Thursday, October 25, 2012

Radiation Here I Come

Yesterday we met with the radiation oncologist for my follow-up.  As I said in one of my previous posts, I was really leaning towards not getting radiation.  However, after my appt. we are moving forward with this part of my treatment despite the reconstruction implications.

She had several reasons she wants me to receive radiation treatments.

1.      My tumor was a grade 3 - Cancer cells divide and grow rapidly (even after a mastectomy there are cells left over inside the breast).
2.      I had vascular invasion - This happens when breast cancer cells break into the blood vessels or lymph channels. This increases the risk of the cancer traveling outside the breast or coming back in the future.
3.      I had a deep margin - This means the cancer reached up against the muscle of the chest wall.
4.      The position of my tumor at the 6 o’clock position could have caused the spread of the cancer to my lymph nodes in the chest (between the breasts).  There is no way of removing these nodes.
5.      1 positive node (Most likely, if I only had this and not the above 3, I would not need radiation.)

The plan is to radiate the tumor site, chest wall, lymph nodes between the breasts, above the clavicle, neck, and under my armpit all on the right side.  Because they will be radiating the lymph nodes between the breasts, they have to drain all the fluid out of the left breast so it will not be in the way of the radiation beams.  So, unfortunately, this means I will be a little lopsided for the time being.  It's nice we are getting into colder weather, and I can wear sweaters and scarves.  I am just planning on stuffing the left side of my bra.    

I will have a planning session on Monday to create the path for the radiation and my specific plan.  

Radiation sessions will be daily (5 days a week) for approx. 5-6 weeks.  The tentative start date right now is 11/12.  

1 comment:

  1. Electing to have radiation is not an easy decision. Yet, once it's made, you've got a set path in front of you. I hope you have found this to be helpful. Did you get your radiation "tattoos" at your planning session Monday? Hope it went smoothly and that everything was explained well. (You're onto something with the weather changing and allowing for loose, baggy clothes to hide the lopsided chest "situation." Scarves also help hide things and draw attention away from the boobs.)