There is no easy way to say this, except to just come out and say it…. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Friday, February 2. I will be having a lumpectomy on Wednesday, February 14 – Happy Valentine’s Day! – at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge. I may or may not have to spend the night.
After a 2 – 4 week recovery, I will be having 6 weeks of radiation. Depending on the results of the final pathology, I may or may not need chemotherapy. Naturally if I need chemo, that will extend my treatment time.
Even though one never wishes to have cancer of any type, I am encouraged on several points.
- I had a “clean” mammogram in August, 2006. Therefore the lump is fairly “new”.
- According to the ultrasound, the lump is 1.5 cm which is below the 2.0 cm “threshold” for stage I cancer. Although they can not determine the actual stage until after the surgery and the final pathology comes in.
- The lump is very close to the skin.
- There have been many advances in breast cancer surgery in the last several years. One important innovation is they now inject the breast with a radioactive dye. Using a Geiger counter, the surgeon can pin point the lymph nodes that drain the cancerous area. Only those lymph nodes are removed for testing. If cancer cells are detected, then additional action is taken. Because of this innovation, the risk of lymphoedema (swelling of the arm) is reduced.
- My doctor is Dr. Mary Christian. She is a “breast specialist”. I had no idea that such a specialty even existed! She is a very competent doctor who deals exclusively with diseases of the breast. She says she sees 100 new breast cancer patients every year.
I feel very lucky to have such wonderful friends and family. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers.