In the Gray Zone

Shades of gray matter… and more gray – and somehow, a life decision must be made within the gray zone.

Another whirlwind 2 days at Duke Medical with conversations with the entire medical team (individually), long waits (literally hours – Tuesday night til 7:30pm), and gray statistics, meaning, almost no data for my situation DCIS mastectomy with unclean margins). So it comes down to rough statistics guesses and logic/preferences.

During the first appointment, the reconstructive surgeon said that yes, radiation will harden and deform the area, most likely requiring surgery to remove/replace (and yes, drains again!)

The second appointment with the Genetic Cancer counselor gave us little to go on – all data was for lumpectomy and odds of recurrence, not mastectomy.

The third appointment was helpful – the radiation oncologist gave us more ballparks of 5-10% guesstimates and discussed pros and cons of radiation to help us weigh risk/benefit. Of course the risks always include radiation to the heart, lower lymph nodes and lung as a consequence with potential detriment years from now, in addition to the rads changing the texture of the skin and creating new scar tissue.

The Oncology surgeon felt that any of the 3 choices would be ok….re-excision was not an option since they did not know exactly where the margins were and would remove all skin over the breast as a consequence.

And we saw the Genetics Cancer counselor again to discuss Tamoxifen vs. Rads.

Head swimming… we finally decided on Tamoxifen for the next 5 years… and I’m ok with that.  We’ve done our homework, taken our best guess to reduce the odds, and now I get to live again.  And I’m way ok with that too.  Transition back into light exercise, flexibility, healing.

I can get wet (kayaking) and whatever I’m feeling up to.  Smiling is probably the first thing.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Helene Jeanette
    Nov 04, 2011 @ 14:59:15

    Smiles, lotsa smiles from the inside out….love you


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