For those that haven't followed my time on other modern communication tools (MySpace, Facebook et al.), you may not know how bad I am at sticking with any solid form of correspondence. Of course, for those of you who've known me long enough, you also know how bad I am at the old-timey kind, too--thank you notes, I'm talking to you! I mean to do my best at keeping this timely and relevant, and I have my trusty Renaissance Man to fill in the gaps when I just need to go to bed.
So, to give the fullest current picture, I'll spew out the rest of the facts as I currently know them. I have, at the lovely age of 34, been diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. It is ER/PR negative (hormone receptors) and Her2/neu negative, or what they call "triple negative". I have read in some sources that this is a more aggressive type of cancer (to be abbreviated CA by me, 'cause that's how we do it in the medical world) with a poorer prognosis, but there are a lot of other factors that lead to that point. It also tends to respond better, paradoxically, to chemo, which will be a definite part of my treatment regimen.
I've talked with the family about the genetic testing, so I feel comfortable sharing that my cancer is related to a BRCA1 mutation that is the same as one my paternal aunt Kathy had. Again, there are implications for the family for their risks, but I feel that is a side discussion to have with them. For me with the known mutation, it increases my risk of a recurrence or a new CA in the other side dramatically, and it also comes with a significant ovarian CA risk. These pieces will play a major role in the surgical interventions I choose and some other major life choices, too.
What else do I know? I've had an MRI that showed my L side is clear (whew) and the R tumor is about 3 x 1.5cm. There are nodes that look "suspicious" on ultrasound and MRI, so I had one biopsied and should get the results tomorrow. My reconstruction options would all have to involve implants unless I gain about 20 lbs, and I'm kind of weirded out by implants so would probably opt for no immediate reconstruction with the surgery. I've got a few more consults/return appts to talk through the options, so I'll keep you posted as I try to make up my mind.
Blah, blah, blah. That wasn't anything fun or interesting. Let me work on it.
I'll throw in a picture of Olive in the meantime...
This is what she thinks of cancer: