Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Middle of the night musings...

I got the lymph node biopsy scheduled for July 22nd (tomorrow). I saw the other doctors after my last post.
The radiation oncologist agreed with the oncologist that I should have chemo since my cancer was triple negative. I finally remembered where I had read that because my type of cancer was "apocrine" in nature, it was different than the regular triple negative type. It was an article I found months ago when I first began my research. It was on the website for Johns Hopkins- a very reputable source. It said apocrine cancers are always triple negative but are less likely to recur or metastasize. Because they are so rare (<2% of breast cancers) no studies to prove this have been done.
I dropped off a copy of the article at the office of the radiation oncologist and took it with me to see my gynecologist. The gynecologist has been my doctor for 20 years and is also my favorite obstetrician. We have been at many births together and have a good relationship. He will often come to the births of my doula clients even when he is not on call. He is the most supportive doctor of natural childbirth in Rome. This is probably because all of his children were born naturally. He was completely unaware of the information I shared with him about apocrine cancer and completely supportive of my decision to forego chemo if the lymph node biopsy is negative.
I feel fortunate to have the relationships I have with my personal doctors and to have their support as I face these many decisions.
My daughter and grandson are here with me and have been a nice distraction as I wait for this test. My sleep has been wonky since I have slept with my grandson the last 3 nights. He has not needed attention in the night but has been restless, and I naturally went back into "mother mode" where I sleep very lightly and wake up whenever he stirs. Yesterday I took a 2 1/2 hour nap with him which further messed me up- hence I am awake now at 3:45 in the morning. After my surgery I will probably sleep around the clock so maybe I can then get back to some normal schedule.
I have been obsessing over these decisions incessantly. I will be so happy when cancer treatment is not at the forefront of my mind. One day I feel confident that I need no further treatment, the next day I envision having chemo and radiation. I just can't wrap my mind around the latter plan. I have always thought chemo and radiation were not logical treatments. They both can cause cancer and both impair the body's immune system. It has never made sense to me to poison the body to treat disease. I am just not sure I can do that. I really feel that if my lymph node is negative there is very little chance the cancer left the breast before being removed. I also think I have many tools now to know if it comes back in either breast before it would even be detectable by mammogram.
I am so very fortunate to have a husband who is supportive of me and any decisions I make concerning my health. He has always respected my need to understand what is going on in my body and plan a course of action I feel good about. This would be so much harder without that support.

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