Wednesday, July 27, 2016

5077 Lab report

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."
-- B. F. Skinner --


Saw the surgeon today.  Got the bandages off.  Got the lab report.  

I am healing beautifully.  Well, not beautifully, it's pretty ugly, but you know what I mean.  I can now wear a regular bra and do whatever I want.

The lab says the edges of the excised lump are perfectly clear, not only clear around what she removed (and she did go wide, as I had requested) but clear right up to (and including!) the centimeter around the tumor itself.  Two of the closest lymph nodes (what they call the "sentinel node" and one past that one) were removed and examined, and they are also perfectly clear.  Even though the earlier core biopsy said it was dividing rapidly, the size of the tumor was about the same as determined by the MRI of a few weeks ago.  

That was my biggest worry, and one of the factors in my decision to go ahead with the lumpectomy rather than searching for a surgeon who would agree to a mastectomy - I felt pressured by time.  My #1 priority was to get the tumor out of there before it decided to expand territory, travel, and set up shop elsewhere, and given the difficulty finding another surgeon who would accept my rotten insurance, I didn't feel I had the luxury of time.  Now I do.   We can clean this up later at our leisure.

So, altogether a very good report. 

Next I see an oncologist, and find out what the recommendations are for follow-on treatment.  I'm hoping that radiation will not be required (it probably will be recommended, but I can hope not), and hormone treatment rather than chemo (that's a probability).

Note.  This is important to know!  When there are multiple treatment possibilities, like mastectomy versus lumpectomy with radiation, you, the patient, have every right to choose which to have, which to reject.  No one can force you to accept any particular treatment, even if one is more highly recommended than another, as long as either is medically approved.  As long as the risks and benefits of one over the other are explained to you, you have every right to accept or reject those risks.  It's your body, and you can determine the course of treatment.  Your doctors also have the right to refuse to do one or the other if in their opinion it is not the best treatment for you.  In my case, my surgeon refused to do a mastectomy, but I also had the right to reject lumpectomy/radiation.  All I had to do was find a surgeon willing to do what I wanted (which, with my insurance would have cost time).  In fact, even with this surgeon, if I had flatly refused to even consider radiation, she would have done the mastectomy.  She did tell me that.

So, why didn't I just flatly refuse radiation in order to force her to do what I wanted?  Because I learned a long time ago that you don't piss off your waitress until after your food has arrived.

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