Emotions flood over me in waves. Whenever I think about it, I cannot stop crying. It has been a roller coaster of a journey, and it is now officially over!
What do I mean? As of Dec 17th, I’m cancer free. The double mastectomy removed the last bits of cancer from my breasts. The pathology showed a .7cm mass in my left breast – the ever elusive L2 that wasn’t found in the lumpectomies. Other than that, everything else was clear, including the lymph nodes within the breasts. My surgeon said she saw no reason for radiation – and to follow up in a month to see how the incisions are healing.
My oncologist entered the room and said that he was surprised that all my nodes were clear. The prognosis is much better given that the cancer never spread beyond the breast tissue. Now that I don’t have any breast tissue left, the only places for spread are against the chest wall and on the skin and incisions.
So today marks the end of active treatment. My tears are of relief … it is finally over.
The next step is a pill called tamoxifen (prescription has been sent to my pharmacy), which is taken once a day for 10 years (or until my body goes into menopause – at which time it is switched over to an aromatise inhibitor). This pill suppresses my bodies ability to create estrogen – the primary thing that fed my cancer. I am to start tamoxifen once I am a little more healed from the surgery – so they know what is causing what symptoms. The surgery itself was pretty major, so my body needs a few more weeks to heal.
So now I need to wean myself off the pain meds so that I can enjoy a good glass of wine to celebrate the new year – free of cancer – starting over.
Recovery is still a pretty long road. My hematocrit tanked again (lower than ever), so I find myself easily out of breath while walking or climbing a single flight of stairs. My incisions are healing well. I still have a couple of drains which I’ll probably have until next Monday as they are still producing a fair amount of fluid. So for the next week, we shall take one step at a time, trying to increase my walking distance and awaiting the day when I can get back on the bike …