About Lefty (aka, The Ninja’s Cancer)

I was going to call this “About My Cancer” but since she developed the lumps, I figure that Lefty deserves a page all of her own.

Lefty became her own entity the first week of July 2012, when I found a lump.  I had never named my breasts before (athough as a 38 K, I might have been able to apply to get them each their own zip code) so when referring to my cancer, it just became easier.

I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma later that month.  There was some additional testing, and we learned that I had a total of three lumps in Lefty.  Here’s the pathology of my cancer, that I like to refer to as “triple positive:”

      • There was no involvement in the two sentinal lymph nodes that I had removed, so my cancer is considered Stage 1A.
      • In breast cancer, they give the cells grades of 1-3, speaking to how aggressive the cells are. My main tumor is grade 3.
      • There’s a protien that gives the rate of cell growth, KI67. Below 10% is low, above 20% is high, and in between is intermediate. My tumor is at 60%
      • I’m ER/PR positive, which means that I’m on estrogen supression after now that my chemo treatment is all over. (These are the first two “positives” and tell my doc what will work for killing any rogue cancer cells)
      • I’m HER2 equivocal, which means I’m right between the measures, some scales call me positive, others negative.  (This is the third postive… I just think it’s more fun to say I’m triple positive than two positives and a maybe)
      • I’ve also had genetic testing done, and I am NOT BRAC 1 or 2 postive. I’m signed up for additional testing to help researchers find more genetic markers, which could be helpful, because I do have a family history on my mom’s side. On the other hand, being negative means I get to keep my ovaries for now. (Here’s a video of my doctor talking about Breast Cancer and Family History)

So on August 16th, 2012, I had a bi-lateral, skin-sparing mastectomy with tissue expanders.  We took them both off because that way I am even, and lumpectomy was not an option since the three lumps in lefty covered more than 14 cm, AND to make sure I don’t get more cancer. I see no reason to go through this again.

So after surgery pathology said:

      • Right breast totally clear and healthy
      • Two lymph nodes removed from next to Lefty, totally clear and healthy
      • The three masses in lefty were that, three distinct masses
      • The largest mass (the one I felt in the shower) is just under 2 cm

So my treatment plan is as follows:

      • Cut out the cancer, and all surrounding breast tissue to be safe.  And Righty too for good measure. (8/16/2012)
      • Chemo the heck out of it (9/21-11/23/2012)
        • The drugs in this cocktail are Taxotere and Cytoxan (so it’s called TC treatment), and then a bunch of stuff to help with the side effects of those two.
      • Get new silacone boobies (Spring/Summer 2013)
        • There are tissue expanders that were placed on 8/16, and I get a fill every 2-3 weeks. Those will be at their final size in Dec of 2012, but I still need to wait a few months after chemo so that I will be able to heal from the replacement surgery well.
        • The “swap” surgery is April 8, 2013.
        • I got the nubs for my nipples on August 22, 2013. I get the tattoos so they LOOK like nipples, December 3, 2013.
      • Put hormones on pause for 5 years to not feed any cancer that escapes the chemo (Jan 1 2013-Jan 1 2018)
      • As of September 2013, I’m NED (No Evidence of Disease) and perimenopausal. This means I’m CLOSE, but not quite there yet.

I’ll try to keep this up to date as anything changes, but feel free to leave me a comment if I’ve forgotten a piece of the diagnosis or anything that I can add.  The PROGNOSIS, is that my docs think that my plan to be a 50 year survivor is realistic as long as we keep with the plan above. So that is the plan.

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