The first thing we do today is go and see my GP, Dr Osborne. I have been seeing Dr Osborne for around 6 years and she has been mainly helping me with my menopause. I have struggled with all sorts of things with this this, but mainly hot flushes.
We get called in and we discuss what we know so far which isn’t a lot. She is as shocked as me with the diagnosis. She advises that I need to come off my HRT medication and I advise that I did that the day I found out.
“Are you still having hot flushes?”
She gives me a prescription for a low dosage anti depressant which helps with the brain and the way it controls the body’s temperature. Apparently there are good results with this.
(Medication: Effexor (Venlafaxine))
God I hope it works.
I thank her and she says that she will see me in the new year as there isn’t much she can do at the moment, but don’t hesitate to see her if I need to.
I like her, always have.
We say our goodbyes; I go to work and hubbie goes home. We will meet again for our appointment with the surgeon tonight.
Again hubbie meets me at my workplace at around 4.30pm and again we walk to the clinic to meet my surgeon. Again I am shit scared.
Again. Again. Again. How many times will we tread this path?
Hopefully today I will find out exactly what I am dealing with. We get to the clinic and check in. We wait about 10 minutes, when Dr Rippy calls us through.
Straight away I feel at ease with her; she is lovely and gentle.
And she gets straight to the point.
“You have a 3cm grade 3 lump. You are positive for both estrogen and progesterone and you are HER2 negative.”
HER 2 means that I can’t be treated with Herceptin which is another medication that they can give you. But it isn’t a bad thing either.
Grade 3 means it looks different to normal breast cells and is usually fast growing and the proper name for what I have is ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
“My recommendation is that we do what we call neo-adjuvant therapy first. This is where you have chemotherapy first to try and reduce the size of the lump.”
“You then have surgery to remove the lump and then radiation after that.”
We have heard of this before; Dr Johnson mentioned it the other day as a possibility. To us it makes sense. By having chemotherapy first, they can see how the cancer reacts to the treatment because once it is removed, they don’t know.
Dr Rippy goes onto say that this way they can try and preserve as much of my breast as possible seeing that I don’t have big ones – I am B cup. I am also asked am I ok to have the lump stay in? Some women want it out straight away.
I say that I am fine.
She also says that if this was her, this is what she would do. We take comfort from this.
She also advises that they will put what they call a “clip” into the middle of my lump; this way they can keep track of it and if it does get smaller they know exactly where it is when they do surgery.
She then gives me a “road map” of the treatment which equates to around 9 months worth. Wow!
She also gives us the name of an oncologist, Dr Connie Diakos. Dr Rippy says that she is very good and the clinic she is at is also very good.
We chat a bit more and she advises that she won’t see me until I have finished my chemotherapy; we say goodbye.
We pay our fee and the receptionist advises that I will need to have some tests along with the clip placement. I need to have a CT scan and a full body bone scan. She will organise this for me and send the details through as soon as she can. She will also make an appointment for me with Dr Diakos.
We thank her.
We catch the train home again and again in the quiet. I message some girlfriends and let them know. I silently shed a tear or two at the same time.
Life is about to change.
We grab some Chinese food on the way home as it is too late to cook anything. I ring around and update my family.
Next job is to confirm a time with the oncologist.