Friday, March 14, 2014

Pathology is Back....

Today I met with the breast surgeon and the medical oncologist to discuss the pathology report from the surgery and plan future treatments.  Based on the full report, my breast tissue and nine lymph nodes were sent for complete testing.  NO CANCER CELLS FOUND.  

Now, based on this information, the doctors are at a crossroads, "Do we do radiation or not?".  Standard practice is to do radiation based on the initial diagnosis of cancer.  It's based on the fact that I had more than 5cms combined of cancer.  That's more than 5 billion cancer cells.  It makes sense to radiate that.

However.... I have had complete pathologic response to treatment.  Not only is that unusual, but the type of cancer I have is unusual.  And not only that, but the treatment I received was not typical either.  As I stated at an earlier time, I received a hybrid therapy of chemotherapy.  The doctors do not have experience with this outcome, nor do they have literature or testing of any kind to relate.

I understand that radiation ensures that the cancer will not come back.  However, if there are no cancer cells left, then radiating my body only damages good tissue.  There are short term and long term effects to radiation.  I just want to make sure that everyone involved, myself and the doctors, are all making the best decision based on ME and my needs, and not just going with what they are used to doing.

The horse died with chemo.  Then we cut it up and threw it out with the mastectomy.  Do we really need to burn the ground it died on??

Anyway, it will take a lot of reading, asking questions, and frankly talking with all the doctors involved in my care.  I will meet with the radiation oncologist next Friday before my hormonal treatment of Herceptin.  And the decision will probably not be made right away, as it will likely take some time for everyone to agree.  I'm not against it if it's necessary.  I just want to make damn sure it's necessary.

As far as other treatments at this point, the oncologist wants to put me on Tamoxifen soon.  This will ensure my body stays in a state of menopause so that no estrogen is being produced.  Because my cancer grows with estrogen, all bases will be covered, no body parts producing it with Tamoxifen, and no cells receiving it with Herceptin.

That's all for now.  I'm winning at cancer.  

1 comment:

  1. Ann,
    I am one of Rita's Pharmacology IV students and I just want to thank you for allowing her and us to use your blog as our case study. I learned so much and I really appreciate your openness and transparency throughout the blog. I was very pleased to reach the end of the blog and see your pathology results! Congrats!