Good news at last has come for my stage 1 breast cancer. Dr. Carter called yesterday and said that there wasn’t any DCIS cancer in my sentinel lymph nodes. And that includes the extra pathology studies of the nodes. The removal of the tumor included cleared margins or in other words they removed the turmor which included some of the normal tissue so as to make sure that they got all the tumor.
Today is three days out from the surgery. I was able to clean my bathroom without too much discomfort.
Also, the geneticist, Jamie, at Bryn Mawr Hospital called me and said that all the cancer genes came back negative. That includes BRCA1 and BRCA2. She told me to keep aware of future news on breast cancer research. If another gene is found that is linked to breast cancer I can be tested for that gene. However, I doubt Medicare will pay for it. They pay for one panel of testing only. No matter if that is for one gene study or many genes.
The next step is a follow-up visit with Dr. Carter to remove 3 stiches and talk about starting Tamoxifen . Since my tumor was estrogen positive it means that I can be treated with this drug. It will decrease the level of estrogen in my body. Estrogen encouraged the growth of this type of tumor. Then I will meet with an oncologist for radiation treatments. This will involve 5 weeks of daily treatments. Both of these post surgery treatments are as the doctor has said will make me fatigued. And the radiation treatments may give me what will feel like a sun burn and may even make me blister.
The most embarrassing thing about the physical was the ekg. I couldn’t wear my bra as it had an underwire which would mess up the waves. I also lied to her and said I didn’t have any lotion on my legs and arms. The ekg was fine so much for their requirements. No one told me not to use lotion which makes me think it wasn’t so critical.
My doctor was nice to me. She said a few kind words about “getting through this”. There wasn’t a rectal exam thank the gods. I really didn’t see the purpose of that. It was listed on the sheet the doctor was suppose to fill out so maybe it was optional.
Friday morning I got an epidural (steroids) shot in my back for my spinal arthritis. Immediately after that down the street I had the radioactive seed location done at the Bryn Mawr breast center. As always everyone I came in contact with asked me my name and date of birth. They gave me a paper bracelet with that information. I’m tired of answering that question but something tells me I’m going to answer it a lot more. I think every once in a while I will tell them that I refuse to answer that question because I’m sick and tired of hearing the question. Tomorrow is my lumpectomy so I expect to be asked fifty million more times.
The seed location involved about five mammograms of my left breast to get the radioactive seed in the right spot. That spot is in the tumor right next to the clip that was put there during the needle biopsy. The literature I was given said not to hold a baby for more than 30 minutes at a time or something scary like that.
So its the evening before the lumpectomy. I showered with the Hibiclens which seems to have dried out my skin. I’m used to washing with Oil of Olay with shea butter. I had diarrhea again this morning which definitely is from nerves about tomorrow. I guess that is normal.
Well that is enough for tonight. Getting up about 7:15am to shower again with the hibiclens. No breakfast for me. The nurse that called me the other day said I could take some of my meds but I think I’m going to just skip it. I don’t like to take meds on an empty stomach.
Thanks for reading
It went well. I gave her my list of medications (dosages and how often I took them) and she wanted to know what vitamins I took. Multivitamins include vitamin E which thins the blood. I had to stop taking it a week prior to the surgery. I had already stopped the multivitamin as I was going to have a pain injection to my back a few days prior to the surgery.
She told me which one of my medications I could take the morning of the lumpectomy. She also told me to not eat anything after midnight no matter what time my surgery was scheduled. If my surgery is not till the afternoon I figured I would sleep in as late as possible so I wouldn’t be hungry all morning. With my luck they will have me come in at 8am for a 3pm appointment.
She wants me to wash with an antibacterial soap called Hibiclens which can be found in the first aide isle of any pharmacy. I am to wash with it the night before and the day of the surgery but I am not to scrub my skin while washing with it.
That’s all for now. I will let you know tomorrow how the pre-op physical goes which includes an ekg.
My lumpectomy for what is right now considered stage 1 breast cancer is scheduled for April 20, 2015
There are several other appointments that have to happen before then:
This coming Wednesday I have an appointment with the geneticist as one of my sister’s had breast cancer. I will give either a blood or saliva sample to test me for any of the known genes which almost guarantee me that I will develop breast cancer. It includes the well known BRCA gene mutation and a few others.
Another appointment is to get a radioactive seed placed in the tumor the Friday before the lumpectomy. This is supposed to help the surgeon find the lesion. The paper work says I won’t need a bandage afterwards and neither I nor my clothes will be radioactive. However, I shouldn’t hold a baby for more than 30 minutes a day until the seed is removed.
The pre-op physical with ekg will happen on the 16th with my primary care physician. That includes blood work. Karen, the scheduler, (not sure of her real title, will get back to you about that next week) gave me a form my primary care doctor is suppose to fill out which included a rectal exam. I am not excited about that and not really sure why they must look there prior to a lumpectomy. Probably just a case of CTA (covering their asses). Whatever!!
I was supposed to have scheduled a 30 minute phone interview with a nurse within 24 hours of meeting with my surgeon. Well that didn’t happen. 72 hours will have to do as it is the weekend. I guess if it was that critical they would have called me. The form the surgeon’s office gave me said the appointment is for me to “Find out how to prepare for surgery.” My friend, Carol, who has had a couple of surgeries says that it is to clear me for anesthesia. They want to make sure I haven’t had a reaction to it in past surgeries, which I haven’t). They also check my medications probably to make sure I am not on any blood thinners. I have been asked that several times already. I am to stop taking Advil/ibuprophen and multivitamins including vitamin E several days prior to the lumpectomy. That is the same instruction from my pain doctor prior to an epidural.
Another thing I am supposed to do before surgery is go to the pharmacy to pick up a bottle of Hibiclens. I am to bathe with it both the day before and the day of the lumpectomy.