Falling down with the roller coaster

Things have just taken a bit of a dive bomb this week unfortunately. This is a quick update to fill you in. I’m sorry to those I didn’t contact personally yesterday. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to be on the phone (especially when you have a hearing impairment like me!!!) making individual calls. Just be assured that it’s not that it’s not my preference. I have hundreds of relatives (literally) and that’s without friends. I LOVE YOU ALL xxxx So I hope you’re OK with reading my update here. If not… well… erm… too bad to sad? I’m harsh but you know it’s my humour.

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Last week when I went to have chemo and saw the oncologist she could feel and measure the breast lump. This seemed a little odd given that it hadn’t been ‘felt’ for 2 months by either of us. If it wasn’t for the ultrasound we could have decided it had disappeared.

Over the course of the next week it became sore like it used to be and by Tuesday this week I could grasp it in two fingers. To add to it, I can feel two more sore lumps nearby. So I phoned the clinic expecting the usual ‘it’s just normal don’t worry’. They made an appointment to see the surgeon for the next day (yesterday). I taught year 10 at Luther College as part of my Artist in Residence role in the morning which distracted me very nicely!

The surgeon felt the lump and very quickly said ‘yes it’s growing back’. She thinks one of the other lumps is a cyst but is a bit dubious about the other. I don’t have all the answers… because I forgot to ask the questions but hopefully I can fill in the gaps over the next few days. Here is what I know right now (for those who like bullet points ha ha).

  • The tumour isn’t responding to the current chemo and because it’s a very aggressive cancer type it is growing back as rapidly as it shrunk
  • I MAY stop the chemo (oh please!!!) but I don’t know for sure until the surgeon speaks to my oncologist
  • I will have a biopsy on the 4th of Sept of the other two lumps
  • If the other 2 lumps have cancer cells I will need to have a mastectomy
  • I am booked in for a lumpectomy on the 10th of Sep and if the biopsy is positive they will do a mastectomy instead (with full breast reconstruction at the same time)
  • I will find out if it’s a lumpectomy or a mastectomy on the 8th when the biopsy results are analysed and my doctors have had a meeting about it
  • I will have all lymph nodes removed because some are swollen (need to query this today when I phone them)
  • I need to see a plastic surgeon about the reconstruction at some point but I can’t imagine how that will fit in between the 8th and the 10th
  • I don’t know what this means for the clinical trial. Perhaps I’ll be kicked off it. Not the first time I’ve been kicked out of something.

So that’s about as much as I can tell you right now except that I’m feeling OK and not daunted at all. I’m always happy when there is action. It’s when I get patted on the head and told not to worry that I worry.

In reflection

You may feel (like many do) that perhaps I should have had it removed in the first place. This is a total fallacy, especially for my type of breast cancer (triple negative breast cancer) and given that it is so aggressive. Remembering that I had a CLEAR breast scan in October 2013 and 3 months later I had a golf ball sized cancer growth. If I had had it removed prior to chemo, I would have had chemo delayed for a couple of months while I recovered. In the meantime, any floating cancer cells in my system could have established themselves in my body. Once that happens it is incurable (with breast cancer, secondary cancer can’t be cured). AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR DAT!!!! Chemo killed all those little suckers and now I’m just left with the tumour to deal with.

But now… let’s get that sucker outta there!!!

I’ll update you when I get the next saga of news so watch this space. As always I appreciate your prayers and interest very much.

 

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4 comments

  1. That’s a crappy situation, but it totally makes sense to have had all the chemo to kill the spread. Hey, maybe if it ends up being the full monty and you get a reconstruction you will end up enhanced, suddenly perky like a 20 year old! Keep up the good spirits, you’ll totally beat this thing

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  2. Jen l’m so sorry to hear your news and amazed at your positive outlook. l knoe that God can do all things and that He is our great healer and am believing for your complete recovery. Fully understand not being able to ph everyone but you blog is great way to stay up to date and in touch. Bless you.

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