After my mastectomy, the lingering question was answered, would I need chemotherapy and radiation? Find out what happened and how we dealt with it.
In November 2018, I was diagnosed with non-aggressive Stage 2 Breast Cancer.
By January 2019, I had a complete mastectomy on my left breast. The whole month of January was devoted to physically getting myself back into the shape I was before my surgery.
We also had two important appointments coming up in February. The first, with my oncologist and the second, with my radiologist. Throughout this journey, we were told multiple times that I probably would need to have chemotherapy and radiation due to how young I was.
Apparently, the younger you are, the more likely it will be recommended to you. I wasn’t happy to hear this and dreaded my appointments with both of these doctors. It wasn’t anything against them, I just didn’t want to hear what they probably had to tell me.
Even though cancer is a physical ailment, it can play mind games with you, big time.
Going through chemotherapy was the one thing I feared the most about this whole journey. It wasn’t surgery. It wasn’t radiation. It was chemotherapy.
I was in bed resting one afternoon (before I was due to see my oncologist) and I could hear my children laughing and playing out in the living room. I thought to myself, “is this how it’s going to be? Am I going to be stuck in this bed for days at a time while my family gets to have all the fun??”
I also had a mental picture of being in the shower and pulling out patches of hair, then crying tremendously afterwards.
I’m still young. My children are only 10 and 12. My husband just started his second career and my own little business has taken off. I am not ready for chemotherapy. I don’t want it.
These were all the thoughts that went through my mind.
The day of the appointment, I spent the entire time in silence before the doctor came in to see us. My husband, the cheerful person that he is, looked at me and said, “well, if you end up needing chemo, then we will get through it….together.” I was in tears after that. Who wouldn’t be?
When the doctor came in, I dried my tears, took a huge deep breath, and waited for his recommendation.
To our amazement, his recommendation was a big, fat no!
The short and sweet explanation….with the type of cancer I have, chemotherapy would not benefit me in the least bit. Based on my test scores, I had a 19% chance of the cancer coming back without taking chemotherapy. IF I were to have it, that number would only drop to 17%.
He said it wasn’t worth putting my body through all of that craziness when it would only move it down a few numbers. He did, however, recommend that I start a hormone blocking pill called Tamoxifen.
If agreed, I would have to take the pill everyday for the next 5 years, however, it would be a huge health benefit for me. I liked that idea over 4 rounds of chemo, so I agreed to it.
He also told us his thoughts on radiation and that I probably wouldn’t need it either.
A few weeks later, my husband and I were back in a waiting room, this time it was to see my radiologist. I wasn’t upset during this time because my mind was focused on what my oncologist told us…..that I probably wouldn’t need it. Plus, it didn’t seem as intimidating as chemo.
Well, I was able to dodge chemotherapy, but NOT radiation.
The short and sweet explanation from my radiologist? Having radiation will drop that 19% significantly down to 8%. He highly recommended it. At first, I protested and told him I didn’t want to do it. Then my husband said, “I’d like to keep you around a little longer. We all would. You need to do it.”
Even though I told myself I was going to be ok and that it was just radiation, I cried. I cried for a long while. Then I stopped, put on my big girl panties, and prepared to kick radiation in the butt!
Watch the video as I explain my test results and my feelings on chemotherapy and radiation!!!
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