Various doctors met at the Multi-Disciplinary Conference to review my case yesterday. After going over all the findings they made their recommendations and we received some pretty good news. We met with my breast surgeon later to go over everything and to make the decision as to how to proceed.
Happily, the PET and CT scans as well as the MRI came back clean, indicating no cancer anywhere else in my body other than what we already knew existed in the left breast, revealing the size of the tumor to be 3.7 cm. The lymph nodes appear clear, which if still holds true at the time of surgery when the biopsy is done, will put me at a stage IIA breast cancer. If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes (which again, we don't expect), that would put me at a stage IIB breast cancer and definitely require radiation. Let's believe the Lord together for no lymph node involvement.
Two hours before my scheduled surgery several injections will be given in my left breast releasing dye which will then travel to lymph nodes where cancer would most likely travel were it there, to give them a better picture of what to look at upon surgery and to biopsy.
At surgery when my breast is removed, a sample of the tumor will be taken and sent to a California lab to be assessed through a test known as, "Oncotype DX" for recurrence risk and to also determine if chemotherapy will be required and to devise a treatment plan tailored to my individual cancer type. It will take about two weeks for the results to come back.
If chemotherapy is required that usually begins four to six weeks post surgery. Please be praying that the report would come back with the good news of, "no chemo necessary." A large percentage generally need it but I'm hoping I'm not in that group. Several years of hormone therapy with Tamoxifen will begin as soon as we determine what the chemotherapy plan is. Also be praying that insurance will cover the test since it's over $3,400.00...ouch! We're still seeking the Lord for provision for all the co-pays and coverage throughout this whole process, still unsure of the changes that are to take place since the company where Jeff works has just been bought out.
As we already knew from the beginning, a mastectomy of the left breast will be done with surgery scheduled for April 21st. The time of day is yet to be determined. Though I do present a marker that puts me at risk for bilateral disease, the board of doctors concluded it to be an extremely low risk. So the right breast which was shown to be completely clean will be left intact.
As I mentioned in a previous entry, reconstruction of the left breast will begin right after the mastectomy is complete and barring any unforeseen complications, I'll be at the desired breast size in about six to eight weeks. The permanent implant will go in two to three months later unless I have to have chemotherapy which will delay permanent implants anywhere from five to seven months.
I've scheduled my pre-op exam for April 12th and will have a pre-op appointment with my plastic surgeon at a time yet to be determined, probably next week to finalize everything. We will be discussing reconstruction of the left breast and breast lift and augmentation to my right breast to balance everything out so hopefully I'll have a nice matched pair.
After all is said and done, yearly I will have a chest MRI and mammogram on the right, healthy breast, alternating tests on six month intervals.