February 26, 2011

The stats

Good day/Bad day?: Good

I had a good morning hanging out with Olive while Ben napped and moaned on the couch (he's feeling sick), then he took over and I went downtown to participate. Freezy cold, but good! Wherever you stand, it's good to see people involved and caring.

So here's the skinny on radiation. I haven't made up my mind yet, but I'm closer than I was after Thursday's consult. The first rad onc MD had given me a risk of local recurrence of about 20%, and this one actually was higher at 28%. The first was based on a 2005 study and the other was from 1998, and they're both different ways of looking at the risks. Compelling numbers (they say they recommend it when the risk is >15%), but the studies are a little older and the 28% one isn't a huge sample so that's why I'm not immediately jumping on it. Not to say that I'm not having a reaction to the risk, though.

This second rad onc MD offered to set me up with 3rd or 4th opinions in Milw & Chicago. I've got time if I'm going to do that--I would probably start radiation the last week of March or first week of April. I think I'll pursue the Milw consult to get an opinion outside of the UW Health system by someone who's a very respected breast cancer radiation specialist. As I think I said before, this MD was not dismissive of the side effects of radiation, both short-term and long-term, which I appreciated. He also explained his rationale for not saving radiation as an option for if there is a recurrence.

So what would it mean if I do it? 6 weeks, M-F, after a few long initial set-up appts the daily ones are about 30min. The initial side effects are usually skin issues and fatigue, both of which can be highly variable. If it happens, I think we'll be putting out the call for weekend help throughout so the weekends can be a break for me. I'll let you know fo sho very soon.

If that's the calendar, that would mean I'd be done mid-May. I found my lump almost a full year before that...

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