A friend said to me “Wow! I hope you get it out of you soon!”
Honestly, before I had breast cancer, I always thought that if I had cancer, that would be my reaction – just get it out of me. I find it very interesting that it is very much NOT my reaction. The decision to ‘just get it out’ is so much more complicated then I ever thought it was. There are options, and with each option comes different treatments and side effects – and I’m still waiting. If the HER2 FISH test comes in positive for HER2/neu then the decision become easier. There is a drug that has been proven to be quite effective for HER2/neu cancers that can only be given pre-surgery – so neoadjuvant (http://www.perjeta.com/patient/neoadjuvant), which just means ‘before in addition’.
One of the hopes of any neoadjuvant treatment is that it also causes the tumor to shrink. If the tumor shrinks then the surgery can be less invasive. The other advantage to chemo first is that I would know my genetic test results before going into surgery. If it turns out that I do have the breast cancer gene (or one of them), then the decision for a double mastectomy makes more sense than doing a lumpectomy and having to do additional screening/tests every 6 months (reoccurrence rates goes to like 80% if you have gene).
So the feeling isn’t so much ‘get it out soon’, it is more about how am I going to get it out, and just who scary the surgery itself is. How will I feel when I wake up.
Man I’m looking forward to experiencing some good drugs during this process. There must be a positive side to things, and good pain meds might be it! Today, I’m hoping to get a total non-medication high – sailing upwind at high speeds on a giant sailboat. When you see it sailing in the harbour it sticks out because it is on such a different scale than the other sloops in the harbour. If we are dry, we shall take lots of photos!