Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Minor Surgery --> Chemo

Dear reader

Today Dianne had a busy day, and spent most of it in one hospital or another.  This morning, she went to the Royal Alex to get prepped for the Sentinel Node biopsy.  (Wow, has shown me how to finally spell this right lol) The prep consists of being injected with a dye that would trace its way to the first lymph node which would be affected by the cancer, which is the sentinel node.  We had expected this to be done in a relatively short time frame….yeah right.

After the injection, the technicians at the RA take pictures to make sure the dye has reached it’s destination, which then would allow the surgeon to cut the right node to pieces in order to biopsy it.  Well, it didn’t quite work that way.  What was supposed to be a quick 1 hour thing turned out to be 3 1/2 hours of waiting, posing for the pictures, getting to see really cool equipment and ultimately…..nothing.  By the time Dianne left, the dye still had not reached the node.

So, off to the Sturgeon Hospital for the surgery.  But wait?  They can’t do the Sentinel Node biopsy because they don’t know which node to hack at!!  So, what was supposed to be a minor operation under general anesthetic turned into an even more minor operation under local anesthetic.  The surgeon did remove a part of the tumor in order to test for HER2 (Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2, which is a protein giving higher aggressiveness in breast cancer).

So, this all begs the question:  Why did the dye not reach it’s destination (remember the sentinel node?).  It could be one of two reasons, neither of which are real encouraging.  Reason 1:  The tumors are blocking the dye because of their size (not great, but not unexpected….we already knew the tumors were large).  Reason 2: There could now be tumors in the lymph nodes, but no way to prove it.

Which now leads us to more questions.  If reason #1 is the cause, what happens?  Well, chemo therapy (aka: pyrogy treatment) is going to start within the next 10 days.  The actual date has not been confirmed as of this writing.  You know something, dear reader…I am actually not really liking the term pyrogy treatment.  I love pyrogies, either fried or boiled.  Topped with gobs of sour cream, bacon and / or sausage.  Yummy!!  But, I digress.  The chemo will hopefully shrink the tumor, and lead into surgery.  Reason 1 is really where we’ve been all along, so it is not all bad, except for a large tumor (well, 2 tumors actually).

Reason 2 is a bit more disconcerting.  If there are now tumors in the lymph nodes, that potentially means the cancer is moving on.  Not good!!  It can’t be proven that this is the case, so I think that the surgeon will, in due time, remove all the lymph nodes as well when she does the surgery on the breast (or breasts, but that’s a whole new conversation that doesn’t need to take place quite yet).  There is really no point in fretting over this one, because nothing can be proven.  And we know that the surgeon has a plan for this as well, so really it becomes  a case of what you don’t know, don’t worry about.

And that, dear reader, should have put you to sleep.  I highly recommend that these entries get read just before bedtime….it helps, especially if you’re insomniac.

I know I usually do my emails first, and then copy and paste it to this blog, but I’m switching things up.  Some of you will read this, and also get an email with essentially the same information, but in a different layout.
Thanks again for all the support, in whatever fashion it is coming (prayers, positive thoughts, kind words, encouragement, meal offers, ride offers etc etc).  We appreciate every bit of it, and are very thankful to have a wonderful community of fellow believers, friends and acquaintances.

Thank you, and sweet dreams.


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