(Me doing the BRCA gene test)
March 13, 2015 we went to the hospital to meet my surgeon, Dr. Hank Hill. He was everything I hoped and prayed for in a doctor. He looked me in the eye, took time with me, kind, sincere and very caring. I brought a list of questions and he answered them one by one.
I was assigned a nurse navigator, Ruby, who would be with me throughout the whole process. She, too, was kind and caring.
My diagnosis was Invasive Mammary Duct Carcinoma. Stage one. One centimeter in size. It was caught very early. The cancer is fed by estrogen.
I took a BRCA gene test. Mine was by collection of saliva, but there is also a blood test. This test uses DNA to identify mutations in either one of the two breast cancer susceptibility genes – BRCA1 and BRCA2. Should this be positive my treatment would be a whole different scenario.
My treatment plan: return to imaging center to get the last two years of both right and left breast mammograms, meet with the radiation doctor and meet with the chemotherapy doctor. Should the genetic test be negative, I would have a lumpectomy of the left breast and removal of the sentinel node under my left arm. If that sentinel node test negative surgery is over. Should it test positive, more nodes would be removed. Dr. Hill examined the nodes under my left arm by touch and could not feel any swelling. If the nodes are not involved, it will be an outpatient same day surgery. If the nodes are involved, I may have to stay overnight. If the nodes are not involved, I may just have to have radiation 4-6 weeks everyday. If my nodes are involved, chemotherapy would be necessary. Also, there is a chance I would need hormone therapy based on the genetic results.
I was given a book on breast cancer and a binder to store and organize all of my paperwork. It was full of useful information.
Dr. Hill asked about my mammogram history. I actually had to do some research. I kept all of my results in a folder. My first and second mammograms were both irregular! Why didn’t I remember this?! This was eleven years ago. Breast cancer was not a factor in our family yet. My Mom was diagnosed in 2007. This was 2004 and 2005. It made me question if the cancer had been growing that long even though diagnostic mammograms were negative.
In my next post I meet my radiation oncologist. Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me!