Melissa’s Story

Site created on July 31, 2019

Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Melissa Peebles

Mixed news to share.   The good:  Pathology report says clear margins for both breasts. The left axillary lymph nodes are also clear.  Huge relief— so thankful! 🙏

The bad:  Four of the right axillary lymph nodes still had cancer cells.  

The reason why?  Left breast had a faster growing ductal cancer tumour, so chemo works better on those types of cells.  The right breast had slower growing lobular cancer cells, more tumors and positive lymph nodes.  Chemo helps this type, but not the highest success rate.  

Next treatment:  Once I’m completely healed, I’ll have radiation to the chest wall and right axillary area.   It should take care of the slower growing cancer cells.  

Minor detour:  I’m going for out-patient surgery tomorrow to remove tissue expanders, which were placed immediately after double mastectomy surgery.  It was part 1 of “delayed immediate reconstruction”.  Why?  The tissue expanders HURT!  Way more than just discomfort. It feels like I have metal rods across my chest and the pain has not improved yet by week 3 of healing.  It’s not related to mastectomies.  This is separate and unnecessary.  

Also, I’m allergic to pain medicines Rx’d for major surgeries, so was sent home with muscle relaxers and Tramadol.  Apparently I’m also allergic to those Rxs because on the 3rd day of recovery I began breaking out in hives, bad enough that my Allergist put me back on prednisone.  Prednisone steroid can slow wound healing, so not the best for me just out of surgery.  Since I’m not a good candidate for breast implants due to the type of radiation treatments I’ll have, my only option is DIEP Flap reconstruction (using analogous tissue).  After my experience with unmanaged pain after surgery, hives and pain from tissue expanders, I’ve decided not to continue with reconstruction surgeries after I’m done with radiation.  This is the right decision for me.  

I’m not here to judge or promote “going flat” or reconstruction.  Like each unique cancer diagnosis, there are multiple variables to consider.  Nothing is absolutely right or wrong.  All we can do is love ourselves and others for who we are today.  Not our past or future selves, but today.  For me, I’m good with my decision to remove the tissue expanders and focus on being as healthy as I can right now.  I hope after reading this you’ll do something for yourself, too, right now today.  Don’t procrastinate taking care of yourself!

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