There isn’t much left to say when bad news hits. You sit there in a steal motion freeze waiting and hoping for words to come. But, your mind is empty and your heart is swallowing itself. You breathe in and then out because that is about all you can do. You function. Keep moving because you have too.
Thats the way life works. It hits you like a flat tire and you either have the choice to pull over and fix it or keep moving while damaged. In my life I have always chosen to stop and fix that flat tire. It’s only a bump in the road right?
But, how many bumps do you have to hit before your walls fall? Before everything you fear comes to light?
Mom finished her chemo and was planning on moving on to a double mastectomy come September 20th. It was an emotional but hard choice. She was told that if she went with a double that her chances of needing radiation were lowered. My mom doesn’t want radiation because in her mind the risks outweigh the good.
When you have radiation there are massive risks, and with the tumor being so close to my moms heart I can see why she would be hesitant.
With radiation the side effects could come years after treatment. The radiation technician could accidentally hit her heart and we wouldn’t know it. That’s the crazy part it is actually common for “side effects to show up late.” I put that in quotes because everywhere I read it says something to that effect. They say it like its no big deal. To me radiation is very scary. I wouldn’t want to go through it but, I guess, if I had to I would.
Other risks of radiation include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Shortness of breath
- Breast or nipple soreness
- Shoulder stiffness
- Cough, fever, and fullness of the chest. This is known as radiation pneumonitis and happens between 2 weeks and 6 months after radiation therapy
- Radiation fibrosis, which is permanent scarring of the lungs from untreated radiation pneumonitis.
There are pros to having radiation done as well. With a skilled technician and with proper modern technology, radiation can be extremely effective at destroying cancer cells without damaging surrounding tissues. It also has the ability to shrink tumors down for conjunctive treatment and stimulate the body’s own immune response to fight tumors. Meaning that it has proven effective alongside chemotherapy with the proper technician and technology. However, how will mom know how good of technology and technician she has?
I bring all of this up because of my moms choice to have a double mastectomy and reducing the chance of needing radiation. Because with the other option, a lumpectomy, you will need to have radiation no matter what.
However, when my mom met with the radiologist on Tuesday, she was met with bad news, we all where really. She went in with a happy mindset and hoping to get some answers in case she had to have radiation after her double mastectomy.
That is not the news she got.
Come to find out her cancer team, which is made up of Dr. Ries the oncologist, Dr. Campo the surgeon, and the radiologist, met up prior to her appointment to discuss my moms next step in treatment. They were disappointed that her tumor didn’t shrink completely with chemo, which is what they were hoping for. Instead it only shrunk 50%. The fact that it shrunk is good but the fact the it didn’t go away isn’t the best. If that makes since. My mom has a large tumor and an aggressive cancer which makes all the more difficult to fight.
They told her that no matter what she will have to have radiation if she is going to beat cancer. The exact thing she wanted to avoid. The doctors said that it would be best for to have a lumpectomy and after the surgery do a biopsy.
If the biopsy is free and clear of cancer we praise the Lord and move on to 33 radiation treatments. However, if the cancer cells remain, it means chemotherapy all over again, then radiation, and a possible double mastectomy.
Right now there is nothing to say, I am in stunned silence. We have to sit and wait like ducks until the results of the biopsy. Lets all hope for the best that the lumpectomy takes care of it once and for. Lets hope for healing and restoration. May the worst not happen.