Pink Ribbon Chronicles - Part 1

Hello Friends,

I would love to say that this e-mail is to announce the arrival of Baby Ty... but unfortunately, its purpose is to convey some bad news we received last week.

I have been diagnosed with breast cancer, which means that we will need to deliver Ty around Aug 17 (38 weeks) and undergo surgery/other treatments shortly after Ty's birth to get rid of the cancer.

After some initial tough days, we were fortunate to have a very informative meeting on Friday with a breast surgeon, who I personally grew to love over the course of an hour and a half (as much as you can love the person who will be removing all or part of your breast) :) During the course of the meeting, we learned much more than we ever wanted to know about breast cancer (we'll spare you most of the details) but the key things we learned about my cancer are these:

1) The kind of cancer that I have is ductal in nature (as opposed to lobular), which is important b/c it means that there is only a 5% chance that it is in the other breast. We will find that out for sure next week via mammogram/ultrasound.

2) It is a grade 2 cancer (which addresses how quickly it's growing) - as opposed to grade 1, which is very slow growing, or grade 3, which is very quickly growing. Note - this does NOT have to do with what "stage" the cancer is in - we won't know that for sure until after post-baby surgery. The stage your cancer is in will determine if chemo is necessary, so again, we don't have that answer, but are hoping to avoid it obviously.

3) In addition to the lump, which definitely needs to be removed via surgery, there are other "suspicious" calcifications within the breast. There is no real way to tell if these are cancerous at this point, as the test to determine that is not feasible during pregnancy. However, both the radiologist and breast surgeon seemed to think that they are a problem. Thus, we are most likely talking mastectomy vs. lumpectomy. A major benefit of mastectomy is there would be no radiation involved, plus the recurrence is just 1-2%. With a lumpectomy, there would definitely be radiation involved, and the recurrence rate is 10-15%. And that's all assuming that the calcifications turned out to be benign, which again, no one really thinks that they are.

So - our next steps are to talk to a medical oncologist (who will apparently explain what other types of drugs, chemo, etc. that might be necessary, based on future tests), a plastic surgeon (who will obviously help should we choose mastectomy) and our OB-Gyn (who will set a date for Ty's induction).

But the basic plan is that we will induce Ty's birth around Aug 17 (38 weeks), then plan to have the rest of the testing within that week, and surgery (probably mastectomy/reconstruction) within 1-2 weeks. The good news for me is that I will at least get to breastfeed Ty for 1-2 weeks, and the breast surgeon is very optimistic that I will be able to continue to breastfeed for as long as I want to on the "good" breast, two things that are very important to me.

I know this might not sound like great news - losing a breast was certainly not on my life "to-do" list. However, if it means that my chances of ever getting breast cancer again are vastly reduced, I get to skip radiation, and I get to enjoy my family and friends for many more years to come, it's totally worth it. For now, we're just praying that the cancer is limited to the left side, and that I have a chance of avoiding chemo. I'd love to avoid hormone (drug) therapy too, but for now, we don't have that answer either.

OK, so we didn't manage to spare you ALL the details, but you should all know by now that I am not a short-winded kind of gal.

Brian and I are assured that I will be around for years to come, and that a year from now, we will have a happy, healthy 1- and 5-year old that we will get to enjoy many memories with, and a happy, healthy mama too! In the end, that's all that matters. Thank you again for your love and support. We'll keep you updated as dates get set for surgery, etc. We know that trying to recover from breast surgery while getting used to life with a newborn and 4-year old will not be easy, and probably not too fun, but we know we'll get through it, as well as any additional treatments that may be coming in the months to come.

Please send all your positive thoughts and energy for a healthy baby and optimistic treatment outcome.

We love all of you!
Amy and Brian


Post a Comment