Saturday, December 6, 2008

Post-op visit (Happy Birthday Melanie!!)

My best bud Melanie came to visit me right after surgery. Of course, she came bearing a beautiful tray of goodies (as seen in the pictures). It is her 27th birthday today! So, I just wanted to take a second to say "Happy Birthday Darling, we love you very very very very very very very much".*

She also sent me this picture to let me know that her and her boyfriend Andrew are always supporting me. It may or may not have made me a little misty eyed.

Tuesday I had my tubes taken out AND my hair cut.
Pictures. They are gross. I warned you.

(I did not smile like this for long)
(note the facial expression)
(...and again here)


(Yes, it really was that long)

I went to Toronto on Wednesday to have a little visit with my surgeon, Dr. Ralph George. On Tuesday, Dr. George had left a message on our machine saying that he had good reports to give me. Those of you who know me, know that I HATE waiting for things. I hate surprises. The message definitely did help to calm my nerves a little, but the curiosity was killing me.

We arrived at the hospital and went through the usual-
reception- "what is your referring physicians name?"
me- "Dr. Li Wan Po"
reception- "So, what is his last name?"
me- "well, we call him Dr. Li"
reception- "Oh, he's not in the system blah blah blah"

~ please note, this has happened EVERY TIME I've been to the hospital, and I am there A LOT. One would think that at some point, someone would have taken the time to enter him into the system, rather than harass me and make me 20 minutes late for my appointment.

Dr. George took us into the room and spoke to us at length about what was going on.
I was informed that he had been in touch with Dr. Theodore Vandenberg at the London Regional Cancer Program with regards to my case and organized an appointment for December 23 at 12:30pm to discuss my treatment with him.

His creds look pretty good, so I'm feeling confident in my decision to take my chemo in London. Here is a link to some info on Dr. Vandenberg, if you are interested-

Imma summarize the results of the mastectomy in point form to save some time:
- The top layer of muscle was removed under the breast, as the tumor was close to the chest wall. This layer was negative for cancer cells.

- Of the 17 lymph nodes that were removed, only the 1 sentinel node had any trace of cancer.

- Upon further examination of the breast post-mastectomy, several more tiny spots of cancer were located in the tissue. Which means that I made the right decision to have the whole breast removed.

- The cancer was estrogen and progesterone receptor negative, meaning that these hormones were not feeding the growth of the cancer.

- The cancer was HER2 negative.

- Due to the size of the tumor (2.7 x 2 x 1.7 cm)and the fact that it had spread to one lymph node, it is Stage 2.

- The cancer is a grade III, which is the most aggressive form (there are only 3 grades).

- With regards to my left breast, I have been given the option of having it removed as well. This surgery can take place at the same time as my reconstructive surgery,so it wouldn't be quite as much of a shock.

Dr. George was positive overall and very reassuring, which of course made both my mother and me feel far better.

Here are some pictures of him removing the staples-

This is Dr. George explainin junk. Video was an accident.

The one thing that makes me somewhat uncomfortable is the fact that it is triple negative (estrogen/progesterone/HER2 negative).
Prior to my post-op appointment, I read about triple negative cancer while researching. In general, triple negative breast cancer is more aggressive, more likely to spread, and more likely to recur after treatment.
I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty disheartened by this.

This is another reason why I am considering having the left breast removed. I'm finding this choice harder than my decision to have the mastectomy in the first place. The thought of never being able to breast feed (if I am able to have children at some point after the chemo) is devastating. Luckily, I have some time before I have to chose, as completing the chemo is my first priority. Only after it is complete, would I have the other breast removed.

On another note, I'd like to thank everyone for all the support I've been shown.
Yesterday was my two week anniversary of the removal of that horrible crap from my body. The cards and flowers I've been receiving are so beautiful. They make me smile every time I look at them. Which is becoming harder to do these days. I'm finding it hard sometimes to keep up the courage and the strength.

To be brutally honest, I'm scared stiff.
I know that I have what it takes to get through it, I'm not worried about that. However, sometimes it's hard not to cry. It happens randomly, and more often than I would care to admit. It's all part of the process, I suppose. I think once I start my chemo, I will feel better overall, as I won't just be waiting around and worrying. Just the notion that I am doing something to fight this makes having it more bearable. Waiting to start my treatment is difficult (although necessary), especially knowing how aggressive my form of cancer is.

This last picture goes out to the wonderful Ms. Kelly Warner who so graciously donated this beautiful wig to me ;)

* that was stolen from Bright Eyes, for those of you who didn't know.


lucky said...

it's strange how sometimes life makes you have to re-imagine your future. i've had to do that. at first it was hard, and sometimes still is. i didn't want a different future than the one i had imagined for myself. i just wanted all those normal things that everyone else has. but after a bit of time i became ok with the thought that maybe i'm here to do different things from everyone else... that maybe my journey through this life has a different purpose than the one i had thought before.
i think maybe that's true for you, too. the tougher the climb, the more incredible the view... i know that some thoughts are so hard to give up, but maybe the type of nurturing you give is going to effect and impact so many more people than you could ever imagine... the way we give and receive love and nurturing and power embodies itself in ways that will constantly surprise you.
i believe this.

LadyHayley said...

I am in complete agreement with the Luckster. I guess we all grow uptaking it for granted that we can have the future we think we are all entitled to but sometimes in life things happen to test and change these paths. I cannot begin to imagine what you are both going through right now but I do know that you are both huge inspirations to your friends and families who see you living your lives with happiness, determination and optimism. Love from Lady Brit :) xxxxxxxxx

james_william_walsh said...

wow meghan! i am really quite shocked, i had no idea that you were going through this?! my initial reaction was to be sad, of course, but after reading your page i am very proud of how you are handeling it. it's very hard for me to write because i am so bad with words,, so i guess i will just continue to say what i was gonna say when i opened your page. HI! it's been too long since we talked, thanks for comin by my blog. keep poppin in once in a while and i will do the same. i hope you have a great christmas!! KEEP IN TOUCH!

iamthenarwhal said...

we are the ultimate korean couple; we have matching scars.

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