I'm angry. I'm pissed. I'm scared. And I guess I am also in shock. Yesterday I met Dr L, my oncologist (also with the St Louis Breast and Cancer Institute). She talked about the findings of my Oncotype DX test (done on the tumor the surgeon took out of me). I'm not sure that I understand everything but basically at first, the news sounded good! Out of the four categories of tumors("Best," "Good," Interm" and "Worst"), mine was only in the second category -- "good." My tumor was only 1.2 centimeters and was grade II. I am ER+, PR+ and Her 2-. Again, not sure what all that means but the Oncotype determines what risk you have of getting breast cancer again -- my Oncotype number was "22" which puts me at about 14-15%. From what I understand from reading online, doctors will suggest chemo for anyone who has an Oncotype number greater than 11.
You know, it's hard to make a decision about what you are going to do when you have no idea what entails a "good decision." But the moment that Dr L said, "If I had a daughter, I would suggest ..." it's hard to think about doing anything else. So she suggested something called CMF chemotherapy (which stands fot the three-drug cocktail you get -- cyclophasphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil). I will receive this via injection into the vein 6 times, every three weeks (so this will be happening for 18 weeks). Somewhere along the line, Dr L also said that we can begin radiation treatments so at least we can get the second part of the treatment started. And my first chemo will be on August 3, just after coming back from a road trip to the Zappos outlet in KY the weekend before.
I think I am still a bit numb about the whole thing. This was not the plan -- it was supposed to be just radiation. I was accepting of that, but not chemo. How am I supposed to work on my dissertation? How am I going to teach while going through all this? What happens if I do lose my hair? (apparently, I only have a small chance of this with CMF). And what about the marathon I will be running on Oct 17? How is this going to impact my training? How is all this going to affect my marriage?
So lots of questions.