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After discovering an indent in my left breast in late September, I made an appointment with my dr. to get it looked at. She could not feel a lump (I couldn't either) but agreed it was something worth looking at and sent me on to have a mammogram. The mammogram found 3 spots: 1 and in each breast and 1 in a lymph node. Each spot was 1 cm in size. As soon as they mentioned the lymph node, I knew. They got me scheduled for a needle core biopsy within the same hour. The next day, October 11, 2016 I received the results. The right breast was just a fibrous spot, but the left breast and lymph node had cancer. Small is size which is good, but that lymph node is bad, no matter what the size.
The next few weeks went quickly. I met with a surgeon and an oncologist. That lymph node condemned me to chemo and my young age (ha!) meant they wanted to be aggressive in treatment. I just needed to decide if I wanted chemo before or after surgery. Having it before (neoadjuvant chemo) means you can see if the chemo actually affects the tumor or not. It also means I could have a sentinal node biopsy, which could reduce the the number of nodes removed and reduce the chance of Lymphedema later on. So, I chose chemo before surgery.
The chemo I am getting is called AC-T. Four infusions of AC (adriamycin and cytoxan) every other week and 12 infusions of Taxol weekly. The AC part of my treatment can cause congestive heart failure! YAY! This meant I had to get an echo cardiogram before treatment and another one after the first treatment to monitor any heart changes. I also am on a statin to protect my heart.
On October 26, I had a port installed (a catheter to allow easy access to my vein) and on November 3, I started chemo. It was a whirlwind of a month.
My diagnosis is: • Stage 2a Invasive Ductal Carcinoma • Grade 2 • ER+/PR+, HER2-
The Plan: • I started chemo November 3 • The first 4 AC infusions are every other week. • The next 12 Taxol infusions are weekly. (last infusion is March 16, 2017) • I will then have surgery TBD based on genetic testing. • Then possibly radiation depending on what kind of surgery. • Followed by years of hormone therapy.