Last month, I met with a genetic specialist at the Cancer Center. They were running extensive genetic testing on me. The results of the test would determine how extensive my surgery needed to be. If I tested positive, they told me that I would need a double mastectomy and removal of my ovaries. I will need 7 weeks of radiation after my surgery, partly due to a lymph node that they are unable to remove as it is buried in my sternum. The problem with having a double mastectomy (and the reconstruction immediately afterward), was it was going to make zapping that lymph node a little more difficult. The radiologist said that with two implants in, it would be trickier to pinpoint exactly where the radiation needed to go. I could always do reconstruction at a later date, but when you do that after radiation the skin doesn't stretch. Lot's of decisions would have to be made.
However, if the results were negative, I would be able to keep my left breast intact. This would make radiation of the lymph node much easier and precise. They will "lift" the left side later, to even things up. From the radiologist oncologist viewpoint, this is the best way. Ridding myself of the cancer is the first and foremost objective. Reconstructure is important, but it is secondary to saving my life.
The good news is, the genetic testing was all negative. I am not a carrier of the "gene". It does make me pause to wonder how/why I got this, when there isn't a genetic reason? The answer, I don't know and I will never know. I am just one of a small percentage of women who get breast cancer without the risk factors. It just is.
I am very thankful for this diagnosis. Since the first diagnosis of the "Big C", I have been fortunate. I have no complaints. My treatments have gone smoothly so far and now I don't have to make a decision about reconstruction before/after radiation. I can proceed with radiation and feel pretty confident that they are going to be able to eradicate that pesky lymph node!
I am thankful.
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