BRMx RS

No, I haven’t gone crazy. The codes have meaning.

BRMx = Bilateral Risk-Reducing Mastectomy

RS – Reconstructive Surgery

BC blogs and forums are riddled with such abbreviations. Even I am still learning to decipher them. The other day I read NED. Who or what is Ned? No Evidence of Disease. That one is a winner! Technically, I can already call myself NED, can’t I? I’ll make sure to ask my doctor.

Anyway…there is a point to this blog…I promise.

Today I was booked in for another appointment, presumably to meet with my surgeon. You might think it’s slack of me to be unaware of whom I am meeting, and why. Well, they never specify on the appointment letter. I have learnt to narrow things down depending on where in the hospital I have to go. Also, I haven’t seen my surgeon, Dr Pyke since October 5th – after my initial check up post-lumpectomy. Since then I’ve been shuffled from one surgical assistance to another. He’s been there for the big appointments but since then I’ve met with 3 different minions (is it a bit harsh to call them minions?). It’s one downfall of going public; the personalised service becomes less personal. This would be my only complaint thus far.  Oh, and the time spent in waiting rooms. A two-hour wait per appointment is standard. Which was how long we waited today.

Mum and I finally completed our usual game of musical chairs from the waiting room to the doctor’s room.

Nurse: “Do you need to change into a gown?”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m not sure who I am seeing, or why.”

Nurse: “Right…I’ll go ask.” She never returned.

We continued to wait with our eyes fixated on the connecting door. Welcome to The Mater Hospital Game show. Behind Door #1: Would it be: Dr Pyke? An assistant? Reconstructive Surgeon? The door handle turned. It opened slightly. A man’s voice danced through the crack. Mum and I glance at each other in anticipation. The door closes. The wait continues. Is this a Big Brother experiment, or a hospital? Then enters Dr Pyke. The big man on campus. Happy days.

He sat down and commented on my hair growth, not that he ever seen me bald. We recapped on chemo and genetics. I was pleased to know he’d been informed of my decision to have a bilateral mastectomy instead of radiation. No need to explain myself, again. Phew. Today’s appointment was to find out specific details and work out timeframes for my mastectomy and reconstruction.

Since making my decision to go down this path I’ve been doing my homework and looking into the different reconstruction options. Standard. Even though I am yet to meet with a reconstructive surgeon, I feel certain I want to go ahead with prosthetic reconstruction – more on that later!

Reconstruction Hurdle #1

Dr Pyke broke the news that I wouldn’t be able to have immediate prosthetic reconstruction through the public system. A lot of public hospitals, in particular mine, only do this as a delayed reconstruction. The plastics team won’t even book an appointment for me until after my mastectomy! Meaning: boobs off now, wait 3 months, then hopefully be booked in for my reconstruction – if the wait list allows for it.

He continued…

Strangely enough, the same surgeons who won’t do this procedure as immediate reconstruction through the public system, will if you are seen privately. Public Hospital VS Private Hospital: the battle of protocols. The question was asked. How much would it cost privately?

That, my friends, may be the deciding factor. I didn’t completely fall over when I heard the quote. Maybe just a slight stumble. I need to investigate further and should have a clear idea by next week of the final figures. The good news is there’s no rush. As long as my surgery happens before August (12 months since diagnosis), my surgeon is not worried. I think I know what I’ll be getting for my 33rd birthday… Boobs!

tbc…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twilight

As you know, I’m a sucker for a race. The invisible power of a crowd. You can’t see it but you can feel it. Pushing you beyond your limits. There have been a few races I’ve had my eyes on, but due to not having a set schedule for treatment, I haven’t been able to plan in advance. Twilight Running Festival was one of them. As last week progressed it was clear surgery wasn’t going to happen before Sunday 23rd. Twilight Running Festival was happening Sunday 23rd. This actually suits my personality. Impulsive Rochelle. I jumped straight onto the website. Registrations were available for 3 distances: 5km, 10km and 21km. 5km I know I can do. 10km is the unknown. Thinking back, I can’t actually remember the last time I ran 10km. My Nike running app shows a few 8km runs. I’ve done one 15km, nothing in between. Also, that was all pre-treatment. Was my body up for it now? The decision lingered. A) Stay in my comfort zone? B) Conquer the unknown? Lock in B, Eddy.

