Several friends have suggested that I set up this site to make it easier for me and Richard to provide updates. So, here goes. As most of you already know, I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. Wow, that's a crazy statistic.
My journey began at the end of February with a routine, annual screening mammogram. I was called back because they identified a suspicious mass in my left breast. The next week, I returned for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. This time they found two small masses in my left breast. A few days later, I had a biopsy and by mid-March, we knew that I had breast cancer. Later I had an MRI that disclosed a suspicious mass in my right breast, but a biopsy disclosed that was a benign papilloma.
What do we know about my cancer? We know that it is invasive ductal carcinoma, that I have two very small tumors and that they are very close together. We also know that they are estrogen and progesterone receptors, but HER negative (which is a good thing). Based on all the scans so far, the cancer does not appear to have spread to the lymph nodes. My surgeon (more on that shortly) said that based on clinical indicators, she estimated my cancer would be Stage 1a (also a good thing).
What are we doing for treatment? We (Richard and I) met with the entire medical team on April 6, 2018. First step in treatment is surgery -- I am having oncoplastic surgery. What is that? It is surgery that combines cancer and plastic surgery in one procedure. My procedure will combine lumpectomy plus breast reduction, enabling them to take out more breast tissue around the tumors and get larger margins. They also plan to remove the papilloma in my right breast; while benign, it is still irregular.
After surgery, they will analyze the tumors and do something called oncotyping, which will help us determine whether I would benefit from chemo. Many women today do not receive chemo as part of their breast cancer treatment, but for some women, even with early onset cancer, chemo can still decrease the rate of recurrence. That's a decision we will make after getting the pathology and oncotyping results. If we decide on chemo, that will be the next step. If not, the next step will be radiation treatment. Radiation treatment will last for 3 to 6 weeks. After radiation treatment, I start hormone therapy, which is a daily pill for 5 years or more.
When will all this start? We are celebrating my son, Adin's, bar mitzvah on Saturday, May 19 (the photo at the top of this page was taken at the rehearsal). The doctors told me there was no medical reason I had to start treatment right away and I could safely wait until after the bar mitzvah -- keeping the focus on Adin for this amazing day. So. my surgery is scheduled for May 23, I will be in the hospital overnight and then at home recovering for 4 to 6 weeks.
Richard and I will try to post updates as we learn new information. For now, I am eagerly anticipating a special family celebration this weekend!!