Sorry for the radio silence over the last week or so. I haven’t had anything new to report since the bronchitis. I’ve just been laying low, getting well, and enjoying my good days.
I had my ultrasound with Dr. JB today, as well as my consult with the plastic surgeon, Dr. H.
First we did the surgical consult and talked about the lumpectomy, mastectomy and reconstruction stuff. Now remember, I’m not a medical professional and may not use the correct terminology here, but hopefully you’ll get the gist of it.
The lumpectomy would take place about 2-3 weeks after my last chemo treatment (Jan 8). Recovery would be about a week, I believe it’s an outpatient procedure.
About 3 months after that is when the mastectomy and reconstruction would take place. This would involve about a 5 day hospital stay and about 6 weeks of recovery. As I mentioned in a previous post, they can use belly fat (which would be my choice over artificial implants), which would essentially add a tummy-tuck to the procedure. Using belly fat eliminates the need to return to the plastic surgeon in a few years to have the implants/spacers replaced. Dr. H talked about what he’d do, and that includes transplanting arteries to keep the fat tissue alive when they move it to the breast. They also transplant a piece of skin attached to the fat, sort of a lemon shape, that will stay on the outside of the breast and be monitored to make sure the tissue stays alive. I guess if that skin dies, it’s an indication that the tissue has died as well. After a certain amount of time (I don’t remember what he said), they’ll remove that skin from the outside. Please see my horrible drawing below, which is sort of like Dr. H’s drawing at the appointment today. That’s what it would look like when the skin is there, after they remove the skin, it would just be a line-like scar in that same place.
So, the options are still just the lumpectomy, lumpectomy and a single mastectomy, or lumpectomy and a double mastectomy. The lumpectomy alone leaves me with the highest risk of new cancer in either breast, and recurrence of the existing cancer in the right breast. Single mastectomy reduces the risk of new cancer in that breast, but doesn’t eliminate it, and does nothing to reduce the risk in the other breast. Double mastectomy reduces the risk of new cancer in both breasts significantly, but also doesn’t eliminate it entirely.
So, regardless of what I choose to do, there’s still going to be risk. It’s likely I will face this again in the future, but we’re talking many many years into the future when it’s possible there’s some new and (hopefully) less evasive treatment.
So after the surgery talk was over, we did the ultrasound.
There was nothing there!! The cancer is gone!
Yes, we can still feel JP, but he’s not showing up on the ultrasound, which means he’s blending with the other we can also feel that he’s much smaller than he was in the beginning. He was very apparent on the first ultrasound, so this is great news!
I still have three rounds of chemo left, the next one being Monday after my little break for Thanksgiving. Why more chemo if the cancer is gone? Because it will grow back. So before they do the lumpectomy, they want to shrink everything as much as they can so they can get the best margins.
Lots of information today, lots for me to think about. But today we’re celebrating that I kicked cancer’s ass. 😉