Today is six weeks to the day after my bilateral mastectomy, and it’s the day I saw my medical oncologist to find out the results of the OncotypeDX Breast Recurrence Score Report.
When my medical oncologist came in the exam room, her first words were “Good news!!”
That’s what I was hoping to hear. I felt I would hear that and have been pretty calm for most of the waiting period. But I also knew I needed to be ready for chemo if that was the route for me. My medical oncologist thought it would be. My surgeon (and I) thought not. I’m surely glad my surgeon and I were right!
The short version is this: I don’t need chemo! Woohoo!!
Next I’ll see my radiation oncologist (the same one from 11 years ago, one of my favorite-all-time docs) to get his opinion. My medical oncologist thinks he’ll say I don’t need radiation but she says he knows more about what’s best in that regard than she does.
If he agrees I don’t need radiation, I’ll start Arimidex pills. They’re an aromatase inhibitor. If I do need radiation, those pills will come after radiation.
For you folks who like numbers, my oncotype recurrence score is 13, which puts me at a “distant recurrence risk in 9 years” of four percent. The benefit of chemo is less than one percent. So there is no question that I do not need chemo. The need for radiation is unlikely, but I’ll see my radiation oncologist to discuss it.
I’ll continue to follow the process, listening to the doctors and making decisions I feel are best for me.
Although I’ve had times of anxiety about the process and possible paths, overall I’ve been so much calmer this cancer journey that the last one.
I’m mindful that others don’t get the good news I received today. I’m mindful that all of the prayers and good vibes in the world don’t keep some folks from the very difficult path of metastasizing cancers. I’m mindful that each one of us will die one day.
And I don’t see that as negative.
Our limited time here on this little blue planet is always full of beauty and love if we just remember to look for it.
Difficulties can help us do that.
Difficulties have a way of sharpening our focus.
This particular difficulty, my second round of breast cancer, has certainly helped me see more clearly. And it has let me see how much progress I have made since my first round.
I’m not nearly as prone to fear and worry and anxiety. I’m much more likely to find the good in each day. I’m more likely to appreciate the love and support I have every day, whether I feel good or bad.
I’m much more likely to choose gratitude.
That’s surely a gift!
One that I feel deeply on a day like today.
But also one that’s available each moment if only I pause to be mindful.
Here’s a pause to say yes to what is. And to enjoy the freedom of not needing chemo.
And to enjoy these turning leaves on my backyard maple this morning.
And to appreciate all of the love and support I’ve received from so many of you in so many ways. Thank you all!
No matter what there is always a way to be grateful. And to say yes.
Yes. To fall. To love and beauty. To life on this planet earth.