So there’s been some new thoughts about my treatment plan.
On Wednesday I met with my doctor at Sloan-Kettering in NYC. She is young, brilliant, on top of the latest drugs and clinical trials, and seems to really like what she does. And she’s also a young mom so we can relate. I’m so glad I have her and the team at Sloan-Kettering. I’m realizing how important it is to seek multiple opinions and have a strong team behind you.
The big topic of conversation at the appointment this week was surgery… Something not normally considered for metastatic patients… But in certain situations (like mine) people are saying maybe we should reconsider. When the cancer has suddenly retreated and the only thing left is a piece of the primary tumor, maybe it would help to remove it. Right now there’s limited research on this (they don’t spend many research dollars on the plight of metastatic breast cancer patients), but Sloan-Kettering is taking part in a clinical study to research if getting surgery increases survival time for stage 4 patients.
The problem with surgery though is that it will be a 4 month long ordeal. With a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and possible ovary removal the recovery would be long and I’d have to return to Sloan-Kettering weekly for follow-ups with the doctors and surgeons. Meaning I’d have to live in NY for 4 months and disrupt little Miss M’s life for a while (not to mention hubby’s and mine). And I’d need to find someone to help me care for Miss M on those days when I can’t get out of bed or lift a 30 lb munchkin out of the bathtub. It’s a lot to consider and orchestrate.
But the story deepens…
The day after my appointment, Dr. G phones me to discuss a few things. She was reviewing my file and discussing my case with the medical team, and they had some questions about the results of my initial scans in December. Apparently they are not sure if we can wholly rely on the PET scan as the determining factor in my diagnosis and are questioning if I ever really was stage 4 in the first place. I know – crazy, right?!!? Dr. G asked me to send copies of the scans from December – the bone scan (taken at the beginning of December that showed no cancer anywhere) and the PET scan (taken 2 weeks later that showed cancer everywhere) – so the team at Sloan-Kettering can reevaluate the situation.
The even crazier thing is that there is no way to prove 100% that I was not/am not Stage IV because we never biopsied any of the remote sites to see if they were cancerous. And now they’re all gone.
What a mess.
Right now my scans are on their way to NYC and Dr. G has promised to give me a call in a week’s time so we can discuss it all further. I am just so freakin’ grateful that she is such a great doctor and that she cares. That she is taking the time and energy to help me. What an amazing woman.
I also set up an appointment to go to the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment outside Chicago in July. I really want to find a team that’s knowledgeable about both Eastern and Western medicine and how to combine the two. The Block Center seems perfect for that. They’re all about diet, exercise, and the mind-body connection while also promoting traditional western treatments like surgery and chemotherapy when necessary. I’m hoping this will be the place that truly integrates all the pieces of my treatment plan.
It just goes to show that you truly cannot predict the future. As my mom always said, “The only constant in life is change.” Just when you think you’re getting things figured out – life throws you a curve ball. Craziness.
Peace. – T