Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Enough With The Tinterhooks

I'm sorry I'm posting so late today - I know I told you to stay tuned for Wednesday news. Actually, Surgeon Dr. S surprised us yesterday with the pathology we were waiting for, but we wanted to go over everything with Oncologist Dr. S before we got too excited. That's right, excited.

The report showed that none of my lymph nodes were involved at all. Also, my left breast was absolutely clear. The cancer in my right breast was not one large tumor, but many small DCISs with normal tissue interspersed and spread over several different ducts. This fact makes it much more understandable that nobody was ever able to feel a mass. Also, none of these cancer sites showed any evidence of invasion into other areas. This, along with my clean PET scan, is all fantastic news.

There are still a few things to sort out, however. One is that there was a vague mention in the path report that one of the surgical margins wasn't clear. What that means is that there may have been cancer right up to the edge of where my breast tissue was removed. We need more information from the pathologist on this, but Surgeon Dr. S is confident that he removed all the breast tissue he could, and since the DCIS didn't invade into other types of tissue, he's not worried. Hopefully we'll clear this up soon.

The other issue is whether or not to follow up with a course of Tamoxifen, which is an orally delivered drug that's taken for 5 years. Tamoxifen works against cancers that react to the estrogen in your body, so it's not always a worthwhile treatment. But, pathologists don't test for this characteristic when there is no invasive cancer present. So on Friday, Oncologist Dr. S will present my case to a team of peers in order to try and tease this issue out. Tamoxifen is usually pretty well tolerated and it's definitely better than dealing with chemotherapy, but it causes some side-effects that I'm not happy to take on. Mainly, infertility and all the fun of menopause. Needless to say, I'll welcome all of the professional input that Dr. S can gather on that decision and I'm really happy he's taking that route.

Really, notwithstanding those two issues, we're happy kids who feel like we've dodged a big old bullet. And tomorrow we're back to work with reconstruction. I'll be having the tissue expanders in my chest filled with a little more saline to increase the space they're making. This will be the first of several of these procedures, so I'm curious about how it will go. Plastics Dr. L thinks we may be finished with the reconstruction sooner than he'd anticipated. Fine by me!


Sunny Day Tag Girl said...

Jess that is GREAT news!!! Praying for NO Tamoxifen!!!

Kevin said...


Lindsay said...

Oh Jess - I'm so happy to hear it! I'll keep my fingers crossed that it continues to go just as smoothly! Hang in there - and remember to call if you need ANYTHING!

Katherine said...

Wooo wooo!!! And excellent use of "Tinterhooks".


Jenny Weddel said...

Yay! Great news all around! Thanks for keeping us posted!