Just as I began celebrating my 10 year Cancerversary in May, I have learned that I have breast cancer again!!! The first time 10 years ago, at age 39, was unbelievable… this time around I am just in complete shock! After 5 years, I was supposed to be done, no more worries… the chance of it coming back was greatly reduced after that five year mark.
Still, you just never know. So… you go every year for your mammogram, you feel yourself up every month to make sure nothing had popped up unexpectedly. The docs call this a new primary. This is very different from a recurrence apparently. It is not from the cancer that I “beat” before. Hmmm…. they said I just got struck by lightning twice. Well, they said that only AFTER they did the BRCA testing again. Almost certain that they would find that I had the gene… my vials of blood were off to be tested. Surely it will come back positive this time even though 10 years ago it was negative. Testing has improved so much… it is much better now and when I did it 10 years ago it was a brand new test after all! Within a week I learned that I was once again negative for BRCA, which is great news since I will not worry as much about my sister getting breast cancer now. I also can be grateful that my son will not pass a “bad” cancer gene onto his children. Relief, too, that I may not have to worry about ovarian cancer which is also linked to BRCA. Whew…
Well, not so fast… I still have CANCER. WTF! I have triple negative breast cancer (same as last time) which is the aggressive one that likes to grow and spread fast. I went to 2 different oncologists to see if treatment plan would be the same or similar and they were. My sister came to every appointment starting with two different surgeons, followed by two oncologists and then two plastic surgeons if I choose to reconstruct after a bilateral mastectomy. So, treatment starts immediately, chemotherapy first before surgery this time. They want to see if the chemo cocktail shrinks the tumor, then surgery this time will likely be z bilateral mastectomy followed by reconstruction. Possibly 3 different phases of surgery over 6 to 8 months. That won’t start until the Fall after the chemotherapy, so one step at a time. The surgery sounds easy compared to the chemotherapy. I will be getting different medicine because there is a lifetime maximum for the good one called Adriamycin that I started with 10 years ago… because it causes heart issues if too much is given during a persons lifetime. So this will be a Cytoxin / Taxotere combo given once every 3 weeks for 4 cycles. 12 weeks in all, unless they feel they need to add two more cycles at that time. Docs will monitor how the mass is affected. It is not as large as the first time around. This is 1.7 cm and the last one was over 3cm. So that is a plus as I am hoping that this time, as with last, it did not spread to lymph nodes. I will not know that until surgery when they will remove at least one to take a look. Taking it one step at a time… I’ll post an update soon!
1 thought on “10 Years Later…”
Knowledge is good especially during this BS cancer. You know what’s going on and what lies ahead, and this will help you beat this. Jill and I will continue to read your blogs and we will continue to pray for you and your family.