Thursday, January 12, 2017

T-2 weeks

Today is not a very good day.  Most days I go about my business like nothing is even different.  Because you know what?  I don't feel any different.  I don't feel sick.  I'm still running 20-30 miles each week.  I go to work everyday.  I clean my house and feed my kids and it's life as usual.  I feel like every conversation I have about my cancer with a doctor or with a friend, I feel like it's a story about someone else.  Like I'm reading a book or a news article about someone in the community.

Someone else.
Not me.

But it is me.
It's Me.  I have cancer.  It still feels fake even as I'm typing it.

And today, even though I know that I have the non-aggressive markers, even though I know it's not in my lymph tissue, even though my PCP said it was 100% curable, today, I'm scared.

My breast surgeon called me two days ago with the results of the MRI I had.  I have another spot in the same breast in a different area.  It doesn't change the stage of my cancer or anything about the treatment except I now need to go back for another ultrasound.  She wants a marker in the spot where the second tumor is.  It's another one smaller than 1 cm, but seriously?  Another tumor?  This really pissed me off.  Like it's not bad enough that I'm 46 years old and have one tumor.  I need to have two?  ugh

The right breast was clear so that's good at least.  It doesn't help me much with my decision about choosing to have a single or double mastectomy, but at least that one is clear.  One less tit to worry about, I suppose.

So today all I can think about is the what ifs.  What if I can't work?  What if it comes back?  What if it's somewhere else and I have no idea because I AM HEALTHY GODDAMN IT!!

I am supposed to live to be 80 years old and see my kids get married and have kids and graduate college (not necessarily in that order....) etc etc.  That's what I am supposed to do.  But something like this makes you look at your own mortality at a time when I'm not supposed to have to do that.

This is probably going to be no big deal.  I'll get the surgery, I'll get new boobs and I'll move on.  But today I feel a little scared.  I don't want all kinds of pity and boo hoo's and sobbing though.  That just makes me feel worse.  Probably the nicest thing said to me so far was from someone I never would have expected.  What was said?  I will be there every step.  Almost made me cry.  Almost.

Schedule of events for the next two weeks:

1/18 8:00 a.m.--consultation with plastic surgeon
1/18 2:45 p.m.--another ultrasound and possible biopsy and insertion of clip at other tumor site
1/27 7:00 a.m.--surgery arrival time

Two weeks from now this will be all over with.

At least I hope so.  I hope there are not any more surprises.

Monday, January 2, 2017

bad news that isn't as bad as it could be

So I got to meet with the breast cancer surgeon last Thursday.  It actually went quite well.  I had a whole list of questions to make sure I asked her, but she was extremely thorough and I didn't even need to consult my list once.  She went over every last detail and took a full hour to do so.  (I can't even begin to imagine what that cost....)

The short story is:  I have a small <1cm sized invasive ductal carcinoma.  It is grade 1 which she explained but now I can't remember what exactly that means.  (I do know that it is good!) I am ER/PR + which means that the cancer cells have Estrogen/Progesterone receptors and that is good because then we can use tamoxifen post-surgery to continue to kill the cancer cells if any remain.  It is not good in that I have to remove my IUD because it releases estrogen.  boo  I have really enjoyed not being pregnant and not having my period for 11+ years now.  

It also has -Her2neu which is good because that is a growth factor, negative means it's not growing fast.  Lymph nodes are negative and it has a low ki-67/Mib-1 which is also good and means the proliferation index is low.  I believe she described this as a look at how quickly a single cog might turn in a machine.

The tumor is staged at Stage 1--small tumor size, nothing in the nodes and no metastases.

So, overall, this cancer can be 100% cured.  I have to have a complete mastectomy, including the nipple, because the cancer is too near the nipple for her to save it.  A complete mastectomy because basically my boob is too small to take the amount of tissue she needs to take and leave a decent cosmetic result after.  HAHA  She was very professional in the way that she worded that.  If I were a DD, then NBD, but since I'm an A--, sorry Charlie, the whole thing has gotta go.  Tamoxifen for 5-10 years and I'm good to go.

I have to have genetic testing to see if I have the breast cancer marker, I need an MRI to look at the right breast in more detail to be sure there is nothing there and I have to meet with plastics to figure out what I want to do for reconstruction.

I'm a little stuck on what I want to do for reconstruction.  I mean, obviously, I want to have an implant put in for the left breast.  Plastics will make me a new nipple and that is fine.  But what to do about the other boob is where I am stuck.  She said the two boobs really have nothing to do with each other and the likelihood of a mutation in my other breast is .2-.5%/year.  Pretty unlikely.  Genetics will tell me if I have the inherited risk and if that's the case, that number would be different.  MRI will tell me if I have any changes in the right one that might warrant removal as well.  But assuming they are both normal, I'm not sure what I should do.

Do I remove it anyway as a precaution and have them both reconstructed so they look alike?  Like what 46 year old wouldn't want new perky boobs?  amirite?  Is the recovery longer/more difficult if I do both?  If I choose to just do the one, will they look normal or will one be nice and new and the other old and saggy?  Also, if I keep the right breast I have to have an MRI yearly and a mammogram at the 6 month interval.  Forever.  That's A LOT of follow up.

I don't know what to do.  Honestly, I really don't care about my boobs.  I don't care about having big ones or new cleavage or any of that.  I really just kinda want to keep my boobs I have now.  Unfortunately, that isn't a choice.

I just want to look normal in a tank or a bra top.  That's really all.

So I've now gotten past the point where I'm pissed and I now have a plan.  I know what needs to happen and most of what will happen and I can just get going with getting it all done.  I know I'm not going to die from this and I can probably still run my marathon in May and do the relay in June.  I will be able to watch my kids' games and bring them to field hockey and basketball and baseball.  I'm gonna be able to work and support my family and not worry about my business.  And that has made me very relieved.


Unrelated to the cancer shit, I ran 1049 miles for 2016.  I think that is pretty much on track with 2014.  I didn't total up 2015 but I'll assume it was higher since I was training for a marathon that year.  Probably should have banged out one more measley mile to make it an even 1050, but I said fuck it.

Races Run in 2016:

--Mid-Winter Classic 10 miler  February 1:27:01

--LLBean 10k on July 4 50:14  

--Beach to Beacon 10K August 49:58 *new PR 8:03 pace!

--Race to Respond Relay--7 mile leg from Newcastle to Wiscasset, Maine

--Millinocket Half Marathon December (in northern Maine.  In 12* weather.) 2:02:xx  I should definitely get badass points for that.

me being very shy about being on the news

coming in to the finish.  cold af

I'm still an InknBurn ambassador for another 6 months and then they will be cleaning everyone out and getting all new.  They have a bunch of cool new stuff so if you haven't checked them out lately, you should.

Happy New Year to everyone.  I had a lot of stuff planned for this year race-wise so I hope I get to do it all.  I'll likely be updating here regarding my treatment and surgery and recovery so stay tuned if you want to hear about that.

Any thoughts on the other boob?  New set or just the one?