Me. It’s me. I’m getting a new foob. 🙋🏻♀️
You know how the saying goes that no news is good news? When it comes to my cancer, this is definitely true. After my October mastectomy, I spent several weeks recovering and getting used to my new chest situation. By all accounts, one can declare me cancer-free. It was cut out, and it didn’t spread and take hold of my lymph nodes. I am one lucky B. Of course, it’s not as easy as that. Because the cancer is hormone positive and my body is still an estrogen and progesterone producing machine, I have to be on medication for 5-10 years to keep any rogue cells circulating in my blood (yes, this is apparently a thing) from feeding off said hormones and starting a party locally or somewhere else in my body. The main purpose of this medication is to prevent a recurrence. According to the testing of my tumors, the chance of recurrence is very small, less than 6%, and the medication reduces that risk by half. This puts me at basically the same risk as the ‘regular’ population. So this is something that my doctors are not worried about. This medication, called Tamoxifen, is life-saving, but has some pretty annoying side-effects. Still, the benefits outweigh the risks, so pass me a pill, a glass of water, and bottoms up!
Since I last wrote, I had a couple of meetings with world-famous breast cancer oncologists to make sure that I am indeed on the right path with this specific hormone-blocking treatment. Both Dr. Charles Vogel at the University of Miami and Dr. Otto Metzger at Harvard/Dana-Farber basically laughed at me for coming in all worried about my lame boring cancer. Okay, they didn’t laugh at me; they were in fact very reassuring about the fact that I am taking the right medication, and that I definitely do not need more aggressive treatments like removing my ovaries prematurely. Dr. Metzger told me to just go live my life. And exercise.
I am finally updating the blog because I do have a surgical procedure coming up in two weeks. On March 4th, I am getting an implant exchange surgery. It’s a revision to the reconstruction and very standard. The expandable implant Dr. Becker was filling with air and subsequently saline was not meant to be permanent. It is, in fact, super stiff and uncomfortable. If you can picture a spherical brick under your skin, you might come close to understanding what this feels like. So, now that the skin is gently stretched and healed, the temporary implant will be replaced with a long-term one that will be much softer and much more comfortable. Of course, I am not looking forward to another surgery, recovery, and drains… but I am kinda looking forward to the two hour nap.
So Breast Cancer sucks. We can all agree on that. I know when I got my diagnosis, it was one of the scariest moments of my life, and it was probably one of the scariest moments in the lives of the people who love me the most. Once we knew what was actually going on, we could breathe and understand things were going to be fine. That is not the case with everyone, though, and I am painfully aware of that. I dedicate this post to my friend Mindy. I have known Mindy for several years. We worked out next to each other in our friend Jan’s amazing cardio dance class. I was devastated to learn that Mindy passed away from metastatic breast cancer on February 11th. She was warm, funny, spunky, and kind. I will miss her.