In the system
January 23, 2019. My new oncology surgeon is a pro at making her patients feel safe and calm and at explaining the basics of breast cancer types. For instance, I learned that although the word “invasive” sounds bad in the diagnosis Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, it just means the cancer cells that have probably been living happily in my milk ducts for some time have now “invaded” the tissue outside the ducts, producing this lump. I learned that how we treat the cancer depends on the genetic markers found in the biopsy sample. Unfortunately, at the time of my appointment, the genetic marker testing of my sample had not been completed. Her hunch, though, is that my tumor (My Tumor) is one of a couple hormone-receptor types that feed on estrogen or progesterone, which means that chemo can be replaced with a simple hormone blocking drug that I will take for the rest of my life. The bad news is that the breast has to go. The calcifications that I saw on the mammogram are markers of cancer in the ducts and they are all over a good quarter of my breast. My nipple is a goner too, owing to the fact that the main cancerous mass is located directly behind it. I have an appointment with a plastic surgeon the following week to talk about reconstruction options. Hoo boy.
I also got a visit with someone with the professional title of Nurse Navigator. My nurse navigator can help me find resources that may be helpful to me such as insurance assistance, classes, mentoring, what-have-you. That’s really nice. I’ll bet some patients really need a resource like this. I don’t feel like I do. I kind of wish they would use some of the nurse navigator money to hire more lab techs in oncology.