Monday, October 19, 2009

Drains out!

I went to Dr. Kostroff today. She removed all six of my drains. It hurt a little. My friend Cathy went with me and she said she almost passed out. That would be a bummer especially since she is a paramedic. Dr. Kostroff cut the stitches that held the drain in, opened the drain ball so there is no suction present and just pulled it out. The first one was in my left armpit and that hurt the most. The four abdominal drains weren't bad at all. The right armpit also hurt, but not as bad as the left. The part that was inside my body seemed to be about six inches long on each drain. It was somewhat gross, really.

Now that the drains are gone I can get into some different positions and that helps. All my sutures are in. I am hoping they come out when I see Dr. Keller on Thursday.

Dr. Kostroff also gave me a copy of my final pathology report. It details the tumors and grades everything. My tumor is a grade 3. Bummer as that is the highest (worst ) grade. This means that it is a very aggressive cancer. They grade it using the Bloom-Richardson scale. On that scale my tumor characteristics got an 8 out of a possible 9. There were also three tumors. The main one was 1.7cm. The other two were 6mm and 4mm. The tumor cells of all the nodules show the same morphological characteristics and grade. There were also multiple foci of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) in numerous other areas of the breast. DCIS is considered a stage zero cancer. It is cancer that remains in the breast duct and has not yet invaded other tissue. All the tumors had very wide margins. That essentially means they got it all.

This pathology report makes me so glad I made the decision to do a mastectomy instead of trying to treat it with a lumpectomy. I think knowing it was the right decision helps a lot.

So, the question I keep getting is "Why chemotherapy if they got it all?" The problem with breast cancer is that it can show up many years later in other parts of the body. There can be stray cancer cell that get into the blood or lymphatic system and then grow in other areas of the body. The goal of the chemotherapy is to kill any of these cells. I am not sure what my course of chemotherapy will be. I have an appointment with an oncologist, Dr. Citron, tomorrow. I will find out a lot more then.

Thanks to everyone for all your support. I love and appreciate you all. I am hoping this cancer will soon be a distant memory.

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