Of course, if you know me, you’ll also know I like to convince friends to join in my crazy antics. Ask my friend, Nash. He thoroughly enjoyed the Duathlon in the snow and Tough Mudder in the hail and rain. He swore he would never let me convince him to compete in any other event, ever. My Twilight target: Vanessa. She too hasn’t run the distance in a very long time. Of course she would be up for the challenge. The text messages started followed by some Facebook peer-pressure. Success came on Saturday. I now had a 10km buddy.

To add to the challenge the race was being held in the afternoon, at ‘twilight’. I have never run in the afternoon or evening before. I’m a morning runner. Roll out of bed, into the shoes and out the door. Apart from being an extremely hot day with temperatures forecast to still be 31 deg, I was looking forward to the foreign running conditions.

We arrived at 4pm for a 5pm start. Lucky for us, we had a ready-made support crew and cheer squad. A group of friends from Ipswich were there supporting runners in the 5km and 21km distance. They now had two more to support in the 10km.

With 10 minutes to go we maneuvered to the start line. There were a lot of very eager runners and the start line was already overflowing. We squeezed our way through about midway and found a gap in the crowd.

Now, preparation has never been my strong point. Clearly. So why would the minutes prior to a 10km race be any different…. With a minute to go I tested my shoes and realised one was slightly looser than the other. Was this going to annoy me? Most definitely! The starting gun sounded and we set off – walking – towards the start. I decided it’s now or never to fix the shoe so made a quick exit to the side. I had already double knotted my laces so it felt like forever to fix the problem. Amateur! Sorted and ready to go I saw Vanessa had sidelined herself so we could start together. Your time is only registered when you cross the start line so I wasn’t losing time by making the adjustments now.

Finally, we were off. The crowd surrounding us was setting a good pace. A comfortable pace… I reminded myself this wasn’t my usual 5km distance. I would have to back off otherwise I would run out of steam. My Nike Run app was going to be my saving grace today. It was going to keep me in check. Soon enough I heard my first km split. 5:40. Probably a little too fast, 6 min/km was more achievable for the whole distance. Pre-treatment it would have been a slow pace. But for now, it was comfortable.

It was such a stunning course. Starting on the grounds of UQ St Lucia, over a bridge, past the cemetery and along the river. I reminded myself to take in the surroundings and enjoy every step. The km’s ticked over and before I knew it I was nearing 5km. I was already halfway! And I still felt good. By now the runners had reached the turn-around point and heading back towards us. I started to lose focus, I started drifting away with the fairies. I was too focused on trying to find friends in the crowd to cheer them on that I forgot I was in a race myself.  When I started to feel dizzy from looking to my right instead of straight ahead, I snapped back to the present. I was having too much fun.

6km came and went, 7km came and went. The km’s were rolling behind me. Then I reached 8km. I felt the struggle in my legs and breath. The pace was slowing; Nike Run was informing me of this. It was hardest km. 9km was in reach and the symbol of the nearing finish line, but it wasn’t close enough. And there was a hill. With a few final strides I made it up the hill and was back on the bridge nearing the final km. I was feeling good again. The sun had set and the final stretch was lined with supporters. Was I supposed to be having so much fun after running for nearly an hour? I thought by now I would have been regretting my decision. I wasn’t. I neared the corner and saw our cheer squad. With all their support and motivation they gave me the final push to sprint towards the finish. Then there were none. No more km. Job done.

I made my way to join our crew and learned that Vanessa had crossed not long after me – awesome running by Vanessa, also. It was now time to support the 21km-ers.

As I was watching runners push to the end I wondered what their story was. What were they overcoming in this race? What had they overcome to get to this race? Was this also their first 10km? Was this just a warm-up for something bigger to come? Even in our group we all had a story.

Achievement comes in all shapes and sizes. With running it is usually determined by times. You can be the fastest or slowest in the race, but there is no doubt in my mind that everyone has overcome challenges to get to the end. Even I was inspired watching other runners. We cheered, we laughed… we talked shop. Most importantly, we created memories.

I am beyond excited to now know I can run 10km. The challenge was set and achieved. The next one: 21km. That one I will definitely train for! Surgery will force me to be patient and start from scratch again…but I look forward to what’s to come.

Thanks Vanessa for joining me in the run. Thanks to the support crew for the cheers and congratulations. Well done to everyone else who ran. Hopefully everyone has recovered and is feeling good today.

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So close to the finish line and having so much fun. I think I startled the other runners.

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The whole crew: 5km-ers, 10km-ers and 21km-ers. United at the end.

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Vanessa and I

988832_10151961340537201_1891848612_nMy fastest (and first ever) 10km recorded.

#nomakeupselfie

For someone who is dealing with breast cancer, it’s always a surreal feeling when initiatives such as this are circulating. I first experienced this last October during Breast Cancer Awareness month. I was newly diagnosed. I was coming to terms with how my life was changing, and all of a sudden breast cancer was everywhere. And I was no longer the one supporting the cause; I was the cause.

In the past twenty-four hours I feel like I’ve been both explaining and defending the #nomakeupselfie trend. Yesterday morning I woke up and my Facebook news feed was inundated with #nomakeupselfie posts. But they really didn’t make any sense. What were they for? So I did some research to understand what it was all about.

It’s actually unclear how the trend started. Barefaced photos started circulating both Facebook and Twitter with #breastcancerawareness #nomakeupselfie tags. The Cancer Research UK quickly jumped on the trend and asked people to donate a few quid. The trend then evolved. The idea, now, is for you to take a photo of yourself make up free, post it, nominate a friend to do the same AND donate to Cancer Research UK  (or another cancer organisation). For those in the UK, it’s easy – they have set up a way for you to donate! Text BEAT to 70099 to donate £3. Easy. Effective. One person also pledged to donate 50p for each like she receives to Cancer Research UK. Just another idea how you can make use of this trend.

In reality, those who are just posting photos with #breastcancerawareness #nomakeupselfie are not doing anything wrong. It started that way. Cancer Research UK saw an opportunity and jumped on it and has raised over one million pounds! Well done to them. But, I personally have no idea how posting a pic without make up raises awareness to breast cancer. And I mean that in the nicest possible way…

As you are aware, I am part of an online support network for young breast cancer patients. Well, the #nomakeupselfie has not gone down well with most members of this group. Why? Because they also can’t understand how this helps the cause. This group contains members who are newly diagnosed, survivors, and women who are terminal. As I lived in the UK,  have a lot of friend in the UK, and see a lot of news feeds from UK organisations I’ve felt the need to defend the trend. I’ve re-posted all the news reports coming from the UK websites, which has seemed to calm a few people down (yes calm…there were a few fiery comments circulating!).

As for breast cancer awareness, I personally think there are so many campaigns that help raise awareness. I sometimes feel sorry for people who are affected by a different type of cancer. We (BC) get a lot of attention…I guess boobs have always drawn more attention.

Some people have suggested the #nomakeupselfie was started because women going through treatment don’t wear make up. For most people this isn’t true. I wore more make up through chemo than usual! I spent more time filling in my eyebrows, using blush and bright lipstick etc. It helped detract from the bald head. It helped me feel better. And this is why a lot of women who are going through treatment are frustrated by this trend.

So what are we doing globally, outside the UK?

It’s still possible to donate to a cancer charity. In Australia we have so many! And all their pages have links to donate (I’ve posted a few below). It would be great if one of our organisations jumped on the trend and set up a facility to donate such as the UK. I might have to send this suggestion out to a few organisations today…

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a hater. I’ve seen posts from Australia, from the UK, from breast cancer patients, from friends and family who have been affected by breast cancer. I feel like the middleman in all of this. This blog is not intended to offend anyone who has posted a pic. It’s about explaining and defending the trend.

I personally won’t be taking a selfie. Not because I’m against it, I have other ways I donate and raise awareness. But that’s just me…

Australian Cancer Research Foundation http://www.acrf.com.au

National Breast Cancer Foundation http://www.nbcf.org.au

Cancer Council http://www.cancer.org.au

Cure Cancer http://www.cure.org.au

A drug called: Tamoxifen

For those not in the know, treatment doesn’t necessarily stop after surgery and chemo (and surgery again, or radiation or both). The medical world keeps laying down bricks and extending the path. What else do they want to do with my body? The answer: Hormone therapy. While I await details for surgery, my oncologist has given me the green light to start the next stage of treatment. A daily pill for the next ten years… no biggie *insert sarcasm*.

Let’s backtrack for a minute. I’ll put on my medical hat and try and explain things for you.

Certain types of cancers can be ‘hormone sensitive’. Initial testing of your cancer cells determines three things (apart from size and stage). The cancer is either positive or negative to: ER (oestrogen), PR (progesterone), and HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2). I was ER and PR positive, HER2 negative. I am, hormone sensitive. You may have heard the term ‘triple negative’. It is known to be a more aggressive type of cancer; hormone sensitive cancers are usually less aggressive. The patient would have tested negative to all three things (ER, PR, HER2). If I had a dollar for each time I was told I was lucky, it’s a good cancer to get. Even I’ve started saying it. It must be strange for others to hear, “I got the good type of cancer…”

Have I lost you yet?

