Wow, I haven't written much about the whole breast cancer thing in a while. There hasn't really been much to update about besides the blood work I get done every 6 weeks and the Herceptin treatment every 3 weeks. I have only 2 more Herceptin treatments to go, my last one will be December 28, 2009. I kinda got screwed over on the dosage schedule. Some doctors do just 17 treatments, some do a calendar year, but mine does it this way- my last dosage has to be after the date of my first dosage. My first one was December 15, 2008, #17 was November 16, 2009, #18 is December 7 and #19 is December 28. NINETEEN!!!!!
So here's an overview of my treatment so far:
1 CAT scan
1 bi-lateral radical mastectomy
1 power port insertion
3 echo cardiograms
4 chemo doses of Adriamycin
4 chemo doses of Cytoxan
4 chemo doses of Taxol
19 chemo doses of Herceptin
17 blood lab draws
332 Tamoxifen pills (to date)
1 Trans-esophageal echo cardiogram
1 MUGA Scan
1 genetic test
1 consult with Radiation Oncologist
1 consult with cancer genetics specialist
4 post-op follow up appointments with breast surgeon
1 consult with Gyn Oncologist for Oophorectomy procedure
1 consult with Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon
Today I had a follow up with Dr. Bob- my breast surgeon. He's awesome- what else can I say. He checked me out and said I look great- no lumps or bumps...and come back in a year. A YEAR! It amazes me that after all of this I'm pretty much just walking away, completely cured. No follow up mammograms, no MRIs, no ultrasounds, no scans, nothing. Just following up with Dr. Bob once a year.
The fun starts up again in January when I go into the hospital for a "2-for-1" surgery special. I am electing to have my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed now rather than wait until the typical age of "40". Because I am at an increased risk for ovarian cancer, and because that type of cancer isn't east to detect I am choosing to cut my losses. Plus I don't want to be the "1 in however many million patients" that would be diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 35- or whenever. True- I may never get ovarian cancer. But I feel like I have done anything and everything to live a healthy long life- why take any more chances. So I am having a laparoscopic Oophorectomy. Hopefully that goes better than my laparoscopic gallbladder surgery! Basically my surgeon will make 3 incisions - 1 in the bellybutton for the camera, 1 pinhole sized one for a tool and 1 1" or so one for the organ removal. It's an outpatient procedure. Crazy.
HOWEVER- I am doubling up procedures and starting my breast reconstruction at the same time. My plastic surgeon will be inserting skin expanders to stretch out my skin for some bionic silicone implants. That procedure requires a 2 night hospital stay. Yikes. Once the skin expanders are implanted, they are like little baggies that will be under my skin. Every 2 weeks I will go to the surgeon and have saline injected into them to slowly stretch the skin. Once I am happy with the size we wait about a month and then swap them out for the implants. The reconstruction is going to be a long, and uncomfortable process. And I'm sure it will give me lots to write about.