Wednesday, August 27, 2008

To boob, or not to boob

Last Friday, Mike and I met with my Oncologist- Dr. H. The general rule is- anyone under 35 gets chemo. So I will be getting chemo. What kind and for how long is all riding on final pathology from my surgery. So yes- my hair will fall out, yes - I will be exhausted and yes- they are going to be very aggressive with the dosage. There are some other factors too that we are still waiting to hear about. In malignant tumors there can be receptors, and if my cancer has one of two (or both) receptors there will be another 1 - 5 years of therapy, but we didn't talk specifics since I may or may not have to deal with it.

On Monday, Mike and I went back for our surgical consult with Dr. Bob. Basically, I have 2 choices for surgery:

1. Lumpectomy (removal of the cancerous tissue and lymph nodes) - in order to do this type of surgery I would have 2 additional core biopsies (with the "turkey carving knife probe"), then have genetic testing to see if I am one of the 10% who carry the genetic mutation for breast/ovarian cancer, if it's negative, then they would remove the tissue and leave what they can. I'm not working with a whole lot of boob in the first place, so I would be lumpy on once side and basically deformed on the other side. Then up to 6 months of Chemo, and 30 days (every day) of Radiation and then every 6 months for the rest of my life - a MRI. And the cancer could come back.

2. Bi-Lateral (Double) Mastectomy (removal of the breast) - no additional biopsies, surgery to remove the breast tissue which would leave about a 3-4 inch scar on both sides, and removal of the lymph nodes on the right side. Up to 6 months of Chemo, possibly no radiation, breast reconstruction surgery (saline implants) after remission and a 1% chance that the cancer would come back.

On Tuesday morning I called Dr. Bob and scheduled the Double Mastectomy. (Hey- I'm no gambler). We are having the surgery done on Friday (in 2 days!). It was more of a decision of what I did not want, than what I did want. I did not want to have to deal with the fear of the cancer returning every 6 months. I know how anxious and obsessive I am now, so there was NO WAY I was going to deal with that anxiety forever. I felt that maybe if I were significantly older it might be different, but I'm 30 and if I live another 50 years...that's 100 MRIs I'd have to go though, plus who knows what else.

Later in the day my Ob/Gyn Dr. P called and said something that really helped..."you don't need your breasts". I admire her so much and she is incredibly realistic. Her words and support lifted that nauseous/sick feeling I'd had for the past 24 hours and I became "K.C." again. I also spoke with Nurse Practitioner A. from my Ob/Gyn office and she was 100% on board with my decision as well. I love her- she just gets it.

So, that's the decision...I'm a little scared, but I know it's the best choice for me and my family. This will probably he a harder emotional recovery than physical, but it's a part of the process to become cancer free. I'll be getting some nice new boobs courtesy of Aetna in a few months...but in the meantime it's "chicken cutlets".


Caitlin Domanico Photography said...

I very much "get" what you are doing and think it is an amazingly brave but 100% smart choice. I will be thinking of you!

Hey cant you just use those nipple pads you sew? Just add some extra fluff:):):) xoxooxo.

I love bath time! said...

Hey KC! Please know that we are all thinking of you here at GSI and are wishing you the best!

- Team Ags

Carrie said...

Good luck my dear. We are all thinking of you. Let me know if you want more food!!! Hugs, Carolyn