Breast cancer pathology results

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Marguerite, Mar 4, 2010.

  1. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We just got back from seeing the surgeon for follow-up. She also removed the dressings. She wasn't happy that my boob is currently the colour of an aubergine, although when she told me what she had done, I'm not surprised.

    Results - the sentinel nodes were negative on frozen section (which we knew as soon as I came out of surgery, because they only took the two and not the lot). But the more detailed careful sectioning over the last few days also showed no cancer in the nodes.

    Tumour - it turns out to be slightly bigger than we thought, because it wasn't round, it sounds to me like it was more the shape of an olive only a bit more irregular. The doctor took the tumour (the hook wire was right in the centre, except there was a bit of tumour creeping across more to one side, she discovered) and when she examined it after she got it out, she felt the margin was too close on one side, so she went back in and took out another chunk of tissue.

    So, results - nodes, OK.

    Chunk 1 (main tumour) - as suspected, invasive ductal carcinoma. But a Type 1, meaning slow-growing and not aggressive. The margin on one side was considered to be incompletely excised, margin less than 2 mm. Good margin elsewhere.

    Chunk 2 (extra bit to account for poor margin) - on wide sectioning, it seems OK. No trace of cancer found in it. But they're going to re-section it (cutting much thinner) and have a more detailed look.

    basically, they cut the lumps as carpetbag steak and looked at the cut surfaces under microscope. Now they're taking the carpetbag steaks and cutting them to sashimi and going to have a more leisurely look.

    Other information gleaned - the tumour is receptive to both estrogen and progesterone. It's also HER-2 negative.

    Hormone positive - good news. It means I take pills to shut off the hormones to the tumour, so any cancer cells that may have been left behind (and it doesn't look like there were any, this is just to make sure) will get starved while I take the pills. The one most likely in my case is the newer one after Tamoxifen. Did you know that Tamoxifen is now considered old-fashioned?

    HER-2 negative - that is also good news. The nastier, more likely to recur tumours are the HER-2 positive ones. Mine is negative. Great!

    So my next thing to do - I have to call the radiotherapy mob and arrange an appointment. That isn't likely to happen for a few weeks, after which the pathology results in detail will be in, the doctors will have had the multidisciplinary team meeting (the big Think Tank where they talk all about ME - and then any other patients whose results have come in during the previous two weeks) and that team will decide what has to be done from here. Radiotherapy certainly, then the medication to block hormone receptors.

    The medication has side effects - arthralgias, osteoporosis, 1 in 1000 get DVT and other clots. Because I already get a lot of pain she said I probably won't notice the arthralgias (they have found that osetoarthritis patients tend to not notice either).

    I've sailed through the recovery from surgery (in terms of pain levels) perhaps because I already have pain so what's the problem with a little more? However, I did find I was feeling weaker, fuzzier and flu-ey increasingly, plus my boob was two cup sizes bigger, so on advice I began antibiotics. I have two antibiotics left, we've been trying to not over-use them. Besides, only one was likely to work and it costs $70 for a course of five pills. Ouch!

    I'm feeling far less flu-ey today, boob is less swollen and not feeling warmer than the other side any more. I can finally see the scars and they are going to not be an issue. The boob scar is a fine line following the line of the areola, about an inch above it. I only have one top where there's any chance of the scar being visible.
    The armpit scar is smaller and will be even less visible. I still have gum from various dressings, so I'm about to gently wipe it all down with ti-tree oil to remove the gum. I can now shower, go to the beach etc, just keep scars out of the sun (because they can darken in the sun) and treat them gently for a while longer.

    No ban on underwires - in fact, because the incision is on the upper surface of the boob, the doctor said underwires will give me the best support and right now, I need support for the sake of comfort.

    So I'm back to wearing my underwired nightdress at bed-time (very sexy! Come on in, Nosferatu) and both sides now look more even, with the swelling down. It's just that the purple boob clashes a bit with the red satin and black chiffon...

    I've also been having problems with Benign Positional Nystagmus (dizzy spells when I turn my head) which I had for about two weeks before the surgery. I'm seeing the neurologist about it tomorrow, I'm hoping he can fix it fast for me. I last had it this badly, before we went to New Zealand (less than three years ago) and he fixed it fast for me, so we could go away and not worry too much about me crashing into walls etc. It's been so bad that with the post-op feeling bleah, I didn't feel safe to drive the car. I'm over the worst of the bleah now, just the vertigo. And if I don't move my head too much, I shouldn't have the really bad problems while driving.

    It'll be a surprise for the neurologist - I saw him last only a month ago, and there was no hint of any of this. We've had a busy time of things in the last few weeks.
    It's amazing how fast we got things done. I know our Aussie health care system is getting criticised here, but frankly, I have been very glad of it.

    I'll let you know when I find out how long before I start the radiotherapy. By then I'll have the Team results and their recommendation of what drug to take, the prescription will be waiting there for me, the surgeon said.

