I had my follow up appointment with Dr. Levy today. First, a doctor came in that I had met shortly while being sedated in the pre-op room and gently investigated my incisions and surrounding area. I wish I could remember her name, as I really liked her. She then covered the report she held in her hand, stating information we already were aware of as well as some new information. The cancer they removed was 1 centimeter (2.5 centimeters is an inch) it was a grade 1, which is slow growing. They removed 3 lymph nodes, which upon initial biopsy looked to be all clean, however, upon closer inspection, the first lymph node removed contained a “carcinoma”… Ok, that was news. She then proceeded to inform us that typically they recommend medication at 1 centimeter or more, none for less than 1 centimeter and because I also indicated cancer in a lymph node she was sure they would recommend medication. I, being naïve, assumed the medication she was speaking of was Tamoxifen. Dave on the other hand asked “Chemotherapy?” to which she replied “yes”, … I could not tell you what else she said after that.
After she left the room, I sat stunned for a moment, managed to blurt out “Crap”, grabbed a Kleenex and hopped back on the table to await Dr. Levy. Dave came to me and gave me a hug then we both sat stunned. Eventually Dr. Levy came in, washed his hand, and began to poke around my incisions forgetting that I was under them and still fresh from surgery. After satisfying himself that no lymph node fluid was building up inside or infection was present, he declared me “looking good” and proclaimed I could begin to resume “normal activity”.
Dr. Levy then began to restate what the previous doctor told us, and informed us he would get phone numbers to oncologist in the Independence branch (as it is a bit closer to home). He said the oncologist could recommend removal of more lymph nodes, although he doubts any cancer would be in any more nodes and would note it that he does not recommend any more to be removed. He also informed us there is a test that could be done, a genetic mapping, that would show if the cancer tissue removed will likely come back in the future, or not. (I will insist on this test!). Dr. Levy said there are some studies out now that suggest that Chemotherapy does not add any more value than taking Tamoxifen alone. However, he was careful to remind us he was not an oncologist and we should consult with one before we make any decisions. Each cancer is different. I have made an appointment for this coming Friday the 29th, in Independence, to consult with a medical oncologist that will handle any treatment that I may need now that surgery is over. Chemo or not, I will still need radiation and most likely Tamoxifen. Needless to say that I spent the majority of today trying to process this information.
Later this afternoon, a friend from church brought over dinner and dessert for us. (Thank you to Donna (and Angeli), Kacie and Joann for wonderful meals that were lovingly and thoughtfully prepared for us, all were delicious!) Shortly after Joann left, a beautiful basket of violets, butterflies and vines, as well as a box of chocolates, were delivered from the local florist sent from my co-workers at Verizon Wireless. My brother, Tim, called to check in with me just about the time the flowers and chocolates arrived, and my other brother Rick stopped by tonight to see how I was doing and to give me a much-needed hug.
I have received prayers, cards, texts, e-mails, comments on my blog, meals, flowers and chocolates, and calls during this journey and I want to let you all know that each and every one have come at a perfect time, when I needed them the most. I cherish each of you and feel humbled by your generosity and spirit of compassion. Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough. Thank you for allowing God to work His perfect timing through you.
Flowers and chocolates that arrived today from my friends at Verizon Wireless.