It wasn’t a bad day!

Can’t say for sure (yet) if any day with cancer is “good,” but today’s news was not half bad.

Had a morning appointment with a fertility doctor, who told me that my best chances of having a baby someday when I am cancer free is IVF. The biggest complication in the situation is my age. I’ll be 35 next week and, in case you haven’t heard, that’s when fertility rates start their downward plummet. My likely chemo and hormone treatment plan is going to take about five years. But by that time, I’ll be at the big 4-0, when the alarm on the biological clock goes into a spastic rage. The good news is that although chemo will affect the ovaries, it will not harm the uterus. And, as the good doctor said, the average uterus stays healthy into a woman’s 70s and 80s. He said, “we know we CAN get a woman pregnant into her 70s,” it’s just that she doesn’t have the eggs to do it. (He didn’t note what a completely freaky idea that is.)

The only thing holding us back from signing on the dotted line was a wad of cash and the OK from my oncologist (keep reading).

So, I met with the oncologist, who was awesome. I’ve received numerous e-mails and calls from people about how great it is I’m seeing Dr. Sledge (as well as Dr. Schmidt). They are apparently the unbeatable breast cancer team! Dr. Sledge worked us into his schedule, and we were led to believe it would be a very short appointment, and he talked to us for at least 90 minutes, maybe longer.

The great news is that all of my tests from yesterday were excellent. So, I’m in really good health (aside from this little cancer thing) and there is no visible spread of the cancer anywhere in my body. That makes the primary goal of chemo to destroy the (possible) microscopic cancer cells floating around. The second goal will also be to destroy or reduce the cells remaining in my breast.

One annoying thing I learned today is that my excision site SHOULD have been oriented — meaning marked — so that on the pathology, doctors would have been able to tell which direction it came out and, therefore, which direction the transected part of the tumor was going. So, on a necessary re-excision, they would have known the exact area to re-excise. However, since it wasn’t marked, they will have to re-excise the whole lumpectomy area. Since they removed a very large area from me, that makes the re-excision area that much larger. Thus, I have a chance a re-excision could be extremely deforming and then result in a mastectomy. If it was oriented, I would probably not be facing this problem. I’m not sure who screwed this up, but I plan to get to the bottom of it. Somebody’s going to hear about it!

The next great news is that Dr. Sledge believes I can do one round of egg collection for the fertility treatment with no impact on my chemo treatment plan whatsoever. It will only delay chemo by about two or three weeks and he said it is within the time frame they like to start after surgery, so it isn’t a problem. As long as I start chemo by eight weeks after surgery (May 22), then I will be statistically in the same “outcome” category as if I started it at five or six weeks.

Also, he said the hormones they will give me don’t concern him. I will be given superdoses of estrogen. Since I have a cancer in me that eats estrogen for food, this seems bad. But Dr. Sledge said studies actually show that large doses of estrogen have the potential to shut down the cancer and in the early days of cancer treatment, large doses of estrogen were used to treat tumors! He said the danger is in low doses of cancer over long periods of time. This treatment will only last about a week, so I’m in good shape.

Dr. Sledge also answered lots of questions I asked and he had lots of great answers. He is amenable to me using holistic treatments, including vitamins and supplements, to support cancer treatment and prevent recurrence. He discussed it with us and told us he would even let us know what kind of stuff to completely avoid because it was worthless; told me to be sure to update him on everything I am taking, no judgement from him as long as it is safe. He even suggested to avoid things a day before chemo and two days after, to prevent drug interactions.

I could go on. It was a better day. Even though the survival odds for me are still what I thought (around 85-90 percent), I feel better about the situation because I’m working with these great doctors.

Author: rosie

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