Anyone who has hormone sensitive cancer (ER+ PR+) qualifies for hormone therapy. This is where tamoxifen comes into the picture. It’s a synthetic oestrogen, designed to stop the oestrogen your body produces from telling breast cancer cells to grow (so I’ve been told…). Hormone therapy has been used for over 30 years in conjunction with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. There are promising reports that it can halve the chance of recurrence by up to 50%.

Here we are again, faced with the numbers game. I’ve spoken in the past about the fear of recurrence. It’s the reason I had my genes tested. The reason I struggled with my decision regarding radiation VS mastectomy. Taking tamoxifen seems like a logical option. Listen to the experts, do your research and trust to your intuition. I would like to say my intuition is telling me NOT to take the drug, but I think it’s fear.

Side effects VS benefits.

When I started on my quest to research the drug I was petrified reading about peoples’ experiences. Common side effects reported: hot flushes, headaches, dizziness, nausea, and moodiness, to name a few. Then there is the risk of developing endometrial cancer and increased risk of blood clots in the legs, lung, or brain…again, no biggie. I’ve always taken other peoples’ comments with a grain of salt but documented side effects are another thing. Everyone is different. Every ‘body’ is different. I continued to research but continued to feel uneasy about the drug. I’ve endured chemo. Isn’t that enough? Do I really want/need to endure TEN years of not feeling myself? That’s what it comes down to. Yes it may reduce the chance of recurrence, but will I be happy? Will I be living my life to it’s fullest or will I be bogged down by the drug?

I’ve sought information through friends and other cancer patients. Majority of people have taken it. One lady refused it and recently celebrated her 5th year cancer-free. I follow her blog – she’s the one who did 100 air squats in her hospital room post surgery. Champion. There was also an article I found of a lady who refused tamoxifen, follows an anti-cancer diet and is still cancer-free.

So what to do? There’s no harm in trying, right? You don’t know unless you try it, right? Okay. Sign me up…I’ll give it a go. I have to believe that being active and keeping a good diet will counteract the side effects.

Now I have an excuse if I’m feeling moody – blame the tamoxifen.

** Side note: I get to stop taking tamoxifen if and when I decide to have children. Let’s see how many children I can have in the next ten years to avoid taking the drug. Seems like a good solution…

 

 

Clarity

This week I’ve been playing hide and seek. Clarity has been hiding; I’ve been seeking. To get from point A, to B, I’ve presented my dilemma to friends, to strangers, to doctors… and to myself.  Thursday was circled in my diary as D-day #2. Not because I needed to make a definite decision by then, but I had appointments with my oncologist and surgical team. I was hoping by the end of the day I would know which way I wanted to go. I also threw in a good chat to a breast care nurse whose contact I’d been given. It was the first time I was reaching out to the support offered in the system. I now understand the importance of money raised through charities to keep these resources available. The McGrath Foundation have me as a sponsor for life.

I started to realise it wasn’t a matter of hearing the doctor’s recommendation – I already know this – it was about explaining my concerns with each treatment option. How radiation or surgery will affect me, as an individual. I understand they have standard recommendations depending on your tumour size and type, but what about how I will be affected, not just my cancer.

Let me explain…

There are a few things I feel haven’t been considered with the doctor’s recommendation. Of course, as I’ve said and believed all along, everyone is different. I may get through radiation and be completely fine… or I may not. My mindset is: surgery is only making external changes, radiation is making changes to me internally, changes that I may not necessarily see or know. That concerns me.

The two main concerns I have with radiation:

1) Fatigue.

The main side effect of radiation is fatigue. Extreme fatigue: long lasting fatigue. Do the doctors know that I work as a flight attendant? Have they considered my job environment? A ‘healthy’ person working long haul will struggle with fatigue. Radiation is going exasperate that. It could take an extra 6 months recovery compared to surgery, to feel myself again.

2) Fitness.

Radiation can affect your lung capacity. These days the instruments have improved so the damage is usually very minimal, but they can’t guarantee anything. They advise at the start: “Radiation may cause scarring on part of your lung, but you’ve got two…” I remember when the words came out of my radiation oncologist’s mouth. As if losing part of your lung capacity was completely normal. Others may not mind… but I do! For someone who wants to get back to triathlons and training for Ironman, lung capacity is quite important. I’m part of a Facebook group: Young Pink Sisters. The other day I put up a post about my concerns regarding radiation. A woman responded by saying, “I continued to exercise at 80% through radiation…the radiation has done some damage to my lungs… I get a slight wheeze when doing cardio.” Do I want to have shortness of breath or a slight wheeze when doing cardio? Umm NO.

