I had my initial consultation with the oncologist, and want to let you know what he said...
It wasn't the best news, but we do have a plan, and I have an excellent chance of beating this stupid cancer. The tumor is A LOT bigger than everyone thought. 6cm as opposed to 1.4, or 2.8, which was what the first couple of reports told us. The oncologist (Dr. Mulvey) thinks that probably a lymph gland is affected, and that if the tumor was taken out right now, it would have to be a mastectomy, instead of a lumpectomy (because of its size). Then chemotherapy and hormone blockers.
He gave me another option...chemo immediately (6 sessions - 18 weeks to complete) to shrink the tumor so a lumpectomy could be done after (far less invasive than mastectomy) PLUS they could track how effective the chemo is on this cancer before surgery. Following chemo and surgery, radiation and the hormone blockers. After listening to this very knowledgable and kind doctor, I have decided to have the chemo first to shrink it, then the surgery, radiation and hormone blocker. I will start next week.
I will lose my hair. ( I was pretty teary as I left the cancer center, and another patient who'd overheard my conversation with the nurses came up to our car and said, "Honey, when your hair falls out that just means you are getting better!" I will choose that very same attitude) I will not have to get nauseous because they will give me relief. I will go in once every 3 weeks for a 3 hour session. I will be done with chemo and surgery by the beginning of December! I went for a tour of the infusion room, which looked to me like a beauty shop with big picture windows that look out onto a pretty waterfall.
This is all so overwhelming and is happening so fast. I'm not going to lie - we shed some tears in Dr. Mulvey's office. But I have a good percentage rate of being cured if I do everything they want me to do on their timetable. I will continue to work as much as possible through this - there may be a day here and there that I am too exhausted to work - or maybe a few shortened days, but I intend to work and to keep as normal a life as possible going. I also still plan on walking that half-marathon Oct. 20 in San Francisco, as long as the date doesn't interfere with one of my treatments. We were told that exercise is a key factor to fighting the effects of chemo so I will try and walk every day. I have a few more tests this week, then a port will be put in Thursday morning for the chemo treatments (to aid in distributing the meds accurately and safely) and off we go...
Dennis has been in every conversation and every appointment and has been such a source of strength. This is not easy for him either, but he is a rock and is ready to fight with me! And I've got my God to lean on - I fully trust He will get us through this. Jesus loves me, THIS I know.
So that's it in a nutshell. I am asking for one specific prayer: that this cancer responds to the chemotherapy! I have felt God's peace throughout the past couple of weeks, and I know for a fact that it is because of your prayers, my dear friends and family.
Again, Isaiah 41:10: "Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."