My Breast Cancer Journey: Surgery Update

Hello friends! It’s been a bit since I’ve given an update and a lot has happened recently so I’ll dive right in.

First of all – I just have to say that I am SO OVER IT. I knew that the side effects from Taxol were going to be cumulative, but I honestly wasn’t seeing it until last week. The worst part is that unlike A/C -where I could pretty accurately predict my “down days”, with this stuff it hits me out of nowhere. It’s so hard to describe chemo fatigue – it’s like you feel the flu coming on, chills, body aches and worst of all – extreme exhaustion. Something as easy as climbing the stairs is a major production, and chasing Dane around is basically a no-go.

I am trying to stay optimistic and remind myself that I only have two more treatments, which I am thankful for, because I know the chemo is seeking out cancer cells and killing them. It’s the craziest love/hate relationship I’ve ever been in. It’s so crazy to believe that one week from today I will have my LAST chemo infusion. What a trip…

A few weeks ago I met with my surgeon to talk about the next steps for me on this journey. Because of my positive response to chemotherapy, my options for surgery included two very different routes. Option one would include a lumpectomy with 4 weeks of radiation every day. This would be less invasive, require less recovery time and overall would be  the “easier of the two options”. I put that in quotations because it would still be a surgery, and still be incredibly emotional and physically draining. Option two includes a double mastectomy with reconstruction right away. Since day one, I’ve always wanted to be as aggressive as possible with this diagnosis and treatment for a number of reasons including my age, my triple negative status and for prevention purposes.

I’m not going to lie – the decision was not an easy one. I went back and forth about the lumpectomy because honestly, I’ve been through so much already and I’m so ready to be done. I let myself daydream about a day surgery and being back to “normal” in just a few weeks… BUT ultimately I stuck with my gut and am going through with a double mastectomy with reconstruction – which will happen in just over a month. There were a few stats that helped me make my decision.

  1. Recurrence. The chances of this same breast cancer coming back are 5% – and it doesn’t matter if I do the lumpectomy plus radiation or the double mastectomy. Depending on what they find during surgery – the percentage could be even lower. (They will test each cell they remove during surgery.)
  2. New cancer. This is the stat that ultimately solidified my decision. If I went with the lumpectomy, the chances of new cancer is .5% per year – so if I live 50 more years my chances getting a new type of breast cancer could be up to 25%. That is HIGH. If I choose the double mastectomy – my chances of getting a new breast cancer are 1%.

*Note that these stats are specific to me, my cancer type, my response to chemo etc. There is a ton of information out there with general statistics so everyone is a little bit different.

One other thing that my surgeon said that really stuck with me was this: Don’t make this decision based on what’s going to happen in the next three months, make it based on what’s going to happen over the course of the rest of your life… this really resonated with me.

So with that, I scheduled an appointment to meet with my plastic surgeon, to discuss something I never imagined I’d be discussing… fake boobs.

You guys know I’m a pretty open book about everything but I think I’m going to draw the line with details of my #foobs. Its just a little too personal for me. What I will just tell you is that I feel 100% comfortable with what my surgeon and I discussed, we have a plan and I trust his judgement. If you have specific questions, let me know – I’m happy to talk in private about the nitty gritty… I’m just not quite ready to divulge all of those deets to the world. 🙂

My surgery will be Tuesday, October 16th and I’m busy researching and preparing for that recovery. I’m looking at about 4-6 weeks of recovery and will have an additional surgery sometime early next year to complete the reconstruction. I feel so lucky to have a ton of support in my friends and family and ALSO my sisterhood online through Instagram and bloggers.

Only one week left of treatment!!!

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Wisconsin wife and mama to Dane (4) and expecting baby girl in May. Navigating life post-cancer. Lover of food, red wine and laughs. Forever grateful for my wonderful life.

6 thoughts on “My Breast Cancer Journey: Surgery Update

  1. Good decision Martha. i can tell you did your homework. You can make it through the next couple of months. Best wishes for speeding through it all in flying colors. : )) Robin- Jacob family cousin from Virginia..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You don’t know me Martha, I am a long time friend of Betty and Herdy’s, but I gotta say, “YOU ROCK GIRL!!!!”
    I think of you every night as do many and prayers have been answered. Keep up that stellar attitude. You are a wonderful writer too! That may take you far in the future. Sue Jennings Vero Beach, FL.

    Liked by 1 person

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