Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pathology Report

Cancer sucks! That is all I have to say…. IT SUCKS!!!
My life lately has been a series of events that at times, seems out of control and crazy. Not having control and feeling helpless is hard for me, but I am learning… slowly. Right now my infection seems to be gone, at least it hasn’t come back since coming off of the antibiotics so cheering is in order – YEAH!!! As long as it doesn’t come back, then everything can go according to plan.
So, on Tuesday, the 2nd, I finally met my medical oncologist – Vickie Lee. What a great woman she is and comforting – very helpful.  It was the day I learned “my plan” as far as the pathology report and what to expect or do next. Jeremy and I are waiting in the room for quite a while and she comes in.
“So, how did you know to come in, in the first place? You do have negative nodes,” she says.
“My gynecologist likes her patients to have a baseline mammogram before age 40 so I decided to get it over with and just schedule the thing.”
Dr. Lee, “So you weren’t sick, didn’t feel it, nothing?”
“Nope,” I answered.
And we go on to talk about how I am feeling now, my road so far and she asked me if I had seen my pathology report, so we looked at it and she started talking.
“So the tumor was 1.5cm, and you are a grade 3……”
I just started crying and she paused and really I don’t remember much of what she said after that. You see I knew from all my reading and researching that grade 3 was the worst case scenario and meant it was very aggressive, my thought was, “I am dying.” I sobbed, and not just tears streaming down but full on sobbing, can’t breathe, feel closed in, and no talking. She held my hand, Jeremy rubbed my back, and she said, “But your nodes are negative, you are going to get through this.”
And that is the part I knew. The questions all made sense from the moment she stepped in – I can put two and two together. Dr. Lee was surprised with a grade 3 tumor, how it was possible the lymphnodes were negative? Un-freaking-believable. That was the justification for my tears, I had skirted death for now. I wouldn’t necessarily be fighting for my life, but fighting to make sure it didn’t come back again. She said to me that given six more months the conversation would have been different, it probably would have made it to my lymph system and by then it is a full on “get your dukes up” fight. Still sobbing, couldn’t stop. But this is how she put it into perspective – with a chart, circling my pathology stuff (oh how I love charts).

< 1.0 cm
1.0 – 2.0 cm
> 2.0 cm




Then we talked about chemo and the oncotype. Since I am all those things above, I am a candidate for the oncotype. The scores she broke down again with 1-17 no chemo 17-31 middle of the road chemo and >31 is an attack with chemo. She knows that I will be above 17, but by how much, she doesn’t know. Because of my grade chemo is inevitable. Well, let me take that back… I could choose to not do any kind of chemo and my chances of a relapse are 32%. So with chemo and tamoxefin my chances of relapse are 9% over a ten year period. Still seems high to me, but I will take it, well there isn’t a choice not to at this point is there. Unless I want to play a game with death…. Uh, no thanks.
We talked more, I cried more, couldn’t stop really, Jeremy held me, Dr. Lee held my hand. Moment of weakness? I am allowed. In fact I have been having them a lot lately. Somehow, I still get out of bed in the morning and get motivated. I am determined I have an angel looking out for me, let’s call him Brian…….. thank you, Mr. Angel.

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