Tuesday, March 03, 2009

First visit with the surgeon

Sherrie and I had our first visit with the surgeon today. The most surprising aspect of the visit was his unwillingness to diagnose the lesions as definitively cancerous. The strongest word he used was "concerning." When we stated the the radiologist was "high 90s percent confident," it was cancerous, he said that he wouldn't ever say anything conclusively until after the biopsy because he had been surprised too many times. On the other hand, for most of the interview he was talking as if it were cancer, and Sherrie and I are under no delusion that it's not.

Another surprising aspect was his apparent concern over the lesion in the right breast. It was "concerning," but not quite as concerning as the much larger one in the left. He stated that there are five characteristics of benign cysts, and that since the lesion in the right breast didn't have all five characteristics, he wasn't willing to say it isn't cancerous.

We are scheduled for the biopsy (both sides) next Monday, March 9th, with a follow-up visit with the surgeon on Thursday the 12th. We will get the biopsy results at the appointment on the 12th. The doctor's assistant worked hard to get us an appointment as soon as possible. The first option would have meant waiting probably a week to 10 days longer to get the biopsy results, and she called back and begged for an earlier appointment. We are grateful for her!

We spoke about the different surgery options, and whether or not chemo may be indicated. That former will depend largely on Sherrie's desires (lumpectomy vs. mastectomy), and the latter will depend on the results of the biopsy and surgery. in some cases, chemo will decrease the odds of recurrence, but in other cases, it may not have much of an impact. This decision will be made with an oncologist after the surgery.

That's about it. This will be a long journey, and we can't see the path clearly, but we are happy that we've taken the first step.

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