Of the last 48 hours we have spent about 38 of them at the hospital. No, not really but it feels like it. We have talked to 8 different doctors and also the genetic counselor. Considering all factors including my age, risk of occurrence, size of affected area, need for 2nd surgery, hormone therapy and radiation I have decided to have a bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The surgery will take place either on the 12th or the 15th depending on what the breast surgeon and plastic surgeon can work into their schedules.
This surgery is major but if I do this I don’t have to do radiation or hormone therapy medication or annual MRIs and mammograms with subsequent follow-ups and biopies. The full pathology report from the lumpectomy showed DCIS with no areas of invasive. The tumor was 3 cm long and was a solid mass. There were not clear margins so a 2nd surgery would be necessary anyway to remove more skin and breast tissue. But the DCIS is very very good news compared to the original diagnosis. I’m very thankful to have an excellent prognosis.
I feel relieved to have made this decision even though I am terrified of the recovery from the surgery and reconstruction. It is sad to lose my breasts but this is the safest option. This brings my chance of reoccurrence to the lowest percent possible and my survival rate to close to 100%. With guidance from the professionals I feel that the long term outcome and my long term satisfaction will be highest with this choice even though it’s very scary and highly inconvenient right now.
So, I sat down and talked to the kids about it today. I brought home from Dr. Lilly’s office a shiny pink breast cancer ribbon necklace for Amira and a pink rubber ducky for Xander. I told them mommy was going to have another surgery and this one is bigger and I need to stay in the hospital overnight. I told them that my breasts have cancer and the doctor needs to take them off and give me new breasts. Amira is so sweet she gave each breast a kiss and said, “I’m sorry you have to have surgery”. Xander had a few questions and I ended up with tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh at the hilarity. Xander asked in all seriousness, “What kind of breasts are they going to give you, Mom? Are they going to use dragon skin?” So friggin funny. I love my kids!