Today was my medical drama day! It's the day that my surgeon presented my case at a breast cancer symposium. I've tried to picture all day what it was like...surgeon, physicians, oncologists, plastic surgeons and other medical professionals gathered together. They are gathered together in a room, coffee and a danish on the table in front of them (I would have preferred cream-cheese), and then the spotlight is on me...or the C-sized parts of me.
I've been thinking of medical drama episodes on television: Grey's Anatomy, House, and ER...might even add in some Guiding Light, General Hospital and Young and the Restless. McDreamy, McSteamy, House, George Clooney, and Rick Bauer all sitting around discussing my case. I suppose as films and ultrasound results of my chest are flashed up for all to see, someone says, (I think it might sound better if you imagine this is in a deep, masculine voice -kind of like Chief Webber on Grey's) "... 38 year old female, recently diagnosed with IDC*. No family history, no alcohol use, no drug use, no tobacco use. Breast-fed three children, with first live birth at age 24. Patient is not peri or post-menopausal." Then they use a lot of terminology that I haven't learned yet (or don't know the results of yet), and then proceed to discuss how they believe my journey should proceed.
IDC is Invasive or Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma. The "I" portion refers to the fact that the cancer has spread outside of the duct, invading the surrounding tissues. With this type of cancer, the cells may travel to other parts of your body or lymph nodes. (We don't know if mine have yet.) The "D" portion refers to the origin, which means that the cancer originated in the lining of a milk duct within my breast, and I think you can figure out what the "C" stands for.
More than180,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with Invasive Breast Cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society. The majority of those diagnosed have invasive ductal carcinoma. Generally two-thirds of the women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer are aged 55 or older when diagnosed.
It has been my prayer today that God utilize the knowledge and wisdom of the physicians gathered together, and that collectively, harmoniously and unanimously they decide the best course of treatment for my cancer. (Think otherwise; Who wants to hear that by a vote of 8-6 your treatment was decided ???)
Earlier this evening, I was ready to publish this post, and Dr. Martin called with great news! Thanks to God!
My Estrogen Receptor (ER) is positive at 100%, and the Progesterone Receptor (PR) is positive at 90%. I'll share more about what this means tomorrow (as I research myself), but apparently it's great news! HER2 results are not available. My tumor is between 2 and 3 cm. Dr. Martin was very excited and said those were the best results we could have received! He said he called Saturday with bad news, but wanted to call today with great news : )
He also reported on the symposium. The symposium was held this morning, with surgeons, oncologists, plastic surgeons, and radiation oncologists (I think that's what they were called?). They were all unanimous and agreed with Dr. Martin's proposed treatment plan of a double mastectomy followed by chemotherapy. If my lymph nodes are indeed negative, there is a high chance that after my mastectomy, I will be cancer free!!!
Chemotherapy would be done as an added measure to prevent possible recurrence. "If you have a garden, you pull the weeds, but you still might spray the garden after", said Dr. Martin.
Tomorrow is my MRI, and I pray that the results of it will be as positive as the ones I received today.
It was a "sprinkle day" after all...THANK YOU for your support and prayers!