Wow, what a day I had on Tuesday! It went from about 11:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. with doctors, with a little break time in between. I started out at the cosmetic surgeon's office for my continuing weekly expansion. I was so proud of myself last week being able to allow a fill of 100 cc's and figured, of course, this is what we'd do this week. Even though this is no fun, every time I have an expansion I know I'm that much closer to finishing this unpleasant process and I try to bear up under the pain.
However, this time the pain was getting bad at 60 cc's and unbelievable by the time we reached 85 cc's. I had to ask the doctor to stop when I thought my chest would explode and tears started coming to my eyes. The pain was so intense that each breath hurt and it was difficult to talk, as I seemed to get jabbed again and again. Muscles were spasming and nerves were being set off, shooting pain across my chest, through to my back and half way down my arm like I never felt before. I was back on pain medication that night just to try to get comfortable and to be able to sleep. Thankfully, the medicine helped for a while.
Strangely, the next day I actually felt pretty good, that is, until evening hit and more pain kicked in again. The week so far has left me quite uncomfortable and I can't seem to find relief. I took pain medication for two nights but it didn't help the second night and then I only felt more wiped out from drugs. So for now I'm continuing to shift this way and that in an attempt to try and find a bearable position but to no avail. Boy, I hope next week is a better week! It starts to really wear you out but I know this won't last forever and I'm still better than I was a few weeks ago. (Keep reminding yourself, Terry.)
Nobody tells you what expansion is really like before you start but I suppose no one could actually explain what you might go through. From what I understand there are those who have it worse than I do though and others that have very little problem at all. I hope I'll be able to have my expansion next week but I may need to take a break. I'm afraid to have it done now. I'll just have to see how I feel then. Lord, have mercy and HELP!!!
A couple hours later Jeff and I were off to my first visit with the oncologist to go over all my tests results in detail and to help us choose the best course regarding my ongoing treatment. After about and hour and forty minutes my head was spinning with an overload of information.
Though chemotherapy is an option, in my situation it still stands to give me only perhaps a 2% decrease of cancer recurrence. Going on hormone therapy with Tamoxifen is a given and on that alone, places me at an 11% risk of recurrence. It was also suggested because the cancer I had was a hormone receptor positive cancer, I would also be well advised to receive ovarian suppressing injections over the next five years along with the Tamoxifen. This will shut down my ovaries and the production of hormones and immediately throw me into menopause...YIKES! Obviously I'm praying the Lord would spare me the possible ill effects that can accompany menopause.
No definite decision was made Tuesday, though I felt myself leaning toward Tamoxifen plus ovarian suppression. Given all the data, chemotherapy appears to be an unnecessary evil with all of its possible and probable short and long term side effects, again offering perhaps only a 2% advantage when Tamoxifen, coupled with injections may help me achieve a risk rate a few points under 11%.
From there we went upstairs to see my breast surgeon, Dr. Schultz, to discuss what we went over with the oncologist. When I shared which treatment option I was most inclined to choose, he agreed that this was the very best course of action for all the same reasons that I had concluded given my type of cancer and the "low risk" range in which I fall and the one that he would recommend. I have the utmost confidence in Dr. Schultz and so this was very reassuring. I'll go six months until I have another visit with Dr. Schultz. I'll actually miss seeing him. He's such a superb doctor and just a wonderful man!
So, I believe after talking at tremendous length with my doctors, the place I have peace is the direction I will go although I'm sitting on it and continuing to pray for a few days. I'll make a follow-up appointment to see my oncologist in 2-3 weeks to let her know the direction we've chosen and then set up a schedule to begin this next process.
Even after all my bellyaching I know I'm coming along and making progress one step at a time and have to be patient. I have so much to be grateful for and I'm ecstatic it doesn't look like I'll need to go the chemotherapy route. What a blessing! And I get to keep my hair! Now, if I could only find someone to fix it for me every day so I wouldn't have to! Honestly though, I couldn't be happier that I have my own hair to take care of and the ability to do it, not to mention I won't have to puke and go through all the other fun stuff that can go along with chemo. Thank You, Lord.
Have a very safe and Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!