the deets

After my annual mammogram in Feb 2013, I was told to come back in 6 months so they could “follow up on a few things”. The follow-up appointment in September turned into a dizzying afternoon of musical chairs from the mammography room, to the waiting room, to the ultrasound room, back to the mammography room, and finally into a private office where I met the social worker to asked me to come back for 2 biopsies. Two biopsies spread over 4 days and 2 days of waiting later, I got the call on October 8, 2013 that I had tested positive for infiltrating ductal carcinoma.Apparently, nearly 80% of breast cancer is IDC, so I seem to have the “it” breast cancer. My tumor is “teeny tiny” at 6 mm.

  • My left breast has infiltrating (or invasive) ductal carcinoma
  • It appears to be 6 mm but we don’t know the exact size or shape but it appears to be teeny tiny
  • Clinical Stage 1. (This gets reviewed again after tumor is removed)
  • Grade 2: (on a scale 1-3). Intermediate cell growth rate.
  • Ki-67 is 40-50%. This measures how aggressive the tumor is. This is more aggressive than they expected.
  • HER-2 This measures human epidermal growth factor receptor and HER-2 means that the HER2 protein is not causing the cancer.
  • Hormone Status is ERPR+ which means that the estrogen is causing the tumor to grow, which indicates that the cancer should respond well to hormone suppression treatments. It appears I will be a good candidate for the drug Tamoxifen that I would take for 5 years.
  • The MRI shows no other tumors and lymph nodes appear to be clear from the MRI report.
  • After they remove the tumor, they will text sentinel nodes to check if they have been affected.
  • Treating cancer is a 2-fold process: treating local occurrence and preventing systemic occurrence.

Post Surgery Update:

  • On November 14, 2013 I underwent a bilateral mastectomy with expanders.
  • The tumor measured 1.1 cm.
  • They took 3 lymph nodes and all were negative.
  • The margins were “clear”.
  • They did find some areas of DCIS (stage 0 non infiltrating cancer) – which they got most of, but will plan to take more out when I have my final exchange expander to implant surgery.
  • Second surgery in December 2013 to repair left breast. New expander placed.
  • Hospitalized 3 days December 2013 to treat infection.
  • Oncotype score 19. “Intermediate” (inconclusive results.)
  • Mammaprint result Luminal A; Low risk.
  • Started Tamoxifen January 2014.

Reconstruction Deets:

  • Expanders placed November 2013.
  • Left expander repair surgery, left expander replaced December 2013.
  • Left expander repair surgery #2 April 2014.
  • Exchange surgery June 2014.
  • Reconstruction on exchange surgery August 2014.
  • Nipple surgery and light recon October 2014.

2 Responses

  1. Jennifer, you are so fortunate to be able to express your feelings so beautifully, and with a good deal of humor mixed in! You are one corageous, brave woman to face this head on with such clarity and I can’t help but think that this must be so therapeutic for you at the same time. That warrior you have within you will prevail,big time, and Dennis and I will be cheering you on from the sidelines all the way through this journey! At the end of it all you will be surrounded by so many that you have inspired. Good luck, and much love, Patty Pasquini

  2. J – I am so glad to hear you are so on top of your treatment and your therapies. You have always been blessed with a level-headed attention to detail and organization and this is certainly serving you well now. You are very generous to share your story – who knows how many others of us will find ourselves in your shoes and will know we have a champion in you. I adore you and am proud of you. Keep smiling and keep writing – you are a winner! XOXO Shannan

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