Well, as you know I did end up having to have 4 chemo treatments. One every three weeks – four total.
The ONCO DX testing generally puts one in one of three categories….low, intermediate, high. If you fall in the high range then you definately have chemo. If you fall in the low range then you typically do not do chemo as the risks and symptoms outweigh the benefit of the chemo so there’s really no point. Then there is the intermediate range….this one is tricky. You may or may not need chemo based on the variables that are specific to you…age, type of tumor, aggresiveness, etc. The cutoff range for low to intermediate is 17. My number was 18. I was like you have got to be kiddning me. ONE FREAKIN POINT!! But, like my oncologist said, “you have to draw the line somewhere”. Even though my cancer was caught early in stage 1 it was an aggressive cancer and he felt we should do the chemo. I recieved the lowest dose possible of taxofare and cytoxin. I had many symptoms, see previous posts. The latest addition is this terribly terribly itchy red rash that covers my body in huge patches. I also wake up each morning with blood clots in my mucus when I blow my nose. I have also started this wheezy chest cough and tightness in my chest with pain at 4-5am each morning. My chest hurts continually, like heartburn mostly. Strange. After benadryl every 4 hrs for a few days and a visit to ER…they finally got it under control with Atarax and zyrtec. ugh! If I don’t take it it comes back. What a pain.
I am on the verge of my last chemo treatment this week. Thursday to be exact. Honestly, I do not want to go. I know what will happen the weeks to follow. I know my body is being poisoned. I know my body is starting to feel poisoned and it gets a little more complicated each time. I also know this is helpful and decreases my chances of reoccurance and increases my chances of survival. One more, just one more. I will take my blankie and cap my Nancy knitted for me to keep me warm. when I leave I will have a big smile on my face…for even though the two weeks to follow will be hell…I can do it. I will do. I will be done!
After this I start taking the tamoxifin medication and frequent office visits to monitor me. I am almost there. Two more battles to fight. If Breast Cancer wasn’t enough, they have also found a 2″ cyst on my right ovary and 1″ one on my left. I will next need to decide on what to do about that. Come fall I will be at my 1 yr survivor celebration and at that time should be undergoing breast reconstruction. I have been thinking about the choices and implants are just not for me. If I do decide to do reconstruction I am leaning towards the DIEP reconstruction method. This is a micro surgery that only 40 physicians perform in the USA. I have chosen Dr. Massey out of Chicago. She only perfoms this surgery in New Orleans. Insuranance is now required by fedreal law to cover breast reconstruction with a diagnosis of Breast Cancer. Years past they did not as they called it a “cosmetic surgery” and women didn’t need reconstruction as it was just a beauty thing. Once again these were probably men who thought this up. While I certainly do not need new breasts and feel as though whether I have breasts or not do not make me who I am….it would be nice to have new ones, small ones. I would even be happy not to have any. I like me the way I am irregardless. But, unfortunately not all woman feel this way and I respect that. Once again, do what feels good for you. At first I was all for reconstruction. Then after surgery I was like, no I am fine this way. The jiggly fluid has cleared for the most part and I have to little mini boobs…they aren’t even but I don’t care. Why go through another major surgery? But, again, voices told me I have a long life to live and I am still young…..it would be nice to have small new boobs. Shape myself up a little. Hell, after all this I deserve too. I joke with Sean, he says I need to get to exercising, loose this excess weight. He is correct, but then I shake my tummy and tell him I have to keep my potential new boobs…LOL.
I do not want implants. I don’t like the idea of cutting any of my muscles whether back or abdomen to create flaps to then insert foreign material behind it to create breasts. The weakening of the muscles and the hardness, coldness of it all just doesn’t appeal to me. Instead I want the DIEP procedure where they take your own fat and tissue from your abdomen and relocate it to make breasts. They re-route blood vessels in your abdomen to supply blood to the tissue and wa-lah…new warm more natural feeling moving breasts. Basically you get a tummy tuck and new boobs. It is the cadillac procedure of breast reconstruction. Of course it has it’s risks as well. Its a long surgery that takes two highly skilled surgeons. It is a two week stay in New Orleans and is performed at the premier breast reconstruction hospital. I would need to be in the hospital the first 4-5 days then find lodging in the area for the week after that for follow up and to make sure there aren’t any complications. Follow-up from there can be done back home here in Chicago once cleared to go.
Now all we have to do is save enough money to stay in New Orleans a week (and money for yummy food…LOL).