I started today with increasing clarity about my choice of surgery and the celebratory wearing of my new faux fur slippers and red sequined poncho. I felt more clear. I felt I was making a decision. And I felt like me.
Then I went to my appointment with my mastectomy surgeon.
There’s always the danger of losing yourself in these appointments. Of feeling clouded, overwhelmed and guided in directions you weren’t expecting. That the world of cancer knows more about you than you do. You will never again be the expert on your own body, never again be the master of your destiny.
There are always surprises no matter how hard you research or how in control you feel. I’ve had many of those surprises lately. First it was the calcifications, then it was pre-cancer, then cancer, then possible spread. Now there’s the chance I may have to do chemo. Again.
My last cancer was HER2+ which meant it over expressed receptors for that protein. It meant it was aggressive but it also meant I could get a drug called Herceptin. If this cancer is also HER2+ then I can get that wonder drug again. But it doesn’t come alone. It’s bringing a frenemy, chemotherapy.
The efficacy of the Herceptin is dependent on combining it with traditional chemo drugs. So to stop the cancer mutating and adapting, they hit it on multiple fronts simultaneously. I’d get this presumably because they want to give some insurance against the cancer having already left the boob. The cells too small to detect on any scan.
I didn’t get much information about it because the surgeon wanted me to focus on surgery and not leap ahead. I am not the person who can do that and feel better. I need to prepare for what’s coming. And I’m mighty tired of surprises.
I now have to wait for the pathology results to see if it is HER2+. I suspect it is because the last one was. I have an appointment on Monday with my lovely oncologist to talk through the options. I will accept the chemo if it comes. Oh, but I am dreading it beyond words. It’s the only treatment that gives me pause as to whether it’s worth it. It’s that awful.
On the surgery front, I came out with a different opinion. My whole team doesn’t want me to have a double mastectomy. Again they repeated that if I’ll be done in, it’ll be the bad boob and not good that will be the culprit. They want to me to do the least harm to myself. Maybe I agree. Especially if I’m having chemo straight after. So I’m thinking along the lines of a compromise. Single mastectomy on bad boob with implant. Then breast reduction to match on good boob.
A day that started good, went bad and is edging slowly towards peace and acceptance. One tiny, shiny sequin at a time.