To one person these concerns may not be valid. This is where it becomes very personal. What’s important to me may not be important to another. For some women their breasts mean everything to them, they identify with them. Also, having the option to breastfeed in the future is of great importance. Neither concern me.

Now, surgery…

It’s a misconception that having both breasts removed improves your chances of the cancer NOT coming back. Studies prove that having a lumpectomy with radiation is just as effective as a double mastectomy. This is why, if you qualify for a lumpectomy, it’s the recommendation. And even if you have a double mastectomy, some breast tissue remains. The current statistic is that you have 1% chance of it coming back. I’ve heard too many stories of woman who have had radiation then it’s come back in the healthy side. I have 60+ years ahead of me; I would rather take the 1% option.

Also, if you have radiation, then have a recurrence, THEN need a mastectomy, the reconstruction is harder. Not impossible, but harder. They take tissue from another part of your body. Doctors explain this as if it’s completely fine to cut tissue out of another part of your body. This may not bother other people. They may get a tummy tuck along with new boobs. For me, it doesn’t sit well. I would like to think I don’t have enough fatty tissue around my stomach to make new boobs later. Maybe I do. Not to self: stop eating chocolate!

Another comment I’ve heard too many times: “If it comes back, you can have a mastectomy later.” If it comes back and I need a mastectomy later, I will have a major case of regret. Regret is a nasty headspace to be in, I don’t want to live with regret.

This is where deciding on a treatment that also helps maintain a healthy mindset becomes important. What decision will I feel comfortable living each day with? If I have radiation, will I be looking in the mirror wondering, did I make the right decision?

I wrote these thoughts and concerns down on paper and prepared for my day of appointments. Each time I thought about radiation or surgery, I feel more at ease with surgery. I knew it was important to remain open minded during these discussions and listen to their responses, not just hear what I wanted to hear.

And that is what I did. And everyone – my oncologist, breast care nurse and surgical team – all agreed that it was very valid for me to feel surgery was the better option. As my breast care nurse said, “You’re not refusing treatment, you’re just choosing the best option for you.” She actually joked that I should become a breast care nurse. I had done my research, knew the statistics, looked at both options from each viewpoint and understood the pros and cons of each.

I am now at peace with my decision. Radiation is cancelled. Next step is to meet with the plastics team to talk about reconstruction then book surgery.

The wait continues, but I feel healthy and strong… and happy.

International Women’s Day

It doesn’t take much to convince me to sign up for a run event. Well, a short run event (I have signed up for a Half Marathon in July… I may need to reassess that one…). When I saw a parkrun group had been set up for the International Women’s Day run, I jumped straight on it. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may have to attend these events solo; I think I’ve exhausted the “join me for a run” request with my friends.

These events cater for everyone. You can run or walk. With a crowd of 8000 your chances of achieving a personal best time are limited, unless you can get out in front of the crowds. It’s called a “fun run” for a reason. Mater Chicks in Pink were one of the major sponsors for this particular run. The Mater has been my home for many occasions through treatment; I was happy to part with $35. The money will go a long way to help women and their families through treatment and Brisbane runners raised $170,000 – the most ever for this event!! Brilliant.

It was a cooler morning; clouds gathered and showers threatened to keep the crowd of eight thousand (plus) on their toes… The lovely lady who set up the parkrun group collected my race kit prior to Saturday and we arranged to meet by the wheel at South Bank. After connecting on Facebook we learnt about each other’s treatment. Pip had started radiation on Tuesday, just five days prior to the run. It wasn’t just a 5 km run; it was a run to show mental and physical strength. Showing cancer whose boss!

I felt out of place as I waited. I was dressed all in black, in a sea of pink. After sending the, I’m in front of the wheel textPip and her daughter arrived and handed me my race kit. In the most elegant way possible I changed out of my black singlet and slid on my pink race shirt. I now looked the part.

In a crowd of 8000, I was surprised at how many people I recognised, or recognised me. From old friends I haven’t seen for years, to regulars from Ipswich parkrun. As I waited in the crowd at the start line I looked to my left and found myself next to Wayne, who had volunteered the day prior at parkrun! We talked shop, running shop and I realised this was my first 5 km run since January. I had no major expectations – have fun and get over the line without stopping.