    Bounce back time!

  2. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Marg, the prognosis sounds very promising. I'm excited for you.
  3. Fran

    Fran Former Site Owner

    Sounds very optimistic.
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Marg, what a total relief!!! I'm just grinning here. Good good *good* news, across the board. Well, except for your color scheme, but that'll repair itself.:painter: You are a funny woman. ;)

    I am surprised that Tamoxifen is now considered an "old" drug. That's probably good news too, assuming newer ones are more effective.

    Hope the neuro gets the nystagmus under control quickly, and that you sail thru radiation with minimal side effects. I am really impressed with how smoothly and efficiently your medical system works down there!

    Great news! I'm just so happy for you!
  5. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Marg, you are amazing! I can't believe that I'm reading the results from a biopsy and laughing my butt off picturing a purple-boobed woman in a red chiffon nighty spinning around, clunking into walls,in an old-movie type gothic bedroom tantalizing Dracula! Only you! :bow:

    I'm so happy to hear your results - they sound so organized and human in Australia - quite often cancer patients feel "shuffled" in the New York area.

    You ARE an amazing woman!

  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I'm relieved about all those negatives. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the sashimi won't have anything but it looks really good! Slow growing is wonderful. Well, in the grand scheme of things anyway.

    I also had a great visual. However... Due to Onyxx's (and my) past obsession with Twilight, I keep envisioning Aro (the white haired dude) slinking in.

    ...I had no clue they made underwire nighties! Bet that's an interesting feeling.
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Congrats Marg! All negatives is a positive!!!!


    You wear that nightie with pride!
  8. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Happy the prognosis is good................ love the visuals you have provided........... just watch the "bounce" back.............. don't want you rebounding off somewhere...................... wishing your colors pale to pastels..................
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, that is incredibly good news. In short, it means it did not spread and you caught it at probably Stage 1 which is 99% curable. I'm so glad too :) You're such a great person...I'm so glad it was caught early!!!! (((Hugs))) Write me if you want to talk more. I had a similar report and nothing has come back since 1996. That's darn good!!! And I know you'll do well too!
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911

    WAHOO(.)( .)OOOOOOOO (hey she said boob) I know - back to the corner but it was worth it.

    Marg - I mostly need a DSM to follow your posts - except the Nosferatu reference. Spit my morning coffee out on the computer keyboard on that one. I'm sure he would think you're quite a lovely. Just glad that you are on the mend and "bouncing" back. OMG....(snort) yeah....That's our girl!
    One in the sling and still cracking jokes. Love ya!

    I told Loth - we've just taken to eating cold dinners this entire week - prayers just keep getting longer and tucker gets colder - I said eventually we'll just have to have sandwiches.....last night I came in and we had chicken salad and grapes - lol. DF said - maybe if you start your prayers on the way home? lol. I said "I just have a lot to be thankful for." and I do. I'm so happy there is no cancer. (tears)
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    What a relief to have that news! It sounds like your doctors are very good about explaining the details of every aspect of this treatment -- I'm sure that does a lot for helping you deal with any anxieties about what's going on. The more knowledge, the better for some of us!

    I love aubergine, by the way. Just maybe not as a skin tone, though. Hope the neuro helps with the nystagmus... I get that when I'm uber-tired and/or uber-overindulgent (!)

  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Now they're taking the carpetbag steaks and cutting them to sashimi

    Oh, Marg, you have such a way with words, LOL!

    I'm glad you're doing so well and your spirits are up. You are amazing!!! I hope the kids are waiting on you hand and foot.
  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Whew!! It sounds like you are doing amazingly well and you are going to have an excellent recovery! That is really great news.
  14. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Wonderful, wonderful news, Marg. Well, as wonderful as it gets when you're talking about this subject.

    As for the colors, I always kinda thought red, black, and purple were the staple "naughty nighty" Must be my bad.

    I am so glad for you!
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    That is very good news. I'm sure you are greatly relieved. I've been thinking about you.

  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

  17. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That is great! While it's still hhorrible to have to go thru the surgery you did, the stuff coming up, and the anxiety of this whole ordeal, I'm just thankful it had not spread and they have caught it early and the prognosis is very promising. This is a real reminder not to skip those mammo's, isn't it?
  18. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    GREAT NEWS!!! As someone else said, you are a totally amazing woman!!! I confess, I was laughing while reading this too - What is wrong with black, purple and red together? I think the color combo is just right for bedtime... by the way, I confess, I was one of those "color challenged" persons Star was talking about.

    And as far as "bounce back time," take it easy and enjoy being waited on. After all, an opportunity to be waited on is hard to come by... Almost as hard as winning the lottery.

    As always, thinking of you... SFR
  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Excellent, EXCELLENT news, Marg!!! I'm so happy for you (and us). Hugs~
  20. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Excellent news!!!