Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thanks for the Mammaries! The Oncologist Visit.

Deryl says.....................................................The events of April 15th - So today is the first time we are going to see the breast surgeon/oncologist. I was feeling very good and positive about what was coming. When we arrived and checked in the receptionist referred to Kelley as a "cancer patient". When she said it I felt a twinge inside. I wasn't sure that is what she said but when Kelley asked me if I heard it I knew. It hit Kelley pretty hard. Being referred to as a cancer patient felt so unreal to both of us. As we waited in the waiting room and the examination room I felt my anxiety increase exponentially. I could not sit still and neither could Kelley. She examined Kelley and then asked us to meet her in a conference room.
As soon as we sat down I became calm and focused. The doctor was very thorough and patient. She explained everything from the best case scenario to the worst case scenario and the most likely scenario. We sat there for about two hours. We never felt rushed. It seemed as if she would have sat there all night if we had that many questions. Her name is Dr. Chow and if your ever find yourself in this situation I would highly recommend her.
Now I am going to give you all of the clinical details we received from the doctor. And I will continue to update you on this blog as things progress. Keep in mind I am going to do the same thing the doctor did which is give you the best case scenario, the worst case scenario, and the likely scenario.
The tumor is small and it appears that we caught it early. The biopsy said the tumor is a grade 1. Grade 1 is the slowest growing and least aggressive grade. And the sonogram showed that it was less than 1 centimeter. Both of those fall into the good news category. There is still some results we are waiting for from the biopsy and some additional tests to do to confirm what the doctor believes is the correct diagnosis. Currently the doctor believes that Kelley has stage 1 cancer which has a 100% survival rate with the available treatments.
There are a few thing about cancer and cancer cells you should know. First, a cancer cell can have 3 possible grades (1,2, or 3). As I said before 1 is the slowest and least aggressive while 3 is the fastest growing and most aggressive. The cancer cells may or may not be sensitive to hormones. They are currently testing Kelley's biopsy for estrogen, progesterone, and HER2/neu sensitivity. The results of these can dictate what kind of treatment options we have. We are also having a genetic marker test to determine Kelley's genetic predisposition to having a recurrence of cancer. And finally it must be determined whether or not the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
If all of these come back in our favor then the treatment is surgery to remove the lump and pills that Kelley will have to take for the rest of her life. If everything comes back not in our favor then Kelley will likely have a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. If things come back as the doctor expects Kelley will have the lump removed and radiation treatment.
So here is what is coming up for us next. We expect the hormone sensitivity results Monday April 19th. If the results are ER+ then Kelley will be able to take medication and most likely not require radiation or chemo. If it comes back HER2/neu+ she will likely require chemo. Next she is having an MRI on both breasts to make sure there are no other tumors in either breast. An MRI is more sensitive than a mammogram and will show things that cannot be picked up by a mammogram or a breast exam. So we are obviously hoping there are no other tumors because if there are then Kelley will likely require a mastectomy or double mastectomy. The MRI is scheduled for April 23rd and we should get the results about two days later. After that Kelley will have a genetic marker test probably the last week of April. It will take about two weeks to get the results back. If that comes back positive then the doctor will recommend a double mastectomy. Finally in May Kelley will have surgery to remove the tumor. When they remove the tumor they will also remove a margin of healthy tissue around the tumor. They will test the surface of the healthy tissue for any signs of cancer. If there is any signs of cancer Kelley will require additional surgery. During that surgery they will also remove a few lymph nodes to test. If there are no signs of cancer in the healthy tissue around the tumor and none in the lymph nodes then we will be done with surgery. If there are cancer cells in the lymph nodes then we are no longer considered stage 1 and the treatments recommended will be much more invasive and difficult.
I know that this is a lot of information. It was for us as well. The bottom line is everything so far points to stage 1 cancer and the most likely treatment will be surgery to remove the lump and radiation treatments at the spot of the surgery. We have a lot of hope that all will turn out well. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

1 comment:

  1. Kelly! I just found your blog and your post on fb. You have been a great support to me during my trials, I hope to be here for you. Please know I am praying for you and your family and will keep your blog on my favorites for updates!