A timeline of my breast cancer journey from when I first discovered the lump to where we’re at currently.
September 22, 2023 (Day 41)
I received several letters in the mail with various appointments. One letter contains information regarding my first chemotherapy session: a pre-chemo telephone appointment and my starting start on October 5. Before chemotherapy I would need to schedule a blood test 3-7 days prior and have two negative Covid tests 48 hours prior.
The two other letters contain dates for follow up appointments with the oncologist.
September 18, 2023 (Day 37)
I have my first meeting with the Oncologist to discuss my chemotherapy treatment plan. He explains I will have a total of 7 sessions, one every 3 weeks: 3 for Epirubicin & Cyclophosphamide, 4 for Pertuzumab, Tratuzumab, & Docetaxel. After the sessions, I will need to continue the shot for up to a year and Tamoxifen for 10 years. MRI scans will be done after the 3rd and 7th session to help monitor how the tumor reacts to treatment. We also discuss the different side effects I could experience during chemotherapy and how to mitigate them. While I request an appointment to have a Port installed for easier access to veins, it seems likely I will instead have a PICC line. He also put in a request for a full body CT scan to make sure the cancer hasn’t spread to any other areas. My first chemotherapy session should be scheduled within 2-3 weeks.
September 15, 2023 (Day 34):
I receive two letters in the mail with my second biopsy & HER2 results. The biopsy of the lower lymph node was clear so the cancer has at least not spread too far. My HER2 results were positive which makes my breast cancer type Triple Positive (+++). This means it is highly reactive to hormones but thankfully there are many treatment options that can target the cells.
September 11, 2023 (Day 30):
Before I can begin chemotherapy, I have my heart health checked through an echocardiogram. I got to watch my heart beat on the ultrasound monitor as the tech took several readings and images from different angles. There appears to be no issues and the images are sent off to the Dr.
September 6, 2023 (Day 25):
During the my second ultrasound, the tech agrees the other areas picked up on the MRI are cysts, but as a precaution decides to take a biopsy of a lymph node located below the initial positive node. A mammogram was done to ensure the marker was placed properly but took two different techs to get the right angle.
September 1, 2023 (Day 20)
After a week in “How bad is it?” limbo, the Dr explains the biopsy came back positive – 2cm x 2cm ductal carcinoma, grade 2/3, strongly ER & OR +, awaiting HER2 results. Cancer cells were found in the sampled lymph node. There are spots near the lump they suspect are cysts from the MRI scan but want to schedule another ultrasound & biopsy to be sure. We go over the general treatment plan of chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, and hormone therapy. He suggests I get genetic testing done to see if I have the BRCA/PALB cancer gene markers which can affect decisions later on. I agree and have my blood drawn to send off to the lab – results are to be expected in 6 weeks.
August 31, 2023 (Day 19)
First time getting an MRI scan. It’s also my first experiencing having a cannula inserted for the contrast agent and I nearly pass out from a vasovagal reaction. After my blood pressure returned to normal, I have fish oil pills taped to my nipples and listen to the soothing sounds of the MRI machine as it takes several images of my chest before and after the dye injection. The images are sent to the Dr in time for the team meeting.
August 24, 2023 (Day 12)
After a breast examination at the breast clinic, the Dr is concerned about the lump and swollen lymph node in my left armpit. I’m sent next door for a mammogram, a ultrasound & needle core biopsy of the lump and lymph node, and a second mammogram to check marker placements. The biopsy will need to be sent to a lab and await test results, but based on images, the 2cm x 3cm mass is suspected to be malignant. The Dr orders an MRI in hopes it’ll be done before next Friday’s team meeting after which we would meet to discuss the biopsy results.
August 16, 2023 (Day 4)
Made an urgent GP Appointment. The Dr suspects the lump is a cyst but submits a 2 week referral to local Breast Clinic to have it properly checked out.
August 13, 2023 (Day 1)
Woke up in the middle of the night to a sore spot on my left breast and felt a lump. No symptoms indicating it was cancer, so I decide to wait a few days before having it checked out.