After being diagnosed with breast cancer in June, I honestly never dreamed that I would be cancer free 6 months later. I have to admit, I had it easy compared to what some people go through and I’m truly grateful for that. The chemotherapy was by far the worst experience ever and surgery was awful but bearable. When I was diagnosed in June the cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes so radiation seemed unavoidable. I meet with the radiation oncologist at Menorah Medical Center and was told that I should have radiation because it was “the standard of care”. I was convinced that was the smartest answer when it came to my case. With any major decision I had to get a second opinion. I strongly suggest that with any cancer diagnosis that you get a second or third opinion. My second opinion was with The University of Kansas Medical Center, Dr. Mitchell. I loved her approach to the consultation and she is incredibly smart. She called the pathologist from my surgery and wanted to speak to him directly to go over all parts of my pathology report. I was surprised that she had showed me all the studies and guidelines she uses and how she determines whether to recommend radiation or not. Dr. Melissa Mitchell explained to me why she wouldn’t recommend chemotherapy and how she came to that decision. I am choosing to follow her recommendation because I believe her and I trust her. So, no radiation for this girl. The University of Kansas Medical Center has been amazing through this cancer hell, they really know what they are doing and have amazing staff.
This was a big week on the plastic surgery front as well. On Monday I had my first expansion and it went well. My plastic surgeon, Dr. Paul Leahy, said that I was healing nicely and that we could start filling my tissue expanders. This was the part I was dreading the most. So basically they fill a syringe with silicone and insert it into my breast so it fills the tissue expanders. It didn’t hurt but became uncomfortable later in the day. My breasts basically feel like rocks sitting on my chest. Every Monday I will go and get a little more filled until I reach the desired amount and then we will schedule the exchange surgery. The exchange surgery will just be an outpatient procedure and I shouldn’t be out long for it. I’m getting pretty excited. I am still going to have to wait 6-8 weeks before I can start working out, like the end of March or early April. Grrrr.
Since the surgery, my left arm hasn’t healed the way they would like so I have started physical therapy. They (breast surgeon, lymphodema specialist, and physical therapist) believe I have a lot of nerve and tissue damage. All I know is that it hurts and I don’t have a full range of motion on my left side. I feel like all the therapy and stretching I have been doing should be doing the trick but still no progress. The physical therapist is great and I have only wanted to punch her a couple times. Completely serious. I am still numb on parts of my chest and underarms so touch is very uncomfortable and makes my skin crawl. They say it gets better but I have yet to notice it. I have one more week before I go back to work so hopefully we can make some progress next week.
I’m excited to get back to somewhat a normal life. I will still be having Herception infusions every 3 weeks until July, I will be taking Tamoxifen for the next 10 years, and I will most likely have some lingering side effects from surgery. I’m excited to get back to work. I’m excited to do more things with my children. I’m excited to do a little traveling with my husband. I’m excited for my hair and fingernails to grow out. I miss my hair. I miss it a lot.