Breast cancer Round 2: Next (long term) step

Today I saw my radiation oncologist. He was the one in charge of my radiation last time, 11 years ago, the first time I had breast cancer.

This was the scene of my radiation then:

But it will NOT be the scene of my cancer journey this time!

My doctor came in the room and right away said, “You don’t need radiation.”

Since this was what my medical oncologist expected, I didn’t have the rush of relief that I had when she told me I don’t need chemo.

But it still feels VERY GOOD to have that chapter behind me!

No chemo, no radiation as a part of this journey is a real blessing.

This journey started on August 4th (three months to the day ago) with a routine mammogram which led to a diagnosis of estrogen positive, progesterone positive, HER2 negative breast cancer. And that led ultimately to a bilateral mastectomy.

Today was the last of my treatment-choosing doctor appointments.

Even though this doc was then and is still one of my Top Two Favorite Doctors because he’s knowledgable, personable, kind, and compassionate, I won’t need to see him again.

He said the percentage chance of cancer’s returning is the same with or without radiation. My margins with surgery were good. My oncotype score was good. And even the one rogue cancer cell in the sentinel node isn’t a concern because follow-ups years later show the same percentage chance of return of cancer with one or zero cancer cells. So we had one nice visit and won’t see each other again (at all I hope!)

So now I start my maintenance pill-taking part of the path.

I’ll be taking a daily nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor to decrease the amount of estrogen my body produces. The generic name is Anastrozole (brand name Arimidex). I’ll take it at the same time daily—and hope it doesn’t have side effects.

I picked up the prescription today. That pill will be my treatment for several years if I can tolerate it. One reason I chose bilateral mastectomy was in case I can’t. We’ll see. I won’t even read about side effects because I don’t want to implant expectations.

Now, finally, I feel I can relax and move forward.

I’m healing well from the mastectomy. I’m gradually getting more energy. I’m starting to think about the next months and allowing myself to make plans. All of that was on hold.

But now I can think about what I’d like to do and how I’d like to start this new chapter.

This cancer journey chapter has gone just about as well as possible. I’m very, very grateful for that.

And I’m beyond grateful for all of the support I’ve had and all that I have learned.

Big thanks to all of you who have prayed for me and sent good vibes and sent cards and flowers and delivered meals and goodies and have done so much to help me.

And a special thanks to my sister who did SO much for me, more than I can list here. She’s my greatest blessing.

I’ll take this interlude of my life as a part of my growth as a soul. I learn more from challenging times than easy ones. And those challenging times remind me to be grateful for the easy times and the hard times. They remind me to be grateful for ALL times here on this lovely blue planet.

Thanksgiving Day is coming up later this month. But I’m going to be thankful every day.

Life is good here on this hill in Northwest Georgia. You might be able to feel my gratitude flowing to where you are.

I hope you can—and that it rubs off on you even if just a little.

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