Carol's Cancer Battle Plan

Me and God, we have a plan.

I made a trip to Cancer Treatment Centers of America--Zion, IL campus this week with my dear mother. After a post-surgical checkup, I was ready to hear all the news about my pathology report and the recommendations of my medical oncologist, breast surgeon and radiology oncologist. The tumor is more aggressive than any of us previously thought, so we need to be proactive. Thus, we have made a new plan, God and I.

Next Monday, August 20, I will have a radical mastectomy to my right breast at CTCA. After a week's recovery, I will return for my first round of chemo (taxotere and cytoxen), followed by a shot of Neulasta, to prevent infection. The two chemo drugs are a new combo targeted just for breast cancer patients. Much milder to the system than the standard, heavy chemo drugs, but still completely effective. I'm still debating about whether to get a Bard Power Port during the mastectomy or use a PICC line.

I will fly in to CTCA every three weeks, arrive at the hospital, have a checkup, get my chemo dose and Neulasta shot, then go to the hotel to rest overnight. The following morning, I will get a checkup at the hospital, and if all goes well, return home that day. This routine will be repeated every three weeks for six cycles. And then, on to radiation!

(NOTE: I will have some side effects with this chemo, like hair loss, muscle and bone pain, neuropathy of extremities, excessive tearing, and fluid retention. The doctors will do everything they can to mitigate these symptoms with pharmaceutical and naturopathic medicines.)

The last chemo dose should be the end of November or the first of December. I'm planning a "Done with Chemo" Party, so check your mail for an invite! Then I'll have a couple of glorious weeks off to celebrate the holidays with my beloved family.

I have decided to do my remaining radiation dosage to the armpit area in Winfield, KS at the Cancer Center of Kansas. They have a good reputation and I'm familiar with the folks there. That will be five days per week, for three to five weeks.

After three to six months of rest and recuperation, I will then be ready for the next phase, reconstruction. I haven't made any definite decisions on this, because I have the luxury of time. I may choose to have a prophylactic left breast radical mastectomy and reconstruction to both breasts, or remain as I am. Dr. Aaron Pelletier, my CTCA plastic surgeon, is a pioneer in the field of Free Flap, or DIEP/SIEA flap reconstruction. It's very delicate micro-surgery, but uses your own tissue, with no implants. Something to think about.

I am at peace with these decisions and ready to begin fighting once again. As always, I covet your prayers. Without you beside me, I could never be as brave as you all find me to be.

Psalm 34:19-22 (KJV) Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.

Carol's Health Philosophy: This is my body and I am in charge of it. I'm not turning my body over to all these doctors. I will know everything I can about my case and this disease, so I can fight with all my might! God and I together make a pretty awesome team.

NEXT WEEK: Why go all the way to Chicago when there are great hospitals in Kansas?


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