Archive for September 10th, 2007


September 10, 2007

After a wonderful weekend at the coast, Brian and I got home Sunday afternoon, and after greeting a very happy-to-see-us dog, got back into the routine (the cats were pretty ho-hum about our return).

Today, the doctor contacted me with both bad and good news. The bad news is that the additional mass in my left breast is cancer; the good news is that the mass in the right breast is not. This means that I will definitely have to have a mastectomy on the left, because of the positioning of the cancerous lumps; as well as the impracticality of doing two lumpectomies as far apart as these two masses are, being a multi-focal cancer, it is probably more aggressive and that makes it more likely that I could expect a recurrence were we to do lumpectomies. The doctor still wants to do an excisional biopsy of the mass on the right, but unless I choose to go the route of having a prophylactic mastectomy (removing the breast as a preventative measure), it would be minor surgery; either it or the prophylactic mastectomy will be done at the same time as the left-breast mastectomy.

I asked the surgeon about getting a test done to see if I carry the breast cancer genetic markers, as it would be helpful to know in making a decision about what to do on my right breast – because of my family history, it seems like a good possibility that I have at least one. Apparently it takes 4 – 6 weeks to get the results back, and since we’re hoping to have my surgery scheduled for no later than September 28, I will either have to make the decision to proceed on the bilateral surgery without that information, or plan another surgery if the results come back positive. Without one of the markers, I have a 20% chance of developing cancer in the remaining breast, but if I do have one or more, the chance shoots up to 80%. I’m leaning toward the bilateral mastectomy option, at least in part because I don’t want to have to go through this again. There are so many things I want to do, places I want to visit, and especially, people I want to spend time with – why waste part of my life by having to go through cancer and its attendant rigors a second time? Brian and I will discuss it with the surgeon when we meet this Thursday – hopefully she’ll be able to add some clarity to the decision-making process.

In the meantime, my mission (with no choice but to accept it ;-} ), is to set up appointments to meet with plastic surgeons and decide who I want to do the reconstruction (I’m definitely planning on having a permanent installation – I don’t want to have to look for body parts when I get dressed in the morning!) . Then it is just a matter of finding a time when the two surgeons’ schedules coincide to do the surgery.

I’m relieved to finally be able to move ahead on this, although it’s helped me with learning to be more patient – a good thing, but something I’d rather have acquired through, say, my knitting or my quilting!


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September 2007

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