So LadyBug and I headed north today to see her surgeon. This was a much anticipated visit after the news we received on Friday. If you ever want to spend a tense weekend, find out on Friday you have entered the realms of cancer, then wait until Tuesday to find out more.
After a bit of a wait, the Doctor Wonderfulsurgeon entered the room. She, much as she always does, got right to business. She laid out both options that were available to us, with accompanying benefits and consequences. One was a lumpectomy, the other a full mastectomy. To cut the matter short, LadyBug decided to opt for the total package. She doesn't want to have to worry (and lose even more sleep) and wonder whether or not the cancer will come back.
One of the things she did was recommend a screen for the Cancer Gene. If the results come back positive, she will strongly advise a double-mastectomy. If the results are negative for that gene, only the left breast will be taken. The doctor then explained that as she is in surgery, they will look at her lymph nodes, and the pathologist will be able to tell before the end of the operation whether or not the cancer has spread.
If the cancer has spread to the lymph system, LadyBug will need to begin radiation therapy as soon as she is recovered from the surgery, to be accompanied by chemotherapy. If she were to do just a lumpectomy, the radiation and chemo would have been mandated. Since radiation therapy would mean a 200 mile round trip five days a week, please pray that it will not be necessary. If the lymph system is cancer-free, the surgery will most likely end the ordeal, with possibly some chemo added for good measure.
While LadyBug is still on the table, the reconstructive specialist will come in to see what he can do about building a new breast. He will insert a tissue extender, which can be inflated with saline gradually over time. Eventually, when the surrounding tissue has reached the point where it is ready, he will remove the extender and insert the augmentation implant. LadyBug's younger sister suggested going BIG! Her brother-in-law (married to another sister) advised DOUBLE-D's.
LadyBug doesn't want anything much bigger than what she has now, but if they only have to take the left breast, she will get a new one to match it's size and shape. The surgeon can eventually reconstruct (ahem) all physical attributes of a healthy breast, with the exceptions of inner material and feeling. I suggested that once she is done, she needs the shirt that says, "Of course they're fake! My real ones tried to kill me!"
LadyBug first has to have an MRI, and consultation with the plastic-surgeon, both of which take place next Wednesday. The full surgery will take place on the Monday before Thanksgiving. She will spend one night in the hospital, with a possible second-night stay. LadyBug's bro-in-law, Pillsbury Doughboy, has volunteered to check in on her the second day, since I will have classes to teach. If she can be checked out that day, he has volunteered to drive her home. If not, he will call me and let me know. Then she can be brought home the next day (the day before Thanksgiving).