I have a lesson later today, but I thought I might give an update from my oncology appointment last week about my treatment options.
I like my new oncologist, he is very direct and to the point and while the information he had for me was very sobering, I would rather receive it directly than to have things softened or ‘sugar coated’.
Some things I learned:
1. My case is especially tricky because my cancer was spreading so quickly (from 2 tumours to 20 in a month), and half of it did not show up on any screening tests, so the doctors didn’t know it was there until surgery.
2. If I have a recurrence it will be incurable and likely fatal.
3. It’s also tricky for them to manage me as I am so young (compared to those who usually have BC at 60 or older), and they have to plan and look at a much longer period of time (60 years for me VS 30 for a 60-year-old) when I have a chance for it coming back.
4. I have been waiting over a year for genetic testing and that is going to be followed-up because it will be used to determine some of the therapies, etc. that will be recommended. If I test positive for the BRCA gene (gene that causes female cancers), I will need another preventative surgery. No idea when that testing will happen right now.
5. Anything to do with me and hormones is proving to be unpredictable and that also makes things difficult.
It was a pretty sobering appointment, but it was a good 90 minutes of discussion that helped to clear up the muddiness of my options.
The plan for right now is to let my body finish healing from the surgery, get my activity levels back up (as that can increase tolerance for Hormone Therapy), and to try and get my hormones as much under control now as possible before considering trying the HT again. So basically, it is heal, dance and a new medication to try for the next month to see if it helps.
Once I get to that point, there are still some different options, one of which is no HT at all. HT has been proven to reduce the risk of recurrence by 50%, so it is good to know and understand what benefits it can offer me to help justify putting myself through the side effects. If I do decide to try the HT again, there is an option of starting at a less frequent dose and building my tolerance to see if that helps with the side effects.
Part of me just wants to say ‘what will be, will be’ and just go back to living my life as best as I can for whatever may be left of it. The other part of me feels I should at least try the HT again at the lower dose and see how it goes. It’s a tough decision, but I have a month to think about it and could be in an entirely different place by then.
On a more positive note, I have had the drain for a week now and it seems to have stabilized since Thursday, and no extra fluid has moved through the tube. My belly swells a little at night, but it clears up by morning like it is supposed to without anything else draining. I am really hoping that means the drain will be removed on Wednesday when I see the surgeon. Fingers crossed that one issue is solved!
The wound continues and I have no idea what might happen with that. It’s just ‘wait and see’.
3 lessons this week, and I hope to have some energy to practice a little bit as well.