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    Needing an annual pass on Pinkie
    mhall6252 posted:
    Today has been a day fraught with all the news I didn't want to hear, and realization that there are no shortcuts through this journey.

    My breast surgeon called this morning with the results of the MRI done last Thursday. While the right breast is fine, the left shows a couple areas of cancer along with the seroma. And 3 nodes look suspicious. She asked me to stop by and see her after my appointment with the plastic surgeon.

    Met with the plastic surgeon and found out I don't have enough fat to have the DIEP reconstruction. Well, I could have two "A" cups but that would hardly be worth the extensive surgery. He said he could do tissue expanders with implants so I guess that is what I'll do.

    Got back to the breast surgeon and chatted with her for a few minutes. She showed me the MRI, we talked about my intense dislike of my oncologist. She called another onco who was on site at the hospital today, and then walked me over to her office.

    Spent 2.5 hours in the new onco's office. Of course, they have to take all your history again because they can't/don't/won't even share information in the same practice. I will say, though, that this new onco was wonderful. She talked to me for at least an hour, explaining everything. She was very knowledgeable about diabetes and listened to my concerns. It is the first time that I was comfortable with what an onco was telling me. My cancer is aggressive, she is recommended ACx4 then Tx4 then radiation. Well, actually she would prefer that I do the AC before surgery, but she left that up to me. She scheduled a PET scan for Thursday.

    So I left my house at 10 am and got home at 4:30. Other than the 30 minutes each way, I was in a doctor's office the entire time. Didn't even get lunch!

    I plan to do surgery first. The seroma is painful and I don't think chemo will help that situation. It's been there since early February and worn out its welcome.

    If everything proceeds on schedule, I guess I'll be done by Christmas.
    It's making me dizzy just thinking about it all.

    One day at a time, right?

    rachael67 responded:
    How I wish you had found that shortcut, my Friend! And how I wish I could ship you my extra fat to use for reconstruction!

    I am glad, however, that this new oncologist seems to be a much better physician for you! Giving you all that time is absolutely nothing short of amazing!! The addition of her knowledge about diabetes must have been wonderfully reassuring!

    I am so glad you have a plan in place and can envision the light at the end! We will all celebrate Christmas with you!!!!!

    Please keep us updated on dates, etc. I hope you know our thoughts and prayers go with you every step of the way! I'll light another candle as a reminder!

    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    mhall6252 replied to rachael67's response:
    Thanks, Rachel! The timeline just got shortened by a couple of is scheduled for next Monday. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from the pre-surgical RN who gave me the news! While I was on the phone with her, my surgeon's office called to tell me. Things are moving so fast they can't keep up.

    Another piece of interesting CEA test was 0.8. Normal is below 4.0. It makes things a little confusing and seems to indicate there is little cancer activity. Strange. The PET scan on Thursday should tell us more.

    Haylen_WebMD_Staff replied to mhall6252's response:
    Thank you for keeping us in the loop - lighting a candle as well! I"m all for things happening fast - that way I don't have too much time to get myself all worked up

    jenna291 replied to Haylen_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Hi Michelle,
    Its good things are happening fast. Best to get past it and move on to more fun and positive things in life!
    Let us know about your PET scan. Good thoughts and prayers aare coming your way~
    rachael67 replied to mhall6252's response:
    Thanks for letting us know that we should all be at the bus stop a little sooner!

    I, too, would wonder about the discrepancy with the CEA test...Any answers?

    Good things aren't keeping you in limbo longer, but can imagine how your head must be spinning with the faster movement...Hold onto us! We'll help slow things down to a more manageable pace!

    Blessings always!
    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    mhall6252 replied to rachael67's response:
    Hanging on! Doing my pre-PET scan homework today, eating very low carb, avoiding caffeine, sitting in my chair with my feet up, not doing anything. The instructions I read said no exercise and limit gum chewing and talking on the phone...LOL!!! It didn't mention using a keyboard; if that's going to make things light up, I'm in big, big trouble!!!

    mhall6252 replied to mhall6252's response:
    Got through the PET scan this morning and the pre-op stuff this afternoon. Now I learn that I am scheduled for lymph node biopsies tomorrow morning...or let the surgeon do a full axillary dissection as part of the mastectomy. I really want to hang on to those nodes if there is no cancer, so off I go at 8:15 in the morning.

    Geez, I'm tired.

    rachael67 replied to mhall6252's response:
    Geeze! Everytime you think you've begun to clear the plate, they pile more on! I totally agree with holding onto the lymphs if possible...We'll be beside you tomorrow morning...tho' I may put PInkie into auto-drive as it will let me sleep a few minutes more!

    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    bcdevil replied to mhall6252's response:
    I will be praying and sending all get well wishes to you on monday!! I guess it moving fast is great news already!! Its less time for you to worry!! So glad you have a new onco dr, Trusting them is everything!!! You deserve to be treated with compassion, knowledge and patience!! Sometimes i think these dr's got their degrees from cracker jacks!! Makes me so mad!! We go thru enough and don't need any more anxiety on our plates!! Sending lucky shamrocks to you my sweet friend!! Hang on tight and fight hard!!!
    Strength and hugs,
    mhall6252 replied to bcdevil's response:
    OK, I'm back from the biopsy. They did just one axillary node and the technician personally walked the specimen to the pathology lab. I'm home with the usual weight restrictions and ice off...repeat. With luck, I'll hear something before the day is over.
    Janice_78 replied to mhall6252's response:
    I'm so sorry that you're having to go through all this crap. It's good, though, that you've been able to find an onco that you can work with. It seems incomprehensible that you had to fill out all your history again (that's a pet peeve ~ especially when one's history starts getting long and complicated.

    As far as the blood work goes ~ sometimes it isn't always accurate for all of us. My blood work for tracking my cancer is usually fairly accurate, but my markers for my thyroid cancer wasn't at all accurate. They'll get a base line for you which should help.

    Good luck with all that you're going through. When dealing with cancer, it feels like it's a full time job.

    cindy12345678 responded:
    There just aren't any shortcuts are there. I did the T and herceptin for 12 weeks then the A\C x4 before surgury. I haven't had any infection issues. I hope that I don't . Did your onc give any reasons why you should do chemo first?It would be nice if they would give the cancer patient time for lunch. I have missed quite a few myself. While there aren't any shortcuts I wish you a speedy journey.
    judyfams replied to cindy12345678's response:
    If chemo is done before surgery it is called neo-adjuvant chemo and it is done to shrink the size of the tumor(s) thereby making surgery less agressive and/or lengthy. If there are fewer or smaller tumors present then the surgeon is lessening the amount of time you are under anesthesia and possibly making the recuperation time easier and shorter for you.
    Chemo done post surgery is called adjuvant.
    I know it sounds crazy to do more chemo so you have less surgery - but it is done that way.
    Ask your doctor why you needed neo-adjuvant chemo.
    Sorry that you had to go through all that - but thoughts and prayers are with you in the hopes that you will be in the NED group (No Evidence of Disease)!
    mhall6252 replied to judyfams's response:
    My oncologist gave me a choice but her preference was chemo first. BUT, she said that is because she is an onco and she could understand why the patient would want surgery first. Since breast conservation is not an issue here, and because this recurrence is extremely aggressive, I have chosen surgery first.

    The results of my PET scan shows involvement of two nodes in the axillary area and one in the intramammary area (between the two breasts along the breast bone). There was no sign of organ or bone involvement. We still don't have the pathology report from yesterday's node biopsy but it would be nothing short of a miracle if it came back clean.

    Trying to keep breathing.


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