Thursday, July 7, 2016

"Dangling" & meeting the surgeon

I had my MRI & my first appointment with my breast surgeon on Wed. July 6th. 

First - the MRI. I have had an MRI on my shoulder before. They give you an IV with some contrast, you lay back on a little table, and go through the tube for a while - no big deal. This one was different. I still got the IV and had to lay on the table but you lay face down, almost like on a massage table, with one big (I found hilarious) difference. There are two holes in the table that your boobs go through so they can get a good view of your breast. So you are laying on this table and your boobs are just hanging there. The lady who did my MRI might think I have issues because I kept laughing when she was making sure I was "dangling" properly. I had to make a real effort not to think about it during my time in the tube or I would start laughing again! My MRI took 30-45 min or so and then I had my appt. with the surgeon at noon.

I REALLY like my breast surgeon. He was super nice, realistic, and optimistic. Our personalities matched well and I think this will be a good thing. My tumor is showing up as 3cm on mammogram & 4.7cm on MRI. He classified my cancer as a Stage III (3) due to the size of the tumor & probable lymph node involvement. He also felt that the lymph node was suspicious and did another biopsy. So far, that has been the most uncomfortable thing I've dealt with. I'm usually good with needle sticks but the arm pit is a sensitive area & my toes curled & I might have made a whiny noise when he started to numb the area. He did a fine needle aspiration where he just took some fluid out. He called back today and said there were cancer cells in the lymph node, but not a lot, and the area is still classified as "suspicious" and it hasn't changed the Stage of the cancer. I'll have a PET scan to confirm the spreading to the lymph node & that will also confirm or change the Stage.

His suggestion is that I do chemo first, then surgery, and then radiation. The chemo can help shrink the tumor plus get other other cancer cells that have spread - a concern if the lymph node in involved. I do not have to decide if I want a lumpectomy (surgery where they remove the tumor and some surrounding tissue) or a mastectomy (complete removal of the breast) right now. The oncologist will also weigh in on the chemo vs. surgery first decision but the surgeon feels that I will begin chemotherapy by the end of the month and then have surgery in about six months. My GYNO also agrees with that decision so I'm thinking that is the way things are going to go. I also had some genetic testing done to see if I carry the BRCA gene mutation that makes me more likely to have breast cancer. If I do carry that gene a bilateral mastectomy is what they recommend.

I'm scheduled for a PET scan on Tues, have another appt. with the surgeon on Wed., and then have my first appt. with my oncologist on Friday.

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