2nd Surgical Opinion

As many of you who follow me on Facebook already know, I had a second opinion appointment with a new surgeon at Swedish Cancer Center in Seattle. My original surgeon wants me to do 3-6 more months of chemo before reimagine because of a new teeny liver met that has already shrunk  from August to September. The reasoning really didn’t make sense to my oncologist or myself so I sought out a second opinion. My oncologist put in a referral to a specific surgeon but when I called to schedule an appointment, they assigned me to a different one based on what I told them my cancer history was.

So on Monday, my husband and I took the ferry into Seattle to meet the new surgeon. She was extremely thorough and attentive. She explained that while she would like to do surgery, she was concerned surgery might do more harm than good. Her concern was not my liver met at all but the formerly thickened skin that covered a good 1/4 of my breast. Her concern is that it was lymphatic involvement and that it might have spread further than the thickened skin and she doesn’t want to cut through possible lymphatic invasion. She’d like me to do 4 more weeks of chemo and then another MRI and possibly a punch biopsy of that area. She said it could also simply be lymphedema because even as she was performing her exam, the skin was changing in appearance and that’s more conducive to lymphedema and not cancer. She also said she might prefer I do radiation rather than surgery, an option I’m really not open to for multiple reasons. First, I have a genetic mutation that increases my risk of a secondary cancer from radiation. Second, radiation doesn’t usually kill the stem cells of cancer and can actually cause the less aggressive cancer cells to mutate INTO stem cells. NO THANK YOU. Here’s one scientific paper on this subject. 

I came away a little disappointed but yet at peace. I was REALLY hoping to have a break from chemo and get the surgery underway. I understand her concern and she did admit that it was difficult to know the right answer as she didn’t see my skin BEFORE treatment. I was able to show her pictures after my 3rd chemo and that helped her a bit. Overall though, she was incredibly thorough, went over one of my MRI’s in the office with us, and said she would review my entire case better after we left.

I called my oncologist to make sure I’m still on the schedule for chemo this friday and explained her desire for me to complete 4 more. I suggested he may want to contact the surgeon he originally referred me to and see if she’d review my case and give her input. I’ll talk to him on Friday at chemo and figure out where we go from here.

Thankfully, as far as the chemo side effects go, I’m doing fairly well. My GI issues are under control, as is the diarrhea, thanks to the prescription med. However, I find myself fatigued shortly after lunchtime most days. I typically lay down and take a nap for a bit. We’ve had a meal train with meals delivered about 4 days a week and that has been SUCH a blessing because I have zero energy to make our family a meal each night. A HUGE thank you to everyone who has blessed us with meals!

So, week 22 of chemo is this Friday. Praying I don’t have a reaction and that it doesn’t affect my hearing. Patiently waiting on God’s timing for this all. Continuing with my repurposed meds and supplements to starve this cancer and hope and pray for healing!

One thought on “2nd Surgical Opinion

  1. I’m so glad you keep us posted. God knows every detail but you are so faithfully telling it. It takes a lot of courage as you know. Love, love, love you.


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