Friday, February 1, 2013

My Cancer Journey - Part 8: Further Treatments Needed

The mastectomy surgery on December 11th went as expected, and, one week later, we saw the surgeon for follow-up. He removed my drain tube and the dressing, causing much more comfort for me at that time; but, more important, was the pathology report, which revealed clear lymph nodes! Oh, what wonderful words to hear. However, when David said to the surgeon that clear lymph nodes meant no further treatments, the surgeon said, "No, I’m sorry, but I can’t guarantee that." He wanted us to discuss it with our Oncologist in January. But, with all the clear reports, we assumed the only treatment needed would be to start taking a medication that blocks the estrogen in my body and would keep any new cancer cells from growing.

Our assumptions were wrong...
David and I sat in the doctor’s office, waiting to hear his recommendation for further treatments. He entered the room with a friendly greeting, then moved directly to the conversation of my cancer. He spent a lot of time sitting and talking with us, explaining my situation. He said the cancer is Stage 2 (So, thankfully, we caught it early, removed it surgically, and it had not spread to other organs.) However, it seems the surgery was not enough to give us the best possible chances for no recurrence. The doctor explained that there was a test done on my tumor called Ki-67 which determines the aggressiveness of it, and how likely it is to return. Anything above 20% is considered high, and my numbers came in at 99%. This means, without additional treatment, there is a very high chance of recurrence within the next 2 years. He then said, his recommendation is for chemotherapy, in order to kill any remaining cancer cells.

The utterance of the word "chemo" produced a surge of adrenaline in me, and my heart began to pound. That was the one word I was hoping not to hear. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted all of this to just be a bad dream and I would wake up and everything would be normal again. But, as my husband placed his arm around me for comfort, I was reminded of how much I love him and our children. I didn’t like hearing this news but I realized I only want what is best for a full and complete recovery. The Lord had brought us to a good doctor with a lot of experience, so I chose to trust his wisdom, and to trust in a God who has already gone before us. So, with that said, another minor surgery was scheduled to have a power port installed, followed by the beginning of 6 months of chemo treatment.

In my humanness, I have often asked, WHY has all of this been happening to me?? And, one day, as I tried to make sense of it all, I read one of the cards a friend sent to me for encouragement. It helped put some things in perspective, and I’ll talk more about that in my next post.

Life has certainly been interesting for the past 4 months, and I guess it will never be the same from here on out. But, God is faithful, and always will be...



  1. Saying a prayer for you on this journey. How wonderful that we have a God who walks beside us through our trials and makes something beautiful out of everything. God bless you.


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