Yesterday a multidisciplinary team examined my case. The radiologist explained to colleagues what he (or she) saw on the CT and MRI images and together they formed an advice. This morning Dear Friend and I walked to the hospital to be informed by the surgeon. I really didn’t know what to expect. Although I felt reasonably fit, that had been the case as well just before the devastating diagnosis at the beginning of this year. In addition, lately I felt a new lump in my armpit, at the location of the lymph nodes. That worried me…..
“The MRI gives a radiologically complete response!” said the surgeon. This means that the radiologist actually can no longer spot cancer in my breast on the images! An incredible result. That does not mean that there can be no cancer cells in that breast at all. The latter can only be assured after tissue removal and laboratory test. At the moment, however, it is no longer clear where in the breast tissue should be removed. After all, at the start of this entire process, the entire breast was already overgrown with cancer – in addition to the large tumor of more than 9 cm. If a piece is removed somewhere and then examined in the laboratory, cancer cells may still be present in the tissue that has not been removed. These can be tumors too small to be detected by MRI. The safest route therefore remains a complete amputation of the breast and then to irradiate the remaining area.
No new abnormalities were found on the CT scan in the area from neck to lungs! So the new lump is something harmless. The previously found spots in the sternum, armpit and vertebra have not gotten any bigger! A CT always produces noise, so it’s unclear whether those spots have become smaller. The advice is to also irradiate the sternum and vertebra.
The earlier spots in the lungs are gone, which unfortunately means that it may have been cancer after all (which is not 100% certain), but fortunately also means that these have responded well to the chemo. Now that they can no longer be found, they cannot be irradiated either. That is why they will be monitored with scans in the future, because the chance of their return remains high.
In summary: it remains a dangerous situation and a long and difficult process in the coming months, but the chance that I may survive this has clearly increased!
Tears of relief rolled over my cheeks once I had left the consulting room. In my mind I dared to make bookings again in my calendar past the end of this year. An incredibly nice and wonderful gift, because I love life in the midst of you. And therefore I like to continue wearing my aforementioned ‘student uniform’, my body.