it takes to give it the royal beatdown.

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