Saturday, August 29, 2009

Post-Surgery Updates

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Okay, so I was waiting to share this with everyone until I had all the information, which didn't actually happen until yesterday!

My surgeon got the pathology back and it definitely looks good! I am 100%, absolutely, cancer-free!! My surgeon got VERY clean margins in all directions...except one. It wasn't a large margin (larger margins are good) in that one place, however, it was still a clean one. In that one particular spot, my surgeon was within 5mm (yes, millimeters) of some precancerous cells. Though very small, 5mm still counts as a clean margin. The reason it has taken so long to determine this is that my surgeon wanted to wait until he had consulted with my radiation oncologist as to whether she believed it was enough of a margin to begin radiation. Had she disagreed, I would have needed to go back in for more surgery so they could take out more tissue.

After double checking with my radiation oncologist, she gave the go-ahead to start radiation because she feels that margin, though small, is plenty.

The pathology also showed some new and interesting stuff about the cancer itself. Everyone kept telling me that the cancer, as it appeared on the MRI, ultrasound and all other tests, had shrunk (due to chemo) down to about 1cm x 1cm. Well, pathology shows that the area amounting to 1x1 actually included that precancerous stuff I mentioned before. The good news is that precancerous cells are not technically cancer and there is no guarantee that those would become cancerous at all--they are a pretty good indicator, but it's by no means certain. Additionally, that 1x1 area included some other stuff that wasn't actually cancer--just darkened areas that appear on the tests. As it turns out....the actual cancer was only about 1mm!!! That is HUGE news! It speaks volumes for how effective the chemo was.

It is just so amazing to me that such a teeny tiny thing can cause so much trouble and fear!

Anyway, yesterday I went back in for a 1 week after-surgery follow-up and most of my sutures were removed. Some are internal and will just dissolve, but the ones on the ends of each incision had to be taken out. As a result, I'm pretty sore and uncomfortable today, but overall I'm healing up nicely.

My surgeon also seems to have done a FANTASTIC job of balancing the....aesthetic, if you will... with the necessary. I'm going to have two pretty rockin' scars, 3 inches a piece--one in my armpit and one across the top of my breast, but I really think they're not going to be that noticeable! And just between us...and the rest of the internet-reading can't even tell I had an area of 9 square cm removed. :)

So, what's next, you may ask? Well, I meet with my radiation oncologist in 2 weeks and will start radiation 2-3 weeks from now. In two weeks, I will be released to resume all normal physical activity (soccer, running, etc.) and my hair seems to be growing back quickly and filling in pretty well! I'm looking forward to rockin' the pixie hair cut this winter! I hear it's in these days.

I am not sure of what my radiation treatment schedule will be or how many treatments I will need quite yet. That will be something I find out at my upcoming appointment on the 10th, but so far...the good news keeps coming, we're keeping the positive vibes flowing, and I'm hoping to continue healing up nicely!


  1. Scars are badges of honor! Wear them with pride. You are a survivor!

  2. I am so happy for you big! ok happy doesnt even BEGIN to explain... OVERJOYED! You are a rock star! love you so much! and for real i would love to come visit asap! ~Elizabeth

  3. Knife fight...that's all I'm saying.
    So glad that everything is continuing to go smoothly!
    We need to have another hour long chat soon!
    Lova ya!!!

  4. Megan,
    I am a teacher friend of your mother's at Southmoore. I, too, took a similar journey that you have taken. Although mine was divided into two separate bouts of breast cancer nearly 5 years apart. But, this is not about me.

    At my previous school, Westmoore, I have a friend who has just recently completed, or maybe is just now completing radiation. I thought you might be interested in some of her choices of ointments.

    I used a Pharmaceutical goo called Aquafor which worked fine for me, but she mentioned some others. Also, I didn't have so much trouble with burnt skin. I'm a pretty tough cookie and cancer was never going to get me down.

    I don't believe that I was as tough as you because I didn't walk, run, or do much of anything during chemo. Radiation will create some fatigue even if it is nothing more than trying to set aside the time every day for the treatment.

    I don't know you, but I am very proud of your courage. Maybe we will meet some day. I have the greatest respect for your mother.

    Deborah Christian

  5. I'm so glad! Yay about everything!!! :D