Moving Forward

I have not updated in quite some time and much has happened since my last update. I am writing this 4 days post-op from my mastectomy in my super comfy recliner. Let me start from the last post.

I am so very excited to share that my mammogram and ultrasound revealed that all three tumors were completely GONE! Not just shrunk, they were healed and gone!!! The PET scan revealed a very good response to the chemo in my breasts, lymph nodes, and femur. The intake in the lymph nodes decrease from 15 on my initial PET scan to 2.2 on this recent one. I believe there may have been no uptake in either breast but need to check my records to be sure. The uptake in my femur dropped as well. The PET scan was done 3 weeks after chemo finished and it is possible that uptake was false positives; that the uptake was due to healing and not cancer. We will find out for sure when the pathology repor comes back from my surgery.

I aldo had not one but two MRI’s of my femur. The first on shows no change in size of the suspected metastasis on my femur and that caused the radiologist to further question whether those spots are metastasis or if they may be “atypical red marrow.” They did a short burst MRI to look for fat in the spots and found some fat that further suggests the spots are atypical marrow and not metastasis. They will perform another MRI after my tissue expanders are replaced with implants in 3-4 monks that may give better indication as to what those spots are.

In my last post, I was excited that my Dr suggested we may not need to touch the lymphatic system. However, now that they aren’t sure my femur is metastatic, they didn’t feel comfortable leaving previously diseased lymph nodes behind in case the chemo didn’t get all the cancer….they didn’t want to risk it spreading. I had a really hard time with this an prayed about it for quite a while but God gave me peace and revealed to me that by having an axillary dissection on my left side, we would know for certain if any cancer was left in the nodes as well as in the breast tissue.

From the beginning of this journey, I felt that God may want me to walk this road to show that integrative medicine is far more effective than chemo/surgery/radiation by themselves. Yes I am a Guinea pig of sorts but if my pain and suffering means that my daughters and others will have better access to integrative care or that maybe more studies will be done on mushroom supplements I’ve taken, then it is so worth it. I dream of the day when chemo, surgery, and radiation are barbaric medical practices of the past, or where chemo truly is selectively toxic to cancer and not healthy cells. I hope and pray that my journey is part of that dream!

So, on June 24th, Josiah and I were at Tripler Army Medical Center at 6:30 to check into  the hospital. I will post the details of the surgery another time but the short of it is that it was a 7 hour surgery. My oncology surgeon performed a bilateral skin and nipple sparing mastectomy, axillary dissection only left side and sentinel node biopsy (which was negative for cancer) on my right side. My plastic surgeon placed cadaver tissue and tissue expanders to start the reconstruction process and was able to fill the expanders a wee bit. I started waking up around 7pm when they brought Josiah to me and I stayed in the hospital for 2 nights. I’m home now, 4 days post-op and am recovering well. I have a post-op appts with both surgeons in 2 days and have an appointment with a lymphadema specialist for physical therapy in 2 weeks.

My breasts look like the muppets scrunchy faces and I have 3 drains that need to be drained 3 times a day and have limited mobility but I’m doing better than I expected! I am truly at peace with everything that has happened and where I am. God has been so faithful as He has walked and led me through this journey! May He be glorified in this!!!

 

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