Yesterday was my first oncologist appointment. I was pretty nervous…not sure why! It was actually quite reassuring and comforting, and I liked her (Dr. Joanne Yu). Here are the new things I learned:
1. Stage 2.
2. Her2- (this is good news. Her2+ tends to be more aggressive and more likely to recur. There are some great medications for it…but that means more treatment so bring negative is a plus)
3. I’ll get further genetic testing. I’ve already been tested for BRCA gene mutations in 2010 (negative) but she says new gene markers are being discovered and the most up to date screening is important for me and my daughters, especially since I am quite young to get breast cancer. I am quite pleased by this. The surgeon told me that there was no further testing I could have, and I was not happy with that because I had heard there were other genetic tests. I’m glad that the oncologist was in agreement and referred me to the genetic counseling department.
4. I will lose my hair. (Yes I’ve heard of the cooling cap. It’s not covered). I am really having a hard time with this. Over the weekend I cut my hair a bit shorter, I don’t really like it very much but I figured that it would be good to get accustomed to shorter hair. I was planning to get one more haircut before I shave, but I think I’m going to keep it the way it is. I see no need to look even worse before I have to shave my head, either way shaving is going to suck but it will be better than watching my hair fall out.
5. The chemo protocol is fec-d. It will be one day every 3 weeks for 6 cycles. The first three cycles are one kind of chemo, the second three are a different one.
6. The oncologist was quite enthusiastic about me working through at least the first three cycles (that chemo is generally well tolerated), which takes me to the end of my current work contract. I don’t know what will happen in April, firstly because then my chemo will change to one that’s a bit less tolerated, and secondly because I’m not sure what would happen at work (my regular position is not particularly compatible with treatment, my current contract position is) but I will deal with that when I get there.
7. This week I am having an echocardiogram, abdominal scan, chest X-ray, and bone scan.
8. I start chemo on January 6. I guess I’m glad that I will be able to enjoy the holidays, but at the same time I am quite eager to get this show on the road, and it would also be nice to start before the holidays and avoid some sick days. Oh well, it is what it is and I will just focus on the positive, which is going to feel great while I enjoy the statutory holidays and celebrations with my family and friends!