Meeting the surgeon

I had my first meeting with the surgeon on Halloween day. At that point I was expecting to hear about surgery and then follow-up. Tom and I went together and were rather nervous. I had heard awesome things about the doctor, and that she was very direct.

When she came in she sat on the stool beside the examination table, I was in the chair by the end. She introduced herself and then said, “For you, a picture will be wort 1000 words!” She proceeded to explain my cancer and MRI results by drawing a diagram on the paper that covers the table. She also had a book for me and turned down 6 pages for things she thought I would want more information about, and used the book to help things make sense.

This is the book!
Thanks to CBCF for providing this book!

When I walked in, I knew that there was carcinoma, some contained in a duct, and some that was invading into nearby tissue. The new news was that the whole breast was involved and that in its current state surgery was not possible. There were also three lymph nodes involved and two spots on my liver (though she said they were probably cysts). I felt like I had been kicked or something.

My heart really sank when she said I would need chemo! She went through things in great detail and I understand why the chemo is necessary, shrinking things to the stage at which surgery would be possible. So, surgery wise, I will eventually have a modified radical mastectomy. “A modified radical mastectomy removes lymph nodes in the underarm area in addition to the entire breast and nipple.” For more info.

Along with this surgery information she called the chemotherapy oncologist I would be seeing to find out what other tests she would need done. Hence the lymph node biopsy, CT scan, Bone Scan. For more info. And thus began the crazy making waiting again as I waited first to hear when the tests were scheduled, then when results would be in, and finally when I would meet my oncologists…

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