Thursday, September 17, 2009

Decisions, decisions....

The MRI results are in, and the winner is........

.....the left breast.

Ding ding ding! My left girl is free and clear of cancer, so now, whatever happens, I get to have a mismatched set.

Asymmetry is interesting - just ask Picasso.

In the right, I have multicentric disease (a fancy way of saying cancer soup, which we knew) The MRI, which he emphasized is not always accurate, shows a tumor size of 5 centimeters, not the 2 we thought before. He also said that until it's out, they won't know for sure how big it is.

I like this man, he never led me into anything. He told me the results and is letting me ask questions to come to my own decision, while giving his subtle opinion.

He said the goal is, of course, being cancer free. I agreed with him, duh. But, if I can possibly be cancer free with breasts, that's what I want to do.

Although he didn't say it, I sensed he feels that a mastectomy would be best for me. He did say due to the nature of the disease and where it's located, isn't sure that I'd get good results with lumpectomy, but he's willing to see. He did say he always tries for lumpectomy first, that is the standard of care. But, I have a lot of cancer.

So, my choices appear to be:

Mastectomy, immediate reconstruction, and chemo.
Chemo first, possible lumpectomy, radiation
Chemo first, not enough shrinkage, mastectomy

He is going to fax my MRI results to my work, so I'll see them tomorrow. I do much better reading than I do hearing, so after I get them I'll have more questions (although I had plenty) and a better idea about what I'm facing.

He also suggested I call the oncologist to see if he even will do chemo to shrink the tumors first. I'm way ahead of him - I already asked him that and he said it was possible. We'll see if he thinks so after he sees the MRI.

If I have to have a mastectomy, I asked when the plastics guy comes in to play and he said a couple of weeks before surgery.

Now for those of you who think I should get get the cancer out and be done with it - the reason I don't want a mastectomy is more than vanity, although that certainly plays a role. Particularly as I'm too small to have a DIEP reconstruction and would have to have implants - as I age one goes south and while the other is still waving hello!

A very real consideration is lymphodema, which would be a lifetime problem. My work and my recreation relies on my being able to use my arm, and my right arm at that. Of course, even with a lumpectomy I could end up with lymphodema if they find the cancer has spread.

Right now, I'm leaning towards trying chemo first but I also can't make up my mind until I read the MRI report.

I forgot to tell him how much it was hurting. It is very unlike me to miss a chance of getting pain pills. I hate pain. Migraine taught me that.

I asked how critical it was that I make a decision quickly. He said I had a couple of weeks. So, I will weigh my options carefully - this may be one of the biggest decisions I have to make.

What to do???


  1. Yaaaay! Left Boobie! Wins. No cancer there, that IS good news. So much better than it could have been. You just keep kicking ass and take names later girl!

  2. I have a friend who had a double mast and plays golf as often as she can.... Its a personal choice but do what you need to do to be comfortable with your decision. Good luck!

  3. Caroline, good for your friend...but golf? Please don't tell me when if I lose my breasts I'll suddenly get a desire to put on ugly polo shirts and shorts and hit balls with thin sticks. That thought is horrifying. :)


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