Saturday, July 3, 2010

week in review

Last week was full of appointments and next week looks to be the same. I finished my 1/2 sleeve tattoo yesterday, I won't be able to have any other work done on my right arm in the future to avoid lymphedema. I had a MRI of my breasts done, the BRACA1 and BRACA2 genetic test done (won't have results for 3 to 5 weeks), and met with the oncologist. So here is some dry medical updates for those who are factual based and need to know the nitty gritty...

My oncologist seems nice enough, but if I have to get my height measured again I may scream and throw a two-year old tantrum. I am pretty sure that at the age of 26 I haven't grown or shrunk--I am being seen daily and I dislike the tedious process when all my energy is focused on whatever meeting or test I am having, I feel like my energy boils over and I make my hands into fists to hold myself back. I think that is a pretty good way to tell that I am wound tight and pretty stressed...but hell, I feel like a tantrum may be the release I need.

I will be getting surgery then after recovering from surgery I will start chemo. During surgery I will have a chest port inserted into, you guessed it, my chest. My chemo and blood will be inserted through this port. Apparently I am naive, I had no idea that was how chemo was distributed and that I would have it placed there surgically, not only poison in my veins but a foreign object in my chest.

I will be taking another medication along with chemo because the cancer is HER2- positive. HER2-positive breast cancer is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which promotes the growth of cancer cells. In about 1 of every 5 breast cancers, the cancer cells make an excess of HER2 due to a gene mutation. I will be given a medication called Herceptin. I will also have to take a hormone blocking pill for 5 years because my tumor is estrogen receptor positive (ER+). This means I will not be able to get pregnant for 5 years.........

The irony of this is that Scott and I were trying to get pregnant prior to all of this happening. Now I am being told that there is a good chance that I may not be able to get pregnant or regain fertility after chemo, the herceptin, and the hormone blocking pill............that brings us to the first appointment of next week: a fertility specialist. Bright and early Monday morning Scott and I will be sitting in an office that we never imagined ourselves in.

I do babies.......that is my life, pregnant women, birth, and embracing new families. That is just what I do. I never would have thought that I may not have the privilege to be a mother, to give birth, to experience what I assist others in going through. To think that just a few short days ago I was so worried about breastfeeding, now I am worried about being able to start a family. Lets be honest, fertility treatments are very pricey. People say that babies are expensive.....but I don't think they expect this.

I follow the fertility appointment with an appointment with the plastic surgeon on Tuesday. I am going to be having reconstruction done. I am not particularly attached to my breasts, considering they are trying to kill me, but I do like an hourglass figure and have the option for reconstruction so I am going for it. I will meet with the plastic surgeon to discuss my options, but most likely will start the process right after the bilateral mastectomy. The plastic surgeon creates nipples but they are just made out of skin color. I will be having my nipples tattooed on from my favorite shop.

I also am having a bone scan and a CT of my chest, stomach and pelvis. Whew.....time for a nap.


  1. I wouldn't blame you at all for wanting to throw a tantrum. <3 I think I would have by now! If you are going to SRM to see a fertility specialist, they are good people, my mom is their O.R. nurse. I am sure you're beyond overwhelmed but you're handling this like a champ. Love you!

  2. I have a PA friend in reconstructive plastic surgery, if you need any data on stuff. DJ at CRC is a good person to ask about who is good in Seattle, their style, etc...