Surgery decision day

September 18, 2017

I set an alarm last night so that would get up earlier this morning and it worked, sort of.  I love to hit the snooze button, just love it.  And I hit that button several times this morning, but I did get up earlier.  I had a nice breakfast of eggs and then piddled around the house for the rest of the morning.

After talking to Sue about it, I called the PA at the oncologist’s office to ask about radiation and types of surgery.  I actually got to Laura, the PA, and she was so nice and took her time to answer all my questions so nicely  I really appreciated that.   She said that that both types of surgery are equally effective and that the surgeon will be the best to ask which type would be best for me.  She also said that the radiation oncologist, who I have not yet met, will examine my pathology reports after surgery and he will decide how many radiation treatments I will need and how often they will be.  She said this will take place within a couple weeks of surgery.

Then I met Sue, my wingwoman, at the surgeon’s office.  It turned into a 2 hour visit but quite a bit of that time was spent waiting to speak to someone and I spoke with quite a few people while there.  Basically, the doctor said I should have a lumpectomy, without doubt. When he did an ultrasound, he spent a lot of time looking before he announced that it just was no longer there.  He found the little metal marker he had put there earlier and the area was a little hazy, but that the tumor was gone.  Chemo had destroyed it!!!  Talk about good news!!!!  He was surprised, I was shocked.

The before photo on the left shows the tumor as a black mass.  It was about 2 cm across and up and down – about the size of a ping pong ball perhaps.  The after photo on the right shows the area where the tumor should be but isn’t.


I had been so afraid that the chemo was not working because my side effects were so light, but evidently that chemo did its job!!  After talking to the nurse and the doctor and the scheduler, we decided that the surgery will happen on Monday, October 2 which is two weeks from today!! Yay.  I have to be at the hospital at 8 am to get some radioactive dye injected so the sentinel lymph nodes will show up and then wait until 12:30 that afternoon to have the surgery at the Ambulatory Surgery Center.  No food from midnight the night before until after surgery so it may be a long, hungry day.  It’s outpatient surgery where they will remove tissue from the tumor area and send it off to make sure the margins contain no cancer cells.  They will also remove three of the closest lymph nodes to the tumor area to test them for cancer cells.  If any cancer cells show up within a couple of days of testing after surgery, I will have to have more surgery to have more tissue and/or lymph nodes removed.  He doesn’t expect that to happen but only time and testing will tell.

He said that I will be sore for a couple days and will need some pain pills, probably.  I can’t drive while taking pain pills so it’s kind of up to me as to how long I will not be able to drive.  We shall see about that.  He also said someone has to be around that first night after surgery so Sue and I will be having a sleep over – maybe we can arrange a large slumber party!!!!!!  Pranks and all!!!!!

These are a couple of signs in the exam room and I really think they tell a good story.

image4  image3

The girls have scheduled a week in Florida for the week of October 16 and he thinks I’ll be able to go and get in the water and everything.  If I have to have a second surgery, it’ll be a little iffy as to whether I can get in the water or not.  Let me tell you that if I go to Florida, I WILL be getting in the water!!!  I hope.

Tomorrow, chances are I will be getting a little piece of metal injected into my breast at the site of the tumor for easier locating on surgery day.  That’s not for sure yet, but it’ll probably happen.

Remember a few days ago when I picked up limbs in the yard from hurricane Irma??  Turns out I must have touched the greenery that I am allergic to again like I did during the summer.  This time I only have one itchy spot and I certainly hope it stays that way – I do not want any more steroid shots any time in the near future.  I am enjoying having fewer hot flashes these days.

Speaking of side effects today, I had fewer today than I’ve had probably since the beginning of chemo.  I haven’t even had much diarrhea today and that’s been wonderful.  I did get a little scratch or something while at the doctor’s office and there was a lot of bleeding from it.  Seems like since I started chemo, if I get even a tiny scratch that I will have a lot more bleeding than I used to have and that’s what happened today.

On the way to the surgeon’s office, I looked at myself in the mirror and was surprised to see how sparse my eyebrows were so I took a photo to document that fact.  Ain’t it a beaut of a photo??  The hair on my head is growing!!!  Sue said I have eyelashes but that I have probably lost some especially on the bottom eyelashes.  It’s going to be interesting to watch my hair grow out.  Maybe a crew cut would be a good look on me?!?!?!?  hhhmmm


Oh, when the surgeon first walked into the room, he stopped and looked at me and then looked at my photo on his chart and then looked at me again and then at the photo again.  He said, “Something is different!”  Then he said, “You have on some dangley earrings!!  That’s what it is!”  I agreed that was the difference between my current appearance and the the photo from several months ago!!  That man is a hoot.  He’s just like a typical 7th grade boy!!!!

Morning weight – 221.2



Author: melaniesjourneythroughcancer

I am a retired teacher who was recently diagnosed with triple negative ductal breast cancer. I decided to write this blog to record the actions and emotions that occur as I make this journey through the cancer experience.

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