So I had a second opinion today at the Cancer Partnership in Everett, with Dr. Jiang. I was most interested in his opinion on my chemo options, since my current Oncologist didn't explain things very well. I was very pleased with how the appointment went.
First of all, he actually took a few minutes to talk to me before getting straight into logistics. He asked a bunch of questions about family history and lifestyle, then did an exam. He actually said "you're very healthy". I thought that was ironic. Here I am having a consultation about treating my cancer and the doctor tells me I'm healthy. Go figure.
Anyway, after getting all the info, he gave me his opinion. He agreed with my first Oncologist's recommendation for having the combination of Taxol and Cyclophosphomide (TC). Because of my age, characteristics of my tumor, and my overall health, I'm the perfect candidate. He also told me that this combination is heading towards becoming the standard protocol for treatment in early stage breast cancer, especially in younger patients. He also told me that because this particular combination was studied in Texas (I think-somewhere in the west), it was more widely accepted on the west coast and south west. He said the east coast was still resistant to it because it was new. I thought that was very interesting. I guess you have to start somewhere with every new treatment, and I'm really glad we're given the options here in the NW.
Dr. Jiang also told me that he did not want me to wait until December 29th to start. I said "what about Christmas?" He said "you'll have lots more Christmases, don't wait". Ok... I kind of like that. He also told me I needed a port for the chemo, which was something I thought I wouldn't need with this combination. He told me it wasn't worth the risk of causing damage if an IV slipped, and with a port they just plug you in and you're good to go. That part doesn't really scare me. Everyone I've talked to says it's no big deal.
Here is what my Christmas week is looking like. Monday- Chemo education, blood draw, and a meeting with the financial people. Tuesday-nothing. Wednesday- Port placement. Thursday- Chemo. Friday- blood work and a follow up meeting. Craziness! Even though I've been preparing for this for almost two months, it suddenly feels like it's happening really fast. But like my aunt said, "after next Thursday you'll only have three more to go". When you put it like that, doesn't seem so daunting.
My overall treatment plan looks like this:
Chemo once every 21 days for a total of four treatments. After chemo, I'll have radiation Monday through Friday for six weeks. After that, I'll be on a hormone blocking drug called Tomoxofin for five years. It's the beginning of a long journey...but I've got my seat belt on and am ready for the ride!
Thanks for all of the support everyone! It means everything to me!