I had my post op appointment yesterday, which I was rather optimistic about. I’m finding that that’s my biggest mistake, and my biggest weapon in all of this, and apparently I haven’t gotten the timing quite right.
On the bright side, my incisions look great, and my mobility is coming back nicely. On the not bright side, they officially staged my cancer as Stage 3 Grade 3, as opposed to their original Stage 2 Grade 2-3. The lump in my breast measured smaller than what they originally thought… But this kills me, it went from looking like less than 2 cm in the ultrasound, then inconclusive in the MRI because my tissue is dense, but they thought it was around 5-6 cm based on that particular test, then at my last appointment, my doctor noticed that they both (lymph node and breast) felt smaller from the last exam 3 weeks prior, and when it was all out of it me, it measured 3 cm. They changed the staging because of the number of lymph nodes involved. Post surgery, my doctor said he removed a couple of lymph nodes, but he didn’t know an exact number because they are small, and they’re also encased in fat, which makes it difficult to discern how many are actually there. Every person has a different number of lymph nodes in their body. It ended up that he actually removed 13 on my right side (in the underarm area) and of those 13, 8 tested positive with cancer, 5 were negative. In surgery, they insert a radioactive dye that follows the path of the cancer, so I suppose it’s good that 5 of them tested negative for cancer.
Now that I’ve had to get rid of my fucking breasts, there’s still a concern that this isn’t over. They do believe that they got it all in surgery, but they’re also unable to test for micrometastases that could be in other lymph nodes that their technology cannot see or test for. So they’d like me to do chemotherapy “just to be sure”. I’m not okay with this.
I’m not okay with flooding my body with poison and destroying my already weakened immune system. I’m not okay with the side effects of chemotherapy, like chemo brain, or decreased sex drive and energy levels, neutropenia and the illnesses that can result, having a fucking port sewn into my clavicle. No, thank you. I’m hormone receptor positive. I will explore this avenue.
*I took the liberty of removing my earlier rant because I think it was a bit offensive and not my intention. Everyone’s treatment decisions are their own, and I don’t think my last version of this post was written with that in mind*
I realize that my beliefs might be radical and possibly offensive to some. Obviously that isn’t my intention, but I’m speaking from a place of what I believe in FOR ME. I understand chemotherapy in cases where there is actually cancer to treat. But my cancer has all been removed. The doctors believe this. So to go through the hell of it “just in case” is not something I’m willing to do. There are too many unknowns for me in my current situation to just jump on board with a smile on my face.
We are all creating cancer in our cells all the time. The difference between a person who has cancer and a person who does not is in the immune system. The immune system in a normal person is able to shut down haywire cell growth before any problems arise. The immune system in someone like me was not able to suppress the angiogenesis (the process through which new blood vessels are formed from pre existing blood vessels-crucial for reproduction of these mutated cells). So it doesn’t seem right to poison this same immune system that was already damaged to begin with just to knock it on its ass further… while *hopefully* wiping out the pesky rogue cells that may or may not be present.
It makes far more sense to me to focus on strengthening the immune system through extremely focused nutrition (RAW and juiced vegetables, very minimal fruit as sugar feeds cancer, no animal products) and proper supplementation (I’m on about 50 supplements per day split up at breakfast lunch and dinner, as prescribed by my integrative MD-yes, she is a Western Medicine Doctor), as well as healthy stress management (this involves emotional healing too, to a large degree, and I’m finding that I have a lot of that to do…). Basically self care as the number 1 priority (which, I believe it should have always been for me, cancer or no cancer.. but my poor self value and self worth made this challenging… and I believe there is a strong mind-body connection which I will write about at some point…)
I was given a statistic yesterday that there’s a 30% increase in survival at the 10 year mark when chemotherapy is combined with hormone therapy, as opposed to hormone therapy alone. I’m not a statistics person. Nor does that number seem substantial enough for me to just jump on board with something that has felt like a violation to my whole self from the very beginning of this fucking god awful nightmare. (Obviously I’m fucking angry right now and unapologetically so)
I realize that everyone is different. I know that my treatment will not work if I’m not behind it. That “positive attitude” that everyone is so adamant on preaching to me WILL NOT be there if I do something that I am not at peace with.
Right now, I need support. My mom and I both do. We do not need to be told what to do or how to proceed in terms of treatment OR in day to day life-Comments beginning with “You need to…” are comments we have no time or space for. We do not need interrogation or criticism or judgment. We are still gathering all of our information before we make any decisions.
I will define support as being present with us. Regardless of whether you agree with our approach or beliefs at this time or not. Regardless of how uncomfortable and scared this makes YOU (you better fucking believe we’re scared too). Regardless of how much you are inclined to “fix things”. Just be here. And if you can’t, then don’t.