This is the mindset I took in to today’s consultation to hear the results from my surgery and my treatment options.
The clinic was running very late, with a very long wait for my appointment (I saw the entire episode of Bargain Hunt, alongside another waiting patient who offered an incredulous commentary at ever price”£38 for soda siphons!”)
What I was told left me delighted and relieved. Also have some thinking to do.
My scars have both healed really well. The tenderness in my armpit and upper arm is normal, and I must keep doing the exercises to limit my risk of lymphoedema. Now for the cancer bit…
The tumour in my breast was 23mm (which is considered fairly small) and the margins are clear. In other words, they have cut all of the cancer out of my breast. Hooray! I asked my professor how much he cut out in total, and the total chunk was 55mm by 53mm – he even showed me a picture of it on his computer screen, “so that’s what been causing all this trouble” I sneered.
Then to my lymph nodes. There was a small (2.5mm) tumour in one lymph node, but no other lymph node involvement. Shows my lymph node was doing its job, catching those pesky cancer cells that had decided to leave my boob, stopping them getting to other parts of my body. This is where I have a treatment choice – more surgery to cut out more lymph nodes, or radiotherapy to the area. The intention is to prevent any recurrence. But outcomes are the same for both treatments. I meet my radiologist next Monday, so can discuss then.
And highly likely I’ll have chemotherapy – I meet my oncologist on Wednesday. I’ve always suspected this because I’m young (in breast cancer terms) and the cancer is grade 3. We need to show this cancer who is boss.
Finally, the question I had to ask, the one I was most concerned about – what stage is the cancer? It’s stage 2. If it wasn’t for the tiny lymph node tumour it would be stage 1. I nearly hugged my professor.