The 2 hours that followed seemed, at the time, just a blur. We sat and discussed the type of Cancer it was, and the types of treatment. There were 3 options to start with.
1) Take Chemotherapy tablets for 6 months to see if it shrinks the tumour to conserve more of the breast before a Wide Local Excision takes place;
2) Book in now for a Wide Local Excision to remove what they know is there and take a lymph node biopsy to see if any of the nodes are diseased. The results would determine what other treatment would lie ahead; or
3) Book in for a Mastectomy, with no subsequent chemotherapy.
So, the decision at that point was mine. What on the spot? Now??
To me, taking tablets for 6 months was delaying the inevitable. I couldn’t sit for 6 months wondering if they were working. I needed more done.
However I was not the sort of person who could say ‘just get rid of the breast’. It wasn’t me. And if the Surgeon felt she could remove the lump (they did point out there would be a chance of a second operation if they didn’t get clear margins the first time) then my faith was with her on that one.
At this appointment, the Surgeon felt the latter option was ‘overkill’, unless I felt strongly about having one. She later confirmed in the letter to my GP (phrasing it slightly better) that she thought ‘it would still be reasonable to attempt a wide local excision’ but I was ‘borderline for this and discussed the option of mastectomy’. Seeing that in writing – actually seeing it ALL in writing – was the scariest letter I’ve ever read.
But still, I went ahead and still opted for the WLE and the operation was booked in for Tuesday, 13 December.
Before I had chance to take it all in, they also asked me to make another decision – the Consultant Surgeon seemed quite excited about this bit….my Cancer fell into a few categories which would prove valuable for a clinical trial.
See my separate article for this… but first reaction was ‘well if you can get anything good out of this, yep why not!’ And signed the form.
I filled in lots of forms that day. I was given lots of information in booklets too.
(Booklets and Information article to follow).
* * *
We left that clinic and walked round to the next one to book the MRI scan in (hadn’t had one of those before). That was to get more of an exact measurement of the tumour.
Ok, scan booked – back to the Ladybird unit, and gave them the details of when the MRI scan was going to be.
Oh no don’t get comfortable! Two minutes later we were accompanied up to the Day Case Unit where I would be going in December, and filled out the form for that, had my obs checked, all done in advance.
It was all VERY efficient, getting as much organised as possible in one visit.
And that throughout this, I cannot fault.
But I’d been given the news I never thought I’d have to hear. THEN we discussed options for treatment, THEN I was booked in for a scan, AND had the pre-op assessment too. All off the back of the results appointment.
My head was about to explode. It was a bit ‘information overload’ but I also know of older patients who have had to go back the following day/week for some of that information. They did ask me if I wanted to get it all done in one day, so I said yes.
Then we were told we could go home. At last.
Then it was school run time. And the day had to continue, almost as if the last 5 hours hadn’t happened.
That was the day my head spun and hasn’t stopped spinning since.
Next: Clinical Drugs Trial