Finally some good news to share! Today I got the results of my PET scan, which showed that there is cancer only in my left breast and one lymph node. This is what we already knew, but the PET scan confirms that the cancer has not spread to any other part of my body. Aaron just commented on how quickly one's level of expectations can change. Last Monday we were devastated when we found out I had cancer. Today we were elated to hear that I only have cancer in one area of my body. We know we still have a long road ahead of us, but every bit of good news that can lift our spirits helps.
Since my last post there has been a flurry of activity in the Heckman-Rapport household. On Thursday evening my parents came into town (a trip that had been planned for quite a while, pre-cancer diagnosis). We had a great time eating lots, visiting Stone Mountain park, and putting up Halloween decorations. Our cat, Ollie, got spoiled by his "grandma," who let him hang out on the porch as long as he wanted. Grandma is far more patient than Aaron or me.
On Monday I had my PET scan and then visited with the reproductive specialist, upon the insistence of my oncologist. Aaron and I would like a family SOME DAY, but when a woman of child-bearing age is facing chemo, apparently it is protocol to visit with a reproductive specialist. Warning: If you don't wish to read about my ovaries, please skip to the next paragraph. Regarding my ovaries, the specialist told me that there is an 80% chance they will stop functioning due to chemo. Following that, there is a 50-70% chance they will regain function after my chemotherapy is complete. There is an injection I could take to make these percentages a bit higher, but it is both expensive (not covered by insurance) and uncomfortable (side effects include basically throwing me into early menopause). We looked at this as well as other options, such as embryo freezing (crazy expensive!), and decided that we're just going to take our chances and not do anything. If my ovaries don't regain function, there are other options. I have a gorgeous niece named Sydney Grace who proves that.
This morning I had surgery to "install" a chemo port just under my right clavicle. The surgery was quick, easy, and relatively pain-free. The doctor gave me a prescription for pain-killers, but so far I haven't felt the need to take any. Aaron joked that we should hand them out to trick-or-treaters. He has quite the sense of humor.
Tomorrow morning I go to "chemo training" with my oncologist. This is when I learn all about my chemo plan. Hopefully I will retain most of the information. The general plan right now is to do chemo first to stall the growth of the cancer and then perform surgery to cut it out of my system completely.
On Friday I go to my first breast cancer support group meeting. I have been wanting to make friends in Atlanta ever since we moved here in July, but I never thought I would do so by getting cancer!
This week has been amazing in terms of the love and support shown by our wonderful friends and family. My phone has been ringing off the hook, my inbox is filled with loving emails, our mailbox is filled with cards and letters, and the doorbell rings at least twice a day with deliveries for me -- cookies, other edible treats, lots of books and even a pair of luxurious pajamas that I may never take off. I turned to Aaron yesterday and said "Aren't you jealous? Cancer comes with presents!" Thanks everyone.