The starting gun sounded and I shuffled along in the crowd, practically walking over the start line. As I was running solo I set my Nike Run app to start and popped in my headphones. The course was fairly flat and scenic. The legs felt good and I saw a 1 km sign ahead. Is that all… sigh. A pace report came through the headphones as I passed the first kilometre. It was fairly decent pace! How can that be, in a crowd this big! OK Rochelle… let’s keep going at this pace.

As I ran, I thought of the person in front. I wondered what their story was. Had they been through treatment? Were they running for a friend of family member? With my mind occupied I put one foot in front of the other, kept my eyes locked on the pink shirts and before I knew it, there was only 1 km to the finish. I switched on my old race mentality and targeted a few runners to catch. Having run at a steady pace, I knew it was possible to beat my previous time of 28:00. The last stretch was lined with spectators, the cheers and claps gave me the last push and I sprinted over the finish line. A glance of my iPhone revealed a time of 26.43. Stoked!

My next challenge is to get back to my pre-treatment time of 24.00. For now… I’m happy.

5 km Fun Run

5 km Fun Run

“Hey. I like your genes.”

After five weeks of waiting, the results are finally in. The lab technicians have put eye to microscope and examined my cells. On the other hand, I’ve been patiently waiting. Making the most of feeling healthier and stronger, I threw myself into as much physical activity as possible. Of course I signed up to a CrossFit competition. Rubber arm at its best…

Today; Thursday, March 6th. D-day. I’ve been excited for this day to arrive! For me, getting my genetic test results is the final piece of the puzzle. Well, so I thought… As I drove to the hospital I started feeling anxious. My normal tough-as-nails-got-it-together-self started to unravel. It was 4 pm and we were finally sitting opposite Dr Gattas, genetic counsellor. Without hesitation he slid the single sheet of white paper across the desk. In front of me he pointed out the word: Negative, a very clear negative result to carrying the gene mutation. This is a positive result in many regards: my chances of a recurrence of breast cancer or ovarian cancer are reduced significantly. The room was silent. I should have been celebrating but all I felt was unease. Mentally, I thought I was prepared. “I had my plan of attack but now I’m not so sure,” I said. If only things were black and white. I was suddenly surrounded by grey.

Before receiving the results I had decided on a game plan (as per doctor recommendations): a positive result would mean surgery, a negative would see me start 6 weeks of radiation. If they couldn’t give me a definitive yes, or no, it was better to assume I did carry the gene mutation, than didn’t and therefore surgery would be the chosen path.

But Am I making the right decision? Recurrence is the fear that drives treatment. Isn’t that why I had chemo? Isn’t that why they recommend radiation? It’s all “preventative”, preventing a recurrence. Radiation only kills the tissue of the affected breast. Could I have a recurrence in the other breast? Even if I choose to have a double mastectomy, they can never remove all your breast tissue. It doesn’t eliminate your chances of having a recurrence (but reduces it by a great deal!). Both options have pros and cons; there is no “easy” option.

Once again, I’ve exhausted the majority of articles and research results available on the Internet. And I thought I was content with the findings. Listen to the experts’ advice, do your research and trust your intuition. “Sometimes you have to trust your gut feeling.” Dr Gattas voiced.

So what is stopping me from feeling 100% confident with the doctors’ recommendations? If it’s not genetic, then what has caused it? That is a question you could spend the rest of your life trying to answer. And I’m not opening that can of worms (well maybe a little). My cancer was hormone sensitive. Meaning: it’s possible my hormones played a significant role in the breast cancer. If that’s the case, the hormones will always be there. Isn’t that just as bad as carrying the gene mutation in some regard?

I hadn’t thought of this until the past week. I’ve been researching a drug that I’m “eligible” to take for the next 10 years. Without going into too much detail (that’s another blog on it’s own), this is what it says, “tamoxifen blocks the effects of estrogen in breast tissue.” So, if they want me to take a tablet to stop the hormones from causing cancerous cells to form in my breast tissue, wouldn’t it be in my best interest to not have the breast tissue there in the first place? Wouldn’t that reduce my chances or recurrence even further? (Feel free to chime in any experts in this field.)

I have decided to delay radiation by an extra week and meet again with my surgeon. More discussions are required until I feel comfortable with my decision. I thought I would have the final piece of the puzzle today… I was wrong.