Thursday, October 23, 2008

Still down

I'm back from my very long imaging and surgical consult. I spent more than 3 hours having repeated mammograms squishing my sore breast repeatedly making me late to the surgeon by more than an hour. I am full of microcalcifications including my old suspicious spot. They want to remove them all. It sounds like they will remove almost as much flesh as before and this time, they will put in two wires. As they don't have a nice juicy tumor just below the skin to impale, it will be harder. So I was pretty much in tears with the surgeon. She said that I looked anxious. Not anxious just full of despair. I said the odds calculator said I had a 63% chance with chemo, 58% without it. She thought that sounded low so plugged in all the numbers in her 'physician only' model and came up with 66% and 76% with 3% in both cases being death from other causes.She spent a long time with me. Very sweet but it is still hard to shake this intense feeling of doom. The regime used for people in my case is this 4 cycles of adriamycin+cytoxan followed by 4 cycles of some taxol derivative. 6 months. I think that this is what Kathy of Chicago went through (life is Sunny blog). I also said that it sounded like it will be hard to get everything, maybe just cut the whole thing off. She said it would not improve my odds though I would skip radiation. I told her that I don't want to be stuck in this cycle of cutting stuff out, find there is more stuff there, then scheduling another surgery-meanwhile delaying chemo. Also these surgeries are hard on me. So the compromise we came up with was that this would be my last surgery for a while. After I am finished with chemo, they would check to see what was left and then attack. As for my tumor, it wasn't especially bloody-a good sign-as capillary density is proportional to this growth factor VEGF responsible for growing blood vessels to the tumor. Tumors that have alot of this factor are able to grow quickly and spread. However, the tumor had invaded my lymphatic system though it didn't make its way to the nodes yet.

As for Steve:We are speaking. We were supposed to have this meeting with a financial planner tomorrow and I told him to cancel it or just do it by himself. He said it was my money too but I said I just don't want to be figuring out how to get the highest returns possible when all I can think about is whether it is worth it to go through chemo making me an invalid for 6 months just to get just a small increase in survival. And I can't do it alone as I seem to be now. Maybe I should just take my chances and forgo the chemo.

He went to Naomi's teachers. No big surprises. She is just grossly immature and difficult. Since I was there so long, I didn't need to wait long after the conferences for him to pick me up. Otherwise I was going to take the UM bus which would go to Commonwealth.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sue,
I am here with you; I went through that chemo. I'm not going to lie and say it was easy, plus the stupid triple negative thing...

We are more than statistics. My chemo was "dose-dense," meaning every two weeks instead of every three. You can contact me with any questions, but it's so hard to categorize since everything depends on the individual. But I think you're an incredible individual, so you have that going for you.

Take care and God bless,

S. F. Heron said...


I'm reading despair in your posts. What can I do to help? I found your blog through Kathy's blog.

I remember being in that fog when I got my diagnosis - invasive lobular carcinoma found through 2 calcifications (estrogen receptive). A 4.5 cm tumor under the mass of my breast was found when I had my double mastectomy - no one knew it was there. My left mastectomy was elective and nothing was found there.

Things happen for a reason. We make choices for a reason. I'm 40. I have a 3 year old, 11 year old and an 18 year old.

I'm gonna tell you something, quit Googling everything. Live each moment, try to clear your head and find some peace. This is such an overwhelming thing that if you look at those percentages, it's just too much to bear. Get your info. from your doctors, please.

Please come see me at I try to add some posts on my site to lift up my readers up but also me too. I'm good at complaining, yelling at whoever makes me mad, and my kids are the biggest drama queens in the world :) As is their Dad and my own Dad for that matter.

My Mom is a 5 year BC survivor who was just diagnosed with lung cancer on her liver and in her lungs. We are positive across the board for both of us.

We're looking into alternative treatments (homeopathic) and I will most certainly share everything we find with you. This is quite literally the only thing I've been able to research without scaring myself out of my wits. And the stuff I am finding is absolutely astonishing.

I'm writing a book and I've got a pretty funny Google chapter drafted if your interested. Whatever I can do to help you, let me know.

I'm a great believer in the power of prayer and you've got mine every day now.

Hoping this lifts you up,


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