Well apparently my career in Design/Metalwork was the wrong calling; looks as if my new career will be full time Research Maven as my cancer plot thickens. The pathology came back on my invasive tumor and it showed that the cancer I have is HER2 positive. Basically this means that the cancer cells in my tumor were rapidly mutating (growing) due to a genetic mutation of the Human Epidermal Grown Factor Receptor 2. Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz. It’s as if you could have a golf cart of a tumor or a maserati; I unfortunately in this situation, have a maserati. My cancer cells turn over at a much quicker rate than that of the average cancer. Always the overachiever.
Now my role is to understand all of this, and decide where to go for treatment. We live in beautiful Bend, OR and that comes with many benefits, but I want to make sure that I’m not missing anything by staying here for treatment. My original medical Oncologist told me in my very first appointment that I didn’t have cancer, wouldn’t need chemo and that breasts are “overrated”. I wanted to tell him that so are testicles, but I bit my tongue. At our second meeting with him, to discuss my invasive cancer, that I wasn’t supposed to have, he told me that I would not need chemo and that I was HER2 - ; where he gathered that information, I don’t know. Needless to say I’m shopping around for a new Oncologist. I will meet with a local Oncologist this week and then am hoping to get to Portland to OHSU to have a third opinion.
Have I mentioned that survival rates for young women with invasive breast cancer aren’t fabulous, and that HER2+ cancers have an even lower survival rate? I can’t afford any more surprises or mistakes.
On a lighter note, I’m finally getting used to life with two plastic tubes stitched into my chest. Looks like this may be the last week living with drains. I’m also becoming more at peace with my new body. I have the most bad ass scars I have ever seen. I am slit across my chest from the outside of each armpit to the center of my chest on both sides. And to think I thought I was a tough cookie before all of this.