It’s been an anxious two-week wait for the pathology results following surgery. The tissue that was removed during my mastectomy has been analysed in the lab, and the results give the oncologists more information about the type of tumour and how it was affected by the chemotherapy.
I think of it as a cancer crime scene: the tumour and chemotherapy leave a bloody trail of evidence that is picked apart by forensic experts. But possibly I’ve just watched too much Dexter/CSI/Silent Witness.
Anyway, yesterday I met with my surgeon for the unveiling of both the pathology results and my reconstructed boob. It was a big day.
So, boob first: surprisingly, the new fake boob (foob) looks almost exactly like the old one, thanks to a nipple-sparing reconstruction. But it’s almost completely numb. The sensation is similar to how your mouth feels after a trip to the dentist for a filling. But since the foob does nothing but sit in a bra all day and isn’t required to eat food or hold a conversation, this is manageable.
Pathology: I already knew from earlier biopsies that my tumour is ER/PR/HER2-positive, meaning I’ll need to continue with herceptin injections every three weeks until January, and will take Tamoxifen tablets for ten years. But the pathology also showed that the tumour has responded to chemotherapy, and there was only 4mm left – a sizeable reduction from the original 27mm. So the chemo misery of the past six months has been worth it. Yay!
However, without a complete response (i.e. all the tumour gone), I will now need radiotherapy. Bollocks.
Radiotherapy, the next step in this gruelling process, will start in 2-3 weeks. There really is no rest for the wicked. But despite this, Pete and I left the consultation room feeling relieved because “it could have been much worse”. And, as Pete pointed out, when being told you need radiotherapy passes as good news, you realise how relentlessly rubbish living in ‘cancer world’ can be.