Wednesday, February 13, 2013

My Last Oncologist Visit for a While

On Friday morning, I had my last visit with my oncologist for a while.  Well, I get to see her in a month, but that is a lot less frequently than I have been seeing her.  At my appointment on Friday we discussed a lot of things, including my PET results, my upcoming surgery, and even future appointments.

She was thrilled, just as we were, with my PET results.  She showed us before and after images of the cancer--what a significant improvement!  There was SO MUCH cancer in the area before.  However, she also wanted to spend some time preparing us for the surgery pathology results.  She said that although the results on the PET are great, she doesn't expect me to have a complete pathological response.  This means that she expects that there will still be some cancer in the breast and even possibly the lymph nodes remaining.  Apparently, only about 10% of patients experience a complete pathological response with my stage of cancer.  I am still praying for a complete pathological response or healing.  I want all of the physicians involved to be amazed at the results!  She said that regardless of whether or not there is some cancer remaining, she is very pleased with my response so far.  I believe I mentioned in a previous post that a lot of ER+ patients do not have a significant response to chemo like the triple negative, or Her2+ patients do.

Also at the appointment I had blood drawn and a cbc completed.  My ANC was 1.4, which made me just slightly neutropenic. This was great news, because I knew my white blood count would probably be fine by the following day.  Hooray!  I have been looking forward to the day when I don't have to worry about being neutropenic again.

During my radiation therapy, because I will be seeing my radiation oncologist every week (for 6.5 weeks), I won't see my regular oncologist (Dr. H.).

I know I have mentioned this before, but I love my oncologist!  She is great on so many levels.  One of the last things that she discussed with me on Friday was my future appointments.  She said that sometimes we may need an appointment to check up on the cancer, but other times we may just want to talk about how I am doing emotionally.   She said that even after I get through all of this (surgery, radiation, reconstruction, 10/15 years of Tamoxifen, 2 years of ovary suppression), there is a lot involved in being a survivor.  I will always be a survivor.  Once I am finished with treatments, my journey is not over.  I am forever changed by cancer.  For some reason, at this point tears began rolling down my face.   This was one of the few times I had cried since the journey began, and I had no idea why.  I didn't feel sad.  Perhaps my hormones were doing some crazy things that day.  Or, perhaps it was just the thought of cancer always being a part of my life.  I honestly don't know why I had those tears.  But, I felt like Dr. H really cared during the appointment and that was comforting.

My journey continues and I know I am being led every step of the way by my Sovereign Lord.  On Friday, a specific song popped into my head:  "Whom Shall I Fear" by Chris Tomlin.  Here are the lyrics and I am including the video below:

You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light
Whom shall I fear?

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though trouble linger still
Whom shall I fear?

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory
Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I'm holding on to Your promises
You are faithful
You are faithful

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?

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