pathology

So much of Cancerland seems to be in a foreign language where you need a PhD to navigate through it. Pathology reports are the best example of this.

I got results back on Wednesday and I have just been sitting with them, processing them, and trying to decipher them.

Overall, my doctors are pleased. The results came back not necessarily bad, but certainly not great. I had a good response to chemo, but I couldn’t get all I needed. So because of that all 3 of my tumors came back positive, although they were significantly smaller. The best news of the path report is my surgeon was able to get good margins! This means no cancer cells are seen at the outer edge of the tissue that was removed.

My lymph nodes are the nasty part. They are the crazy SOB’s that have all along made me advanced Stage (III c) and caused all the worry. When the cancer spreads outside it’s original tumor and spreads to the lymph nodes they are now in the bodies “highway” to go hog wild on a joy ride. My surgeon removed 25 lymph nodes. 25!!! Again, here is where I go overachieving. Most people in the axillary (armpit) have 15, I had 22. One of these came back positive. She removed 3 nodes from my infraclavicular (under the clavicle) and two of these came back positive. My nodes also had “external extension” meaning they spread outside the node. See….show offs! This is a gut punch. These infraclavicular nodes have been the lump in my throat worry this entire time. They make me high risk for reoccurrence and my case trickier than most.

So what does all this mean: It doesn’t really change much. It stresses the importance of radiation and for me to get that started as quickly as possible, and hormone therapy. Since my cancer grows off of hormones we have to send signals/shut down those from my body. I will be taking Tamoxifen (a pill) for 10 years to keep those hormones in check. Hello hot flashes! I was re-staged to Stage II, which is the first time in my life I’m escatatic to be getting lower at something!

Radiation is what I go to next. I have to be able to hold my arm above my head for 30 minutes for them to do the mapping. Post surgical instructions are that I can’t lift my arm above shoulder height for two weeks, so I hope to be able to do mapping by week 3 or 4 at the latest. I will keep you posted on where we decide to do radiation. We had decided to stay here and not got to Houston, but that may be back on the table. I will need 33 daily (M-F) treatments, so 6.5 weeks. Holy sunburn!

I am continuing to recover amazingly from surgery. My docs are very pleased with my wounds and healing. I am looking forward more than anything to having my (4) drains removed on Wednesday and being able to take a long hot shower. I am like a Mama duck with all these babies. I haven’t taken anything at all for pain since Wednesday and every day I wake up a little less sore. Sleeping is hard, so I spend the night rotating from my bed to my borrowed zero gravity power recliner and I have been enjoying cat naps during the day while the kiddos are at school. Overall, it’s all been so much better than I ever could have imagined.

Garrett and I are planning on a F U cancer and 10 year wedding anni trip in October to Greece. It’s been a fun distraction to dream of, plan for, shop for my new gravity defying boobies, and light at the end of this dark ass tunnel.

So much love has been poured in to me the last week and I am so grateful. All the smiling faces that have stopped by and the sweet gifts and treats that have arrived have made me so happy. A super special thank you to my Mama, Miss. Angie. This woman is incredible. All the time, but especially now. She truly missed her calling as a nurse and has been taking unbelievable care of me and my entire family. Thank you so much Mom, you are the true definition of a selfless eternal nurturer. I love you!

Santorini-Greece

8 Comments

  1. Renee Thompson
    May 21, 2017

    Sweet Erin,

    Sometimes we have no words that can describe what we feel inside our heart. This is that moment. My heart overflows with love and grace for you! I agree with you, your Mom is a selfless eternal nurturer. I remember her that way as well. With love, Renee

    Reply
  2. sue
    May 14, 2017

    Love you Erin and you are always in my thoughts!!! I loved hanging with you the other day!!! So fun. You are doing great and amazingly strong!!!!

    Reply
  3. Linda
    May 13, 2017

    Erin, downgraded wow, awesome! Happy Mother’s Day! You do have an awesome mother. I’ve known her practically all my life. Y’all are so fortunate to have one another! I keep you in constant prayer.
    Lots of love,
    Linda Chaffin

    Reply
  4. Scott & Julie Cruger
    May 13, 2017

    Erin, we are so impressed with your bravery and “matter of fact” attitude. We continue to pray for you and your health and that your family, namely Angie, continue to hold up and be your strength when your not feeling quite as strong as you want to be.
    Have a blessed Mother’s Day. You, your mom, and the rest of us have so much to be grateful for.

    Love,

    Your friends,

    Scott & Julie

    Reply
  5. kirsten
    May 13, 2017

    thanks for breaking it down for us. shout out to Angie ~ she’s as good as they come for sure. downgraded is amazzzzzing!! keep on rollin’, mama! ALL the love.

    Reply
  6. robin kiggins
    May 13, 2017

    ouzo and saganaki here you come!!! and you do have the best mama, you two are the perfect gift for each other. love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu x031939482910847 million.

    Reply
  7. Peggy Verner
    May 13, 2017

    Downgraded to stage 2. Bitchy little nodes gone. Fantastic surgical healing and losing drains this week. A mom who would walk through coals for you and yours. I’m so amazed by your strength and “badassery”!
    I love you, Erin❤️
    Peg

    Reply
  8. Becky
    May 13, 2017

    Erin,

    We are rejoicing with you that you are now down graded to stage 2!! We pray for you every day. You are on our minds and in our hearts – always!!! We pray that radiation will take out the rest of the cancer. Greece sounds wonderful!!! That is a beautiful way to celebrate your anniversary and your healing. We love you!!

    Erich and Becky

    Reply

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