I picked up a copy of my Pathology Report as well yesterday. The good news is there was no cancer in my nipples or in the other breast, but there was some atypical cells on the other side. Although my biopsy was negative for lymph nodes a month ago, this time during surgery 2 nodes came back positive. They took 15 nodes under my arm. The other 13 nodes were clean, but that is still a bit concerning. Another thing we were not expecting was that the 1 tumor was actually 2 when they got all the tissue out and analyzed it. Either it had grown into two or the NH docs did not measure it properly. Now the total span of it is over 5 cm so I am glad I did the surgery and had it all removed and took the opening when it came up! The original estimate of size based on mamo and ultrasound was 3.6 cm so it is larger than expected. I asked Dr. Michele Gadd if she got clean margins and she said "yes, but some were close", so that also makes me a bit uneasy. It was not close enough to warrant another surgery to take more tissue, but the edges where they cut were still close to the invasive tissue.
Looking back, this is the whole reason I wanted the lump removed in the beginning of May without a biopsy. I was told that request goes against the "protocols" to do surgery without a diagnosis. I said if it is a matter of insurance or legality, I would sign an agreement to pay for it even if it came back as non- cancerous tissue, but the NH surgeon would not remove it in its entirety as I had requested. I have read that biopsies can spread the cancer since they break the natural tumor wall barrier and penetrate into the blood. To make matters worse I have had 2 biopsies and I theorize that this is that is why I have had such growth in a short period of time. Regardless of how it happened, I need to look where I am right now in the decision making process and not look backwards.
Based on the pathology report surprises, I am considering doing chemotherapy at this point. 15% of women with breast cancer have triple negative type (not receptive to 3 hormone blockers) and it can be very aggressive. Mine probably is based on these recent changes. The 3 drugs they would use (Andriamycin, Cytoxan and Taxol) are very effective against triple negative, and even more so than other types of breast cancers. We are not talking about clinical trials or new drugs, but those tested to be effective. It has been a lot to get my head around, and I do believe in natural remedies, but I am not sure I have the time to play around and see which one may work with my particular type of cancer. I am still taking many supplements, Essiac Tea and Chaga/Rishi and as well as working to keep my body in an alkaline range, but after the surgery I went a off the strict diet to regain my strength. Still avoiding sugars, dairy and refined carbs:) I am going to add the baking soda to my protocols.
The next step is a CT scan which is scheduled for next Thursday followed by a meeting with Dr. Steven Isakoff, the doc at MGH who specializes in breast cancer chemo treatments. I have met with him before and he seems to understand my preferences. He says I can continue doing my natural preventative treatments except for two: Vitamin C & E. Goes to show how powerful those vitamins are if they can interfere with these strong drugs! He says he is fine with continuing all other natural treatments and that I can also feel free to prepare my body as best possible for the side effects to these drugs. He scheduled me to start on August 20th, and the treatments would be once every 2 weeks for 8 treatments (16 weeks). The Naturopath in Portsmouth, Dr. Bier does have protocols to help prepare for the potential side effects of neuropathy, heart damage, liver toxicity and "chemo brain" function, so I have asked him to put the plan together for me and I will discuss this plan in detail with him to be sure I am not missing any important information in making this decision.
So I have jumped over one huge hurdle having the double mastectomy with reconstruction surgery 2 weeks ago. Now I look to the CT scan and hope it will come back clean and that there is no other cancer within my body. That is the focus of my prayers and intentions as well as the clarity to make every decision with logic and information, rather than out of fear or emotion. All along I have said I will make choices that I believe to give me the best chance of long-term survival, so I continue to pray for discernment in every decision going forward. Thanks for reading and caring:)