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The only path is forward

My friend, Colleen, just called me a 'glass half full' kind of person. I sure hope that is what I am putting forward. I hear that if you act a certain way, it will soon become a part of you.

I met today with the breast cancer research oncologist at UT Southwestern. While he said that if I was determined to remain 'intact' he would be more than glad to work with me on close monitoring of my situation, he agreed with my other doctors that the best course of action was a full hystorectomy, bilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction. I'm considering the DIEP flap reconstruction, because of the preservation of muscles, and the 'tummy tuck' that gets thrown in by using the tissue from the abdomen. The cool thing? They can do everything in one LONG surgery. While the oncologist is taking the breasts, the plastic surgeon is harvesting abdomen tissue. While the plastic surgeon is reconstructing, the gyn surgeon is going in through the already exposed abdomen to do the hystorectomy.

3-5 days in the hospital. 30 days after that to 'normal activities'. Probably a bit longer before I can get back into Tae Kwon Do. I might have to put my enrollment on hold for 8-10 weeks to give myself plenty of time to build back up.

I have to meet with the gyn. surgeon and the plastic surgeon next. Then Scott and I will meet with all three together to talk about a plan and timeline.

I think it's pretty certain now.

Yes, I also have a BIG TALL DRINK in my hand. (georgiaskydiver - it's that yummy vanilla rum you introduced me to, Whaler's)



( 9 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )
Sep. 1st, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
ly. mi.
do you need anything immediate?
Sep. 1st, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)
Nope. We've got plenty of time and will probably do all of this after the first of the year. I've got to meet with the other doctors, all of us have a joint meeting, then figure out when it best suits my schedule.

Sep. 1st, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC)
I really just dont understand yet.
It must be estrogen gone wild? Can you explain?

My sister had breast cancer... she caught it in time and had localized radiation, and it was gone in a couple months. I dont think she will get it again. It doesnt run in our family. She must have gotten it because we lived near Russia when Chernobyl exploded.
Sep. 1st, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
I actually don't have much estrogen. Or progesterone. Or testosterone. I'm in perimenopause. :)

Basically, I have a mutation in a gene, that has now been proven to be inherited from my mother, and this gene is known to be a cause for breast cancer. Because the particular mutation I have is not common, they have to run on the assumption that is also causes breast cancer. Especially since my mom has had it twice. It is also linked to ovarian cancer, which killed my mother's mom. My mother's sister also had breast cancer once already.

Since the breast cancers first occured before age 50, this basically means that to the medical community I have a greatly increased chance of getting breast cancer in the next 10 years. They can monitor me very closely in hopes they catch it very early, at which point we do chemo and probably end up doing a mastectomy anyway to avoid reoccurance.

Or we cut things off at the pass.

People get diagnosed with breast cancer all of the time. Some are hereditary, some aren't. Some are estrogen-receptive, some aren't. Some are caught early by mammogram, some are missed. Some people respond well to chemo, radiation, lumpectomy, etc. while others don't. Some people fight it once and never get it again, some people keep getting it. So many more people live now than they used to with breast cancer, but some people still die.

I really don't want to spend my time worrying about WHEN I'll get it, what treatment will be like for me, and whether it will keep coming back.
Sep. 5th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
aaaah i seee... wow, a gene that *causes* cancer, I had no idea. Very very interesting. Yes, I see how preventing the entire ordeal could be a good idea. I would still like to see your chart. Maybe it will all be in there?
Sep. 2nd, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
Prophlylactic surgery + free tummy tuck = the win.

Let us know when you'll be recovering afterward and we'll cook y'all all kinds of ready-to-eat goodness.
Sep. 2nd, 2006 03:19 pm (UTC)
Yum yum! Yeah, I'll be ordering in for a while. :)
Sep. 2nd, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)
Wow..............that's pretty much all I can say.....I hope this is really the right thing, sounds pretty intense.....but it seems like a good thing to get it all done at once if it's what you really have to do. Glad you're able to have a 'half full' attitude or facade sinking into your being until it's real or whatever it is you're doing........
Sep. 2nd, 2006 04:06 am (UTC)
I hope everything goes well for you. I know this has to be tough to bear. But I know for a fact you're a strong woman and you can handle it.

I'm sure that drink is helping loads, isn't it? :)


Take care.
( 9 thoughts — Whatcha' think? )