Liz and I are trying to keep a healthy sense of humor through all of this. So here is the first draft of the Kicking Cancer's Ass Bandits costume. Because every superhero duo needs to fight crime in awesome outfits (and capes, despite what Edna Mode might have to say about that). Watch out Vladimir -- Liz is going to end you!
Happy Valentines Day… not so much. It was a difficult day. We went to see Dr. Shanti to get lessons on fertility injections, scheduled to start tonight. I'd already started an oral medication last night. One major kudos to GE… the fertility benefits are awesome!
Later in the day, we wanted to ensure that any meds I'm taking for fertility don't encourage the tumor to grow. After some difficult conversations and data, we decided to discontinue harvesting my eggs. Good thing we have Heather and her younger eggs. I know we made the right decision and will never regret the decision we made, but it's still a sad reality I will never birth a child or pass on my genes. ~Liz
Met with Dr. Shanti again today and had some additional testing done, blood tests and ultrasound. Yet another GE machine. The follicle count didn't give us much hope on the Ultrasound, but we won't know the lab results on my FSH levels until later in the day. ~Liz
Today we went to the West Allis hospital to meet with a fertility doctor, get blood work, chest x-ray and genetic counselor.
Fertility Doctor discussion was based on possibility of freezing viable eggs prior to chemo. We decided to pursue this until it's no longer made sense… so we'd never have any regrets.
Genetic Counselor discussion started in an interesting way… when we met the counselor and realized it was someone we know! Not like Heather and I know that many people in Milwaukee… but we knew Lori. It started a bit weird, but after we got through that initial oddness … we are so happy to be working with Lori!
Blood test and Chest X-ray where rather uneventful. ~Liz
After the results on Monday… we were anxious to meet with the surgeon and learn more about next steps.
Today we met my nurse counselor Monique and also met with my surgeon, Dr. Judy Tjoe. They are both amazing and provided us tons of information about next steps. It was both comforting and scary to hear that a Mammogram screening likely wouldn't have caught this lump, and thankfully I did. We talked about the ABUS technology and Dr. Tjoe said I would have been a perfect candidate for that technology to locate the lump. We did have some good news in the session, when we got some more information on the pathology of the tumor: it's estrogen and progesterone receptor positive. What that means is I'm a great candidate for hormone therapy! Next test to confirm is there HER2. ~Liz
Note from Heather (by way of the Breast Cancer Classification article on Wikipedia): "ER+ cancer cells (that is, cancer cells that have estrogen receptors) depend on estrogen for their growth, so they can be treated with drugs to block estrogen effects (e.g. tamoxifen), and generally have a better prognosis."
Dr. Madsen, the radiologist call this morning with the long-dreaded news: it's breast cancer.
Another day at Sinai Hospital … today for the breast biopsy with Dr. Madson. They use Ultrasound to guide the needle… and yet another GE device. The biopsy was uncomfortable, but not unbearable. They took three pieces from the area and then we started the LONG wait for Monday, when we'd get the results.
Two tests today … Mammogram and Ultrasound of the right breast. Happy to see GE equipment, but not thrilled about the context of its use. The mammogram was tough and painful, given the placement of the mass so closely against my chest. Both sets of images showed concern and Dr. Madsen (the radiologist) determined a biopsy was needed to learn more about the mass. We were thankful to have the results immediately, but sad and upset that a biopsy was needed. We did find some peace that many masses like this are benign and the pain I was feeling is often not associated with the cancer. Fingers crossed it's not!
Initially I wasn't scheduled for the biopsy for 8 days... but after a conversation with my dad and then my dad with Dr. Madsen, we were able to get it moved up a week for the following day. ~Liz
Liz was able to get into see a NP (Julia Shumacher, NP) for a consult about the lump. As suspected, the next step was a Mammo & Ultrasound of the lump … which was scheduled for Thursday. ~Liz