Damn, enough with the lemons. I’m fresh out of sugar for lemonade.
My breast cancer surgeon just called with my post-op pathology report. Seems she didn’t get a clean margin on the tumor after all because it was into the chest muscle and she couldn’t take any more tissue on that side.
A real gut punch, since both my son and I interpreted her remarks after surgery as meaning she was about 98% sure she got a clean margin. Perhaps we only heard what we wanted to hear. Hard to say now. I guess, against my better judgment, I forgot the “cautious optimism” I was going to maintain and allowed myself to slide into full-blown optimism. My mistake.
She said the sentinel nodes were clean, so I’m okay there, and that no more surgery will be necessary. From here on it’s chemo and radiation. Whee. Not. As before, the HER-2 report is still outstanding and I really, really want that to come back negative, not “equivocal” like the first time. If it’s positive, cardiotoxic drugs will probably be used and I really don’t want to deal with that.
The tumor was larger than expected — 5 cm at its widest/tallest point. Their second opinion path report had said it was 2.6 × 2.7 × 2.3 cm. Yes, I heard wrong on the first report (and my copy of it was blurred) but I was still really rattled at the time. I don’t understand how they measure these things — 3 dimensions, single longest dimension, etc. How do you compare those? All I know is 5 cm is just about 2″ and that’s a big chunk of bad juju. You sure can’t tell that from the incision, but I suppose that could change a lot over time. At the moment it looks almost like nothing was removed.
So here I am, feeling like the Mack truck that hit me last month just circled back and hit me again. I’ve been thinking the tumor was out and all we had to do was ensure with chemo and radiation that it didn’t come back. Now I’m in limbo again until I talk to the medical oncologist on June 9 and find out if this is going to mean a lot more chemo and radiation than before. (It was already bad enough that the heart lies directly under the left breast and thus potentially in the line of fire for radiation.) I don’t know how “unclean” the margin was, whether it was just a few stray cells or a significant mass of them. She may have said something about it but I’m sure I didn’t fully grasp everything she was telling me. She will be talking to the CU tumor board before I see her and the oncologist again on the 9th. By then I’ll have regained my composure (I hope) and come up with a long list of questions.