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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Half way done!

We have been busy running around with the kids and adjusting to my diagnosis.  Did my 3rd round of chemotherapy on Monday which means I am halfway done!!!!  Now I am on the downhill.  I think I have tolerated it better than most, and am a little sick for a week and a half and then feel good.  My hematocrit, white count, and platelets are pretty much normal.  Emotionally I have been having a lot of anxiety on whether I decided to do the right thing with surgery vs chemo first.  The nurse practitioner explained that the reason I was given the recommendation of chemo first is because of the size of my tumor which is 2.5 cm.  It is considered borderline small/medium. With small tumors the recommendation is to do surgery first. With bigger rumors it may be beneficial to shrink the tumor first in order to obtain negative margins during surgery.  Sometimes the tumor grows into the chest wall, and can make surgery more difficult.  Shrinking the tumor should make my surgery alot easier.  I am also having anxiety over whether the tumor is shrinking.  I am pretty sure that it is smaller, but am having this overwhelming feeling of wanting it out of me.  I can't wait until my surgery in january.

I am going to meet with the radiation oncologist towards the end of October and will discuss radiation treatments after surgery.  I am really hoping that I will be able to do my reconstruction and mastectomy on the same day.  This will depend on if I need to have radiation to my chest wall in addition to my axilla.  Radiation can do damage to the reconstruction if done after the surgery.  The procedure I will have is the called the DIEP. The best part of this procedure is that I will get a tummy tuck that is paid for by my insurance.  The recovery will be hard, I will not be able to lift anything over 10 pounds for several weeks after the surgery which will be hard with a 17 pound baby crawling all over.

I went to my first young survivor sisters social last week which is a support group for girls under 45 that have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  We met at the cheesecake factory.  It was really helpful to meet others who understand exactly what I have and am going through. There were about 20 in attendance and I'm sure we were quite the sight.  Several of us were bald and the conversation solely focused on breasts! Im pretty sure we all kept touching our breasts while talking.  I was able to talk with a girl that also has the BRCA 2 mutation and is a survivor.  Her dr recommended that she get her ovaries removed by age 38, I am planning on doing this also because I am so scared of ovarian cancer (people with the brca2 gene have a 20% chance of developing ovarian cancer and the normal population have 1 1/2%)  It feels like my ovaries are ticking time bombs.

I met with the genetics counselor and have pinpointed that I got the BRCA2 gene mutation from my mother.  It was passed to her from her mother.  My maternal grandmothers brother has some granddaughters and great granddaughters that all carry the same gene as I do.  The BRCA2 gene is a large gene and different families carry different mutations within the gene.  Turns out that we have the exact same mutation.  Many members of their family have had breast cancer and several got it even younger than me.  I had absolutely no idea that this gene was carried in our family!  

My hair has mostly fallen out.  It happened about 2 1/2 weeks after my first treatment.  We had a hair shaving party and my kids shaved a Mohawk before they buzzed it all off.  I have been going around mostly bald, but have been wearing hats the last several days because of the cold.  

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