I’m just starting my fight against breast cancer, hence the title fighting like a girl. I was at the doctor’s office and they had a wall that people signed with personal messages about their cancer experiences and there was one quote that was my favorite. It said “I fought breast cancer like a girl and I won!” So that’s my new motto…
I’ve finished meeting with the surgeons (general and plastic), the genetic counselor, the oncologist and had the MRI — an experience I don’t care to repeat. That is the noisiest thing, even though they give you earplugs. But it did show that we’re just dealing with the one area on the right side and it appears to be small. So it was well worth the annoying experience to get such detailed pictures!
I think I’ve also shared before that I have a genetic blood clotting disorder that makes me more prone to develop blood clots. It’s something I share with one brother and its called Factor V Leiden. It’s fairly common and not usually a huge worry, but wouldn’t you know it, my case is more difficult!
I found out I had Factor V because two years ago I developed a very large blood clot in my left leg from my knee into my stomach area and spent ten days in the hospital where they had to do a procedure called trellising to mechanically break up and remove the clot. They also put in a filter, threading it in through an incision near my collarbone into the vena cava. It temporarily protects you from a clot moving into your lungs and after your blood thinner starts working well they retrieve the filter. I was part of a study group for the B Braun filter that is now available.
So the thing is, because I had that really big clot and will have to go off the blood thinners again for surgery for several days, they will have to reinsert a filter before they do my surgery. Oh, and the best part is you get to inject yourself in your stomach twice a day with a drug to prevent clots up until and after surgery! And then later, usually within weeks, they will surgically retrieve the filter.
I’ve had a lot of decisions to make about a lumpectomy versus mastectomy, reconstruction if it is a mastectomy, the pros and cons of doing just one side or both sides, the worries about cancer reoccurring, etc. But as my oncologist pointed out, the fact that I can choose means I have many good options!
And one of the most exciting things I’ve found out about is genetic testing of the cancerous tumor that they will do after surgery which helps you and your doctor’s determine if chemotherapy is necessary and helpful. Here’s a link to info from The New York Times about the testing that my dear friend Laura from Fountain Pen Follies sent me that explains a fascinating study that’s been going on that will help thousands of women make good decisions about treatment now and in the future.
Thanks for reading, for all your thoughts, prayers and lovely good wishes, and for riding along with me on this sometimes bumpy journey. I will let you all know when surgery will be and how everything goes. I may not be writing as much for a little bit, but I will be reading your blogs ❤