We met with the surgeon Tuesday morning and he gave me the okay to begin the next steps for treatment. He also set up a meeting with my oncologist. I appear to be a bit of borderline case when it comes to my treatment strategy. If I were 45 with this diagnosis, chemo would not be considered necessary. However, since I am only 30 the international medical community has not made up their collective minds about what should be done for me. Unfortunately for me, getting breast cancer younger is not better.
We met with the oncologist on Friday and she went over all my options. In the end, she said it was my choice but that if it was her she would take chemo. I love it when doctors give you the "if it was me" option because not all of them do and, frankly, that is what I really want to know: If you were in my shoes, with my diagnosis, what would you do? We had already been leaning toward chemo anyway - I don't want to ever look back at this time and feel that I did not do everything I could have to prevent a reoccurrence. While chemo can't guarantee I won't have a reoccurrence it is estimated that it reduces your risk by about 30 percent. Meaning if I had a 100% chance of reoccurrence without any treatment (which I don't, by the way) receiving chemo would make my risk about 70%. From what I can gather, if I take all the treatment they can offer my risk of reoccurrence is about 10%. 10% is more than I would like, obviously, but in the grand scheme of things, it is pretty darn good.
Apparently chemo here only takes about 10 minutes - at least for the actual administration of the drug. There will probably be other things I have to do and it will take longer. The Doc asked if I wanted to start directly after our consult but I told her I was completely emotionally unprepared - who has a consultation and starts chemo the same day!?! No one! Plus, I told her my mother would kill me if I went ahead and got chemo before she could get here. So mom is flying in Thursday and I'm going for round 1 of 4 on Friday.
So what does chemo mean for me. Who knows! There is a good chance I will go through this feeling pretty good. The only 100% certainty is this: I will be bald. That is going to be insane. I will try to post pictures. I say "try" because while I feel pretty zen about this bald nonsense now, I still have my hair. Once it is is gone I may be less cool with the idea of parading my bald self all around the internets. I don't think it will be an issue, but you never know.
However, the silver lining of this (do I use that term too much?); think of all the Halloween costumes! I can go as Powder, Dr. Evil, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Boris Yeltzin! Our personal favourite/front runner is rather simple but, in my honest opinion, hilarious: I'm going to go as Paul, and he is going to go as me. I think this one might make people uncomfortable but frankly it makes me laugh like crazy and that is the important part. The only potential problem is that the Oncologist we met with seemed to suggest that hair loss might not get really going until after my second round of chemo and that is scheduled for November 3rd. Oh well, I'll do what I can.