Dr. Surgical Oncologist's office called with what she described as "good news" and "almost perfect news" regarding the pathology of my breast cancer. The good news is that six months of chemotherapy worked as it should; a little bit of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) remained in the breast tissue, but it was no longer invasive. This means that it wasn't trying to grow out from its location. The other way that I took this as good news is that the remaining DCIS seems to support my decision to get a mastectomy. No doctor has said that, but my gut is taking this at further evidence of its trustworthiness.
The almost perfect news is that the pathology confirmed that there was no cancer in my lymph nodes. The reason this is not fully perfect is that they did find a few cancer cells in the duct on the way to the lymph nodes. I have no idea what this means. Was my cancer spitting off cancer cells until the moment it was cut out of me? Or had these cells split off from the cancer long ago and decided to hang out in this bodily hallway? But it doesn't matter because the lymph nodes were clear, which is the most important result.
I'll see Dr. Surgical Oncologist on Tuesday when I get my drains removed, and I'll get clarification on the significance of all of the pathology then. Also, the surgical team is/was to present my case to the Tumor Board (again) today, so it will be interesting to hear what everyone at the institution thinks about my case. I have my fingers crossed for no plot twists, such as radiation. I'm ready to close the case, at least for now.
My recovery is continuing in a positive direction. The only major development is that I have a hot, itchy rash that covers my chest wall surrounding the surgical sites. I'm not terribly surprised to have a rash, since rashes have been one of the main sidebars of my chemotherapy this time around. But I am terribly uncomfortable. I have been taking all sorts of allergy medicines to try to control the rash: benadryl, zyrtec, zantac, allegra. The only thing that has been moderately effective is an anti-inflammatory ointment, but it is not a cure. It prevents the rash from bubbling and oozing (yay!), but it allows it to maintain a hot and itchy state (boo!). My second tool for getting relief is ice. I ice the chest wall all day long.
Additional relief came this week in the form of some amazing news. Two of my dear friends are organizing and riding 100 miles to nowhere, on their bicycles, around my block. They are doing this on Oct. 18th to raise awareness of inflammatory breast cancer and to raise funds for my daughters. To read more about their event and to find out how to participate or donate, please check out "Steven's" blog here, or "Norman's" blog here.
The kindnesses, generosity, and support continue to amaze me and fill me with gratitude. Can't wait to hug you, Steven and Norman.