Thursday, February 7, 2008

Will it be Plan A or Plan B?

My surgery last week feels like it was several months ago already. It all went as well as we could have hoped. My surgeon was happy with the amount of skin she was able to take out and she didn't cut my implant in the process. I had my surgery at 2 pm and was home by 7 pm that evening.

It took me until Sunday to start to feel more like myself and then I spent the day making cookies for Talyn and watching the SuperBowl. I have not had any pain at all (after 4 surgeries to the same area in 17 months, there just aren't any nerves there anymore). But, I have had a dull headache and some feelings of light headedness.

Today we went to visit with Dr. Webster and learned that although he remains confident that we'll get good news from the pathology, we have received no results yet. I will call his office on Monday to get the final results. What this means is that we created a Plan A and a Plan B to move forwards.

Plan A means that we hear that Dr. Mew was able to get deep, clear margins and we can assume that most or all of the cancer has been removed. I received a prescription today and once we have this news, I will fill it with my chemo drugs - capecitabine, to start next Friday, February 15th - Happy Valentine's Day to me!

This drug has the love it or hate it effect on its patients. In 1/3 of cases, patients have a really hard time tolerating this drug and they end up reducing the dosages and maybe stopping treatment. But, in 2/3 of cases, patients have no problems with it at all! Because of my anxious nature, I just wish there was some way to know which category I will fall into. I will take a pill each morning and each night for 2 weeks, then have a 1 week break and go back to see Dr. Webster for blood work and more drugs. Assuming all is well, I will start this cycle again and complete 6 cycles in total. Following this, I will do the radiation and hormone therapy that we had already discussed.

Plan B is very similar, but it will mean that we didn't get clear margins. So, I will go back for some more minor surgery to remove more skin and then proceed with chemo once we can get the clear margins we need.

This chemo drug, Capecitabine, is used for breast cancer patients that are dealing with recurrence or metastatic disease. Because we don't know whether my cancer has some cells elsewhere in my body, Dr. Webster feels that this drug is our best bet at attacking this very resilient cancer.

Although this plan seems solid, I left the Cancer Center today feeling a bit down. Surgery is easy, but chemo, radiation and a new hormone therapy all require me to be very strong physically and mentally. Because I didn't have a break to regroup my thoughts and get strong again, I don't feel that I'm quite where I need to be to start these new treatments again. But, just give me a couple of days to read everything I can find on what I'm getting into and I'm sure I'll be ready to fight again.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tasha,
    Thank you for giving us this update so soon after your February 1st surgery. Tricia sent us news of you the very next day and we were prepared to wait for word from you personally until after your pathology results. It's good of you to share this waiting period with us as well.

    Thanks, too, for explaining your two possible plans for further treatment depending on the news you get next week. Since both courses involve the use of capecitabine, we will pray that you will have "no problem at all" tolerating it and that it will do the job for you.

    Your description of treatment regimes and drugs, as well as your reference to your "resilient" cancer, help us to understand the progress that is being made in dealing with breast cancer. Though advancing treatments still sound grueling and even barbaric, we admire the reseachers and doctors who are making strides in this area. They must really care about people like yourself who are fighting cancer from within.

    We are sorry that you now face a long period of chemo, radiation and hormone therapy. Though you are feeling "a bit down", you have already proven that you are strong in body, mind and spirit. It's not surprising to hear that those resources are low in this week following your latest surgery.

    We know that you have a supportive team of people whose faith in you will lead you on to fight with renewed energy and courage. Please consider us part of that team from afar.
    Sincere best wishes,
    Louise and David