I finally got my pathology results late afternoon yesterday, but wanted to wait for additional information before updating all of you.
First of all, my margins are excellent. This refers to the area around the tumor and is important in determining whether I am a good candidate for the balloon catheter radiation. The lymph nodes came back negative which means there is no metastasis. What wonderful news to get. I was so happy I cried.
Along with the pathology results I learned that my radiation treatment is going to be moved up. Originally it was tentatively scheduled for the end of November, but now I will be having radiation the week of October 29th through November 2nd. I will be reporting to Abington Hospital daily for two treatments per day with a span of 6 hours between treatments. I guess I’ll be making that trip with my eyes closed by the end of the week!
I’m scheduled for a follow-up with the radiation oncologist, Dr. Patel, on Monday, the 22nd and a “sim” appointment on Friday the 26th at Abington, also with Dr. Patel. I’m not sure what a “sim” is, but I am guessing it is a simulation so that I know what to expect when I start treatments on Monday the 29th. I will see Dr. DuPree on Thursday, the 25th for my post-op follow-up, and she will insert the balloon catheter in the office at that time.
Along with all these results and appointments, I also was told that my tumor is hormone driven. It was strongly estrogen and progesterone positive. I wonder if that’s why I’m still getting “power surges” (my description of hot flashes) twelve years post menopause?! Because of this, there is a good chance that I may need to take an anti estrogen – aromatase inhibitor drug. I asked if that would be Tamoxifen, and Dr. DuPree said that Tamoxifen is used with breast cancer patients who are PRE-menopausal. She feels that this drug is less invasive and has fewer side-effects.
I spoke with a friend who has had the balloon catheter method of radiation. She said the catheter was not painful, but that it is a bit uncomfortable and a nuisance trying to get into a comfortable sleep position. No showers permitted while the catheter is in place. She said she managed to get into the bathtub and wash without getting the bandages wet. Because tub access is difficult for me with my fused ankle, I guess I will be a little on the stinky side during radiation! Just kidding — I’ll be restricted to standing sink baths to control the stink!
. . . and so it is