breast cancer, life, Uncategorized

Subtypes and Subtext

I had a three month check up with Dr. H yesterday. Considering it hasn’t been all that long since I saw her, there really wasn’t much to check up. The lumps in both foobs feel the same. The radiologist told Dr. H he is confident they are, as he told me, oil cysts and fat necrosis. She wants to see me again in three months. By then, I will have (finally) seen Dr. L for my follow up and will know what his recommendations are regarding the lumps and what surgeries he recommends, if any.

The only new thing that came up yesterday is I asked Dr. H to go over the final pathology report with me again because neither she nor Dr. O had gone over the report’s addendums in depth with me. Dr. H got most of the addendums after she had called me with the initial report. Dr. O had gone over with me the addendum that revealed the cancer left behind was ER positive. There were two other addendums, though. I wanted, needed, someone to explain to me what everything meant. So, Dr. H sat with me and walked me back through that last pathology report.

Most everything was what I already knew. What I didn’t know was that the pathologist reported there was a definite response to chemo based off the tissue, which I knew since the HER2 cancer was gone, and the addendums confirmed there was absolutely no HER2 cancer found in what cancer remained. The cancer that remained was a slow growing ER+ that typically does not respond well to chemo but responds really well to drugs like tamoxifen….and AR+ cancer.

AR+ isn’t really it’s own subtype. There’s some interesting research being done on it, particularly with triple negative breast cancers that are found to be AR+, but AR+ is just a side note for me because, for me, being AR+ changes nothing. I was HER2 positive. I am ER+. Dr. H said this is nothing to worry about and is actually a good thing. For my subtypes of cancer, treatments exist that are effective, and I’ve had them all, or are on them now. I absolutely believe her.

I see Dr. O in a couple of weeks for my 20 week check up, and I plan to ask her to explain the AR+ in more depth, but ultimately, it changes nothing. I’ll still be on tamoxifen for another year. I still need an oophorectomy. I’ll switch to armidex after that, and God willing, I’ll be on armidex for ten years (provided I don’t lose my health insurance because of the new Congress and their zeal to yank health protections away from us, but that’s another post…).

Somehow, Dr. H gave me some peace of mind yesterday. I’m not sure what, why, or how, but she did. Now, if we could only figure out how to help my ankle, foot, and heel aches, and if we could figure out how to help me sleep.

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