Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not as bad today

I seem to have somewhat recovered from my bad news yesterday. I'm still not happy with it, but I'm learning to accept it. Something that people that know me realize is that I resist change in all its fashions. Heck, when I was 7 or 8 they switched school buses on me & I actually cried. The driver, route, and fellow students on the bus were the same, but the bus itself was different. I'm OCD - its kind of hard to get around that. Anyway, at this point, the fake boobs will have to be ok. Maybe by the time they need replacement (usually w/n 10 years) I'll have enough belly fat to do the other reconstruction. If I'm lucky, they may even have a better method by then!

Today we spoke w/ the breast surgeon. She was very informative. She said that since I'm young & such complications should be minimal. She also gave me a choice that I wasn't aware I'd have... (this might be TMI) She can use 'new' technology and spare my nipples. That way I get to keep what I have visibly, but reduce the chances of cancer by taking out all the stuffing. We're leaving it up to the plastic surgeon at the time of surgery as to whether that is truly viable or not (a lot depends on asthetics at that point). However, when I look down I'll be seeing as much of 'me' as possible instead of some creation. The breast surgeon said I was a good candidate for that b/c of the placement of my original tumor and age. She said there was *very* little risk of any cancerous cells getting left behind. I think if I'd have been able to have the reconstruction I wanted I'd have forgone the nipple sparing, but I think maybe this will help me feel like I look like myself.

One troubling thing that the breast surgeon (she's an oncological surgeon) said was about possible radiation. I think that may be a standard CYA talk that she gave me, but it worries me none-the-less. Radiation would be used if they find any more cancer cells within the tissue they remove.

She also worried me a bit w/ my lymph nodes. She said that since my original tumor/scar is so far into my armpit (axilla) it can disrupt their methods for finding what they call my sentinal lymph nodes. They examine these lymph nodes for cancer b/c they generally the ones that are closest (as far as drainage is concerned) to the tumor. With the placement of my tumor/scar in relation to where lymph nodes are found, their is an increased chance of not finding the right nodes and/or getting false negative readings from the nodes they find. There's a decent chance that I'll have to have all my primary & secondary lymph nodes removed during surgery. They don't like to take chances w/ leaving cancerous ones in the body. Removal of these lymph nodes may decrease my cancer risk, but it leaves me wide open to lymphendema - swelling of the arm & sometimes chest - for the rest of my life. Basically what happens in lymphendema is that if I get a cut/scratch on my affected arm/side instead of the infection/inflammatory response draining properly it gets hung up in my arm & chest b/c the lymph nodes aren't there to filter & clear it. I don't think lymphendema is life threatening most of the time, more of an irritation and concern.

Tomorrow I meet w/ the gynecology oncologist and w/ Dr. L again. I also have more tests. Right now I'm feeling pretty positive that I'll be able to convince the gynecology oncologist to remove my ovaries/etc post-haste. If there's good reason (besides my youth and other such minor concerns) I'll keep them. However, I'm completely paranoid about getting ovarian cancer next. Although I'd love to have more children, I much prefer to live for the children I already have. The problem is that ovarian cancer is usually not detected until it is in the late stages. By the time its detected the survival rate is only 25%. They're working on finding out new/good ways to detect ovarian cancer, but so far I don't think they're having a whole lot of luck. While surgical menopause at 28 doesn't sound like a great option, neither does living in fear of ovarian cancer and quite possibly dying of it at a young age. I think I'm going to go for living w/ early surgical menopause rather than taking the risk. Of course, part of that is also my OCD coming out. I just want to be finished w// this worry of cancer - NOW. I want things to go back to their ordered normal ways. I'm not much of a risk-taker...

Thanks for the prayers & thoughts.

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