Thursday, May 7, 2009

great news - eternally grateful

Just a quick note as still sitting in the office trying to make up for the three and a half hours I was out today, visiting doctors. It was quite traumatic but boy oh boy, am I grateful.
First The Tango Man said I had to decide: radiation or surgery. And surgery would be masectomy of the left breast and removal of the lymph nodes under the armpit. Radiation has its risks, he explained, especially the compounding of the affect on the heart of the chemo, radiation and then the herceptin I still have to have.
Not one is better than the other, he explained, else he would recommend it but said whatever decision I made would be the right one.
"How can I decide?" I asked, pretty tearful. "Is there anything I can read to help me make my decision?". The answer was no, only reading on basic principles but nothing that was tailor-made re what was best for me.
I enviaged a weekend of everyone phoning me every two minutes to give their two-cents worth while I scanned the Internet relentlessly.
Phoned my dad who is a doctor who said: "Radiation! Surgery can bring secondary infections.....". Phoned The Emphathetic One who said: "I agree with your dad! Do radiation; you heal slowly (cos of thyroid problems)".
I rushed off to the surgeon. And guess what he said? "Don't operate. Go for radiation."
"I want to hug you!" I shrieked, "but without any clothes on, I can't!" - for I was lying on his examination table, topless.
And guess what else he had to say? That 5-10% of people have what is termed "a complete response" to chemo like I did. Most the tumour shrinks, or it does not respond well and then they need more. But I had four chemo sessions for breast cancer and now the cancer is gone. It's enough to make one turn religious overnight.
But I have agreed on one thing: should the cancer return, I will willingly undergo masectomy.
Seeing the radiation oncologist on Monday. Have seen her already (have seen everyone - gosh it was my third visit to that surgeon and on the first he had preached masectomy. But due to my treatment and tests and response now said no).
Am so so so happy that want to go out for dinner to celebrate - again!!!

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