It's hard to describe what this past couple of weeks has been like. In some ways, I wish everyone could experience it so that you could feel how precious your life really is. I felt like someone or something was holding my life in the balance and deciding whether or not I could add enough value to keep it.
Tricia, Ryan and I went in to meet Dr. Webster on Thursday morning. He came bouncing in the room (he has tons of energy all the time) and told me that the CT Scan and Bone Scan that I had done looked "pristine". That was great news! This means that no tumours were found elsewhere on my body.
But...isn't there always a but? The issue is that on the lump they just removed, they know that the edges were covered in invasive cancer, so there is still some of this stuff inside of me. However, it didn't show up on any of the tests. So, we don't really know if my cancer is local or regional. Dr. Webster's best guess is that I only have a little bit of it left inside of me and it might have moved a bit from its original area.
He said that we're dealing with a grey area now. Recurrence for someone so quickly after the original diagnosis and while I'm still in treatment is fairly rare and the best treatments for this are still really experimental. Since I've had the pleasure of dealing with him for a while now, he knows me well. He knows that I want to throw everything he has at this cancer and get it gone for good. So he put together a plan that we hope will give us the best shot at doing that.
I will go ahead with a day surgery on February 1. My previous surgeon will be doing this again and she is really great. Then I will go back to meet with my oncologist on February 7th to review the pathology results. What we are hoping to find is that we have very deep clear margins (i.e. they got it all out).
The issue then is to deal with any cancer cells that might have moved already. So, I will do 4 months of chemo. The great news is that this chemo is fairly mild so I won't lose my hair again and I will be able to continue working and living a normal life. Next is 4 weeks of radiation to the right side to hit this cancer with another shot to the head. Finally, I will do up to 2 years of a different type of hormone therapy to give it the final blow before it's knocked to the ground.
In the range of ways that this could have ended up, I am mostly very happy! Although it could have been slightly better, it also could have been a whole lot worse. The feeling of getting my life back is the most energizing feeling that I have ever felt. It's really hard to describe, but I feel that I now have a renewed passion for living a great life and helping others.
Now it's time to go knock this cancer on its butt where it belongs!