Well, today I had an appointment with my new Oncologist, Dr. Hoang, (I switched as my Tampa doc recommended a "Board Certified Oncologist") and I really got along well with him. He was kind, compassionate, and very informative.....From the beginning, this is what I learned, and I'm sharing it so that it might help someone else:
When learning a breast cancer exists, doctors look at age of patient, the size of the tumor(s), whether or not it invaded the lymph nodes, estrogen/progesterone positive or negative, grade (1, 2, 3), Her2neu (protein), and whether or not it is invasive (reaching out) or insitu (meaning encapsulated not reaching out). As you can imagine, these results can vary person to person.
As an example - One might be 45 (like me), with a 1.5 cm tumor, N0 (no lymph nodes involved), ER/PR negative, Grade 3 (very aggressive), Her2Neu negative, and invasive. To read it as a doctor puts it, I would be listed as: T1c, N0, Mx, ER/PR (-), Her2neu (-), and IDC (Invasive Ductal Cancer). (Or this is close anyway)
Next, Dr. Hoang explained (Adjuvant)chemotherapy to me (there are 4 generations). The first generation consisted of what is called CMF x6 ( x6 =6 months). The second generation of chemo produced AC x4 (if tumors were over 2 cm). The third one consists of AC x 4 (3 months), and then Taxane x 3 (weekly)(especially if lymph nodes are involved). Finally, the mean ones, the fourth generation. These basically kill your body without killing you and are usually reserved for Stage III and IV patients. They are called FAC, FEC, and FEC + Taxane. My sister Pam, a Stage III Triple negative endured the FEC + Taxane. She was miserable.
As for me: I am a Stage 1, Grade 3 patient; I get only one shot at making all cancer go away; I will do six months of chemotherapy 3/3 * (3 months of AC and 3 months of Taxane); The first three months will be the hardest; It is four rounds; once every three weeks; The last three months (Taxane) are weekly and should be easier on my body.
Now, this should be how my body progresses.
Day 1 - Day 7: First 3-4 days nausea/vomiting/tired :(
Day 8- Day 14: Low blood count - watch for infection (this is the most worrisome)
Day 15 - Day 21: Recovery period - I should feel pretty good. :)
As for tests, he is ordering a PET scan, a MUGA (heart ultrasound to ensure my heart is good - I know it is), and making plans to implant the port.
Wow, is this is a lot of information or what?? Once he laid it all out for me, I was able to better understand where I am at. As for school, he wants my primary focus to be on this care and getting better. It IS the beginning of my future. My chemo will be delayed until the end of September or first of October now due to this Monday's surgery so I am going to do this one last class and hope, hope, hope, for the best. After that, I'm taking a break and holding on for dear life.
I hope that I have explained this so that anyone who reads it can at least gather information and do research on their own in the unfortunate event it touches someone they know.
So, after the doctor's appointment, it was Chyla and Reina's turn. Shots with the Doc. Not good, poor little Reina screamed and of course, I dang near cried. She is such a little prissy...but alas, she was ok after they gave her to my sister.
This evening is closing with me watching Mo'nique in "Phat Girlz" - a good flick, and eating a bit of "Chunky Monkey" ice cream.....because I can....