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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.
UPDATE: I had 4 lymph nodes removed during surgery. 3 of the four had cancer in them.
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, 2016 • The first 4 AC infusions are every other week. • The next 12 Taxol infusions are weekly. (last infusion is March 16, 2017) • Lumpectomy performed April 19, 2017 • Radiation May-July 2017 • Followed by 5 years of hormone therapy.