I am thrilled (and relieved) to report that the lab analysis is in, and that my margins and lymph nodes are clear and clean!
Clear and clean margins and lymph nodes means the cancer was restricted to just that area and has not spread to any other organs. One tumor was 7 millimeters and the second was 11 millimeters. That’s less than 2 centimeters in total, which keeps me in the stage one cancer classification. And that’s good… it was small (still too small to feel by touch), we caught it early, and it’s the easiest stage to treat.
Both incisions are healing nicely, even though I foolishly tried to remove the steri-strips before the appointment, thinking the doctor would want to see the actual wounds. Even though I was being so careful because it was painful to peel the edge off, I ended up stressing the stitches before I gave up and figured if this follow-up exam needed the steri-strips off, they’d have a better way to remove them. Something along the lines of gorilla glue remover. At any rate, doc said they looked good and leave the strips on for at least another week.
Much of the swelling has gone down, although my underarm is a bit swollen and tender to the touch… that incision has all along bothered me more than the one on the side of my breast. They’ve told me that’s normal because the lymph node is tucked into the shoulder and arm muscles, as opposed to the breast tissue. Most of the iodine, blue marker dye, and black marking pen used to map nodes has faded away. My doctor did a beautiful job of the surgery, while doing the least amount of damage to my breast, for which I thanked her. Looking in the mirror, both breasts look much as they did before. The right is a little smaller than the left, but that’s normal for most women anyway. Looking down at them, the right side no longer mirrors the rounded curve of the left, but I’m the only one who’d ever be likely to notice from that angle. It’s not going to change the way my clothes fit, or even my bra size.
So at this point, my surgical oncologist, Dr. Blair, will see me again with a fresh mammogram in about six months. Aside from that, now my care gets turned over to the medical oncologist who will oversee my treatment from here on. I have the rest of this month to recover from the surgery and will start radiation in December to make sure there are no loose cancer cells still in the area that might have been missed by the surgery.
While I still need two naps a day, I’m healing rapidly, and there’s obvious improvement every day. And I am so grateful for your wonderful healing prayers and good energies – thank you!
I'm learning more about my art, and from my art, every day. It's not so much a matter of skill or practice... mostly it's a shift in perspective, a way of shaping how I look at and exist in the world.
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