I did everything they told me. Without hesitation, without complaining, I had surgery, six rounds of chemo, five weeks of daily radiation, with a smile on my face for the most part. But apparently that wasn't enough. I've now been told my cancer has spread to my lung and I have stage four treatable, but incurable cancer.
Just before finishing radiation last September, I was told that a small nodule had shown up in my lung on my radiation planning ct and that it was probably nothing, but that I would need to have a follow up scan in a few months to check it out and document it. Initially I planned on having the scan done earlier, but after spending every morning at the hospital for five weeks straight, I decided to wait the three months and to enjoy the break. In November I had the follow up scan but the results were inconclusive, so I was sent for a PET scan, which is a more detailed scan that essential highlights cancer. The PET scan showed that the node in question was non cancerous, but another suspicious node showed up in my lung. My oncologist said it was too small to biopsy and that we should repeat the scan again in three months to see if there were any changes.
So two weeks ago that's exactly what I did. The following day when I saw my oncologist I was told that the node had changed. It had grown. It was cancer. At that point he was unsure what treatment plan would be best, and discussed the possibility of removing the cancer with surgery, but went on to say that that wouldn't fix the problem because I now had metastatic stage four breast cancer, and that treating the lung node locally wouldn't stop the cancer from popping up elsewhere in my body. This was treatable but incurable cancer. I would be having treatment indefinitely, which means no more babies, no reconstruction...
Since then my husband and I have been back to see my oncologist. He has decided that surgery or radiation to the lung node would do more damage than good so it won't be necessary. We spoke about the possibility of being treated by a brand new drug which isn't on the pbs yet so it would cost $14,000, but he has now decided that that isn't necessary yet. He sent me for another PET scan and finally I got some good news when the results showed there was no sign of cancer anywhere else in my body. He is sending me to see another oncologist to get a second opinion and to make sure all treatment avenues are discussed. He also wanted to have a biopsy performed on the lung node to confirm the type of cancer so he knew which drugs to use to treat it.
On Thursday I had the biopsy. It was a little bit shit. After waiting for about two hours, I was taken in to the ct scanner to get ready for the biopsy. I had to lay, face down, on the ct bed without moving while they scanned me to locate the node. They sedated me (that part was wonderful) then gave me a local anesthetic, and proceded to put a needle in my back, between my ribs, and into my lung. They then put a smaller needle inside this one and took a few samples of the node. As soon as they finished and I was allowed to move, I started coughing up blood, and got a bleeding nose. Everyone seemed to rush to get be onto my back and then hurriedly wheeled me over to recovery where my husband joined me. My back and chest ached but I was ok. I had to stay in recovery for two hours to be monitored and was then sent for a chest X-ray to make sure my lung hadn't collapsed.
I see my oncologist again this Thursday and will hopefully have the biopsy results which will indicate what type of drugs I will now receive. I will most likely be having weekly infusions at the hospital and eventually going into a clinical trial.
On a happier note, little birdie started preschool last week, perfect timing hey?, and she is loving it. She seems to be keeping the teachers amused too. On her first day she wouldn't eat morning tea, telling them 'I just had honey toast. I don't need to eat now'. Then, when we dropped her off this week she told her teacher 'I had a good nap yesterday' and when her teacher said 'that must have made mummy happy' she said 'yeah. I'm her daughter'.