Post surgery follow-up

Friday, May 24, 2019. Steve and I drove down for my post surgery appointments with both Dr. Rugo (10a) and surgeon Dr. Ewing (noon). It was an easy drive, most likely due to the Memorial Day weekend and folks taking Friday off to make a long weekend a bit longer.

Our appointment with Dr. Rugo was to go over the results of the surgical pathology report. I had been upset with Dr. Rugo all the days prior, because during surgery she had texted Dr. Ewing instructing her not to remove my port. She failed talk to me about that decision, so I was super disappointed when they informed me about it in recovery. The one thing I was really looking forward to was for the “alien” to be gone. Grrrrrr.

As it turned out, her decision was sound.

Dr. Rugo and Steve and I went over the preliminary pathology report. It confirmed that the surgery did get everything and there was no cancer in any of the skeletal tissue. Yes! So technically I’m cancer free.

rose_altJust prior to surgery I was injected with nuclear medicine near the site of my original surgery from 19 years ago to see what lymph nodes it would travel to. Those nodes were then identified during surgery and removed. In addition to the lymph node between my pectoral muscles and the node under my arm, Ewing took 3 additional nodes. Of the five lymph nodes that were biopsied, 3 had cancer cells, two of which were pretty significant. As a result, Rugo strongly recommended more chemo and gave me four options to consider, along with the possibility of focal radiation. Her top choice was AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxin) to be infused every other week over the course of two months; second choice was Adriamycin alone–less toxic, same regimen; third was Xeloda, a less toxic oral chemo taken daily for two weeks and then off for one week for 8 cycles (6 months); and fourth was Epirubicin, a weekly infusion, although we didn’t discuss how many cycles. All of these treatments are more toxic than the Taxol/Carboplatin cocktail I was getting. The purpose would be to kill any scout cells sent out into my body by cancer-infected nodes before they were surgically removed.

There is a fifth option, and that is to do nothing. But statistically my chances of being around 5 years from now drops considerably from the 90% survival rate of triple negative cancer patients who received chemo after surgery.

Let’s be honest. Triple negative cancer is a bitch to get rid of.

Sunday, May 26, 2019. This is not an easy decision to make. As I envision what I think my decision should be on an intellectual level, I struggle with the authentic truth of my situation. Like before, I have been fiercely adamant about NOT doing any additional chemotherapy, no matter what. I really hate chemo, and after being off of it for over five weeks, I am finally starting to feel good. My hair is coming back. Not so much for my eyelashes and eyebrows, but I know it will happen. I can taste food again. My nose isn’t so drippy. My sensitivity to light is back to normal. My stomach and bowels aren’t bothering me at all. I’ve been able to have caffeine, and it’s been such a treat. To spend the majority of my summer chemo sick and sacrifice all this post-chemo progress is impossible to imagine, little lone do.

I am conflicted and sad. I honestly don’t know what decision I will ultimately make. I want to be true to my intellectual truth, but I also want to be here five years from now to keep telling and living my story.

You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you. —Mary Tyler Moore

20 Replies to “Post surgery follow-up”

  1. We trust you will make the best decision which will take in many different factors. I sent you a link for you to think about. Sending a bundle of love.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been thinking and praying for you all week. Anxiously awaiting your blog. You have a big decision to make, may the Lord guide you in your decision. You know we are with you always. Love Connie and Ken

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My sweet Lana…the words are hard to find to tell you how sad I am that you are having to make yet another difficult decision. I so admire you and the tough decisions you have had to make thus far. I love you so much and look forward to seeing you soon…with or without eyelashes. xoxoxo Ron

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear brave beautiful Lana! I’m sorry that your recovery journey isn’t smooth sailing…and you have to once again endure treatment. But wonderful news that the cancer is gone! Now…another chapter in this fight! And fight you will…as you can do this and be here to celebrate life for many more years. Sending love and prayers to help you in your decision.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My heart is hurting for you; my tears flow everyday. I love you so much and you never leave my thoughts. I too was hoping for better news and I understand the tough decisions you have to make. May the love of family and friends be your Rock as you are a Rock to so many people. My deepest Love to you Lan ~

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful Lana, you have my thoughts, prayers and hugs in abundance! I know it’s difficult to have to face yet another major decision, but I also know that you will make the right one for you. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just a note to say I’ve been thinking of you and Steve as you struggle with the decision of what treatment to choose…I know you’ll make the right one! Sending a big hug from Hopland!

    Liked by 1 person

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