Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Best News!

    I had an appointment scheduled with Dr. Abdallah, my oncologist, for 2:00 pm Monday (yesterday). My friend Carolyn was going to meet me on the 8th floor of the building and I was going to get my oncotype test results. I was excited and terrified to hear the verdict.
    Around 12:30 or so yesterday, I was finishing my lunch when I saw I had a voicemail. It was Yvonne, Dr. Abdallah's nurse, telling me that my appointment was canceled, because the test results had not arrived, and we couldn't determine my treatment without those results. I called and spoke with her. She was super nice and apologetic and said that they were trying to get my results, and as soon as they came in she would call me to get me in to see Dr. Abdallah. I'm like -- well, more waiting! I called Carolyn to not meet me, and texted my sister, and went to my room to watch some TV before taking my afternoon nap.
     At 1:32 -- I just happened to look at the time on my phone -- I got another call from Kaiser. The guy on the phone asked if I was coming in. I said I was told not to come -- that Yvonne said not to. He said yes, but now we have your results and Dr. Abdallah really wants to see you -- can you get here? I said I'd get there as fast as I could.
     I decided not to bug Carolyn. I hopped in my car and drove to Hollywood as fast as I could. Traffic was not bad and I got to Vermont and Sunset by 2:01, but then I had to park, which took awhile. So I ended up getting up to the 8th floor by 2:20. The guy at check in said, "You are Amy! We were just wondering about you!" I explained that I did the best I could and he said it was ok. The nurse called me in immediately and Dr. Abdallah came in my exam room maybe five minutes later.
     Dr. Abdallah introduced herself and showed me the dang results -- I do not need chemotherapy! The oncotype test scores you from 1-100. A score of 30 or higher means that you need chemo. A score of 18 or less means that you won't benefit from chemo. I had a 9 -- very clearly in the no-chemo range. Which was a huge relief.
     I was so scared the score would be in the middle, where I would have to decide if I should do chemo or not. But 9 is good. I don't doubt that score. Dr. Abdallah said that I needed to take tamoxifen for the next ten years, and that I could start it that day. She said that it used to that patients like me would take tamoxifen for five years, but new research demonstrates that ten years is better. That's ok with me. My breast cancer feeds on progesterone and estrogen, so I need to turn off those hormones. So tamoxifen will do that.
    Now that I know that I won't have chemo, I have to get rid of my Mirena IUD. I had been kind of worried about that. But chemo would have put me into menopause, so I figured if I had chemo, then I would get rid of the IUD and wouldn't need to worry about contraception. Now I am not having chemo, but I cannot use hormonal birth control, so I have to figure out what to do about that.
     I am getting the Mirena out tomorrow morning, and the gynecologist is then going to discuss my contraceptive options with me. I can switch to the Paraguard IUD, which doesn't use any hormones, but I don't want to do that.
     This is another example of what a hassle my being breast-cancer-young is. One of the side effects of tamoxifen is a slightly increased risk of endometrial cancer. If I were post-menopausal, then I would know when to be concerned, because if I suddenly got my period, I would know that that was a problem. But I still get my dang periods, so we aren't sure when I would know there was a problem. I'm having a pelvic ultrasound next week, so that we will have a baseline to start with.
     The most common side effect of tamoxifen is hot flashes. I will let you know if/when I experience those! Tamoxifen will also probably push me into menopause earlier. Hey, it's better than breast cancer.
     I left Dr. Abdallah's office and went to the pharmacy to pick up my new ten year prescription. Then I texted some people my good news, and called my dad to tell him. It was super fun telling Dad my good news!
     I got home and called Manic Panic, my hair salon, because I could get my hair done! I was waiting to see if I needed chemo or not. It worked out perfectly, because Nikki, my stylist, doesn't normally work on Tuesdays, but she's going out of town this week, so she was working on Tue to make sure her regular clients could see her. It was meant to be!
     I saw Nikki today -- I was thrilled to get my hair done!! I decided I was done with the platinum, and wanted to get back to highlights. It looks super cute, and Nikki put a little pink in it, to commemorate my breast cancer victory! Gina, my boss, doesn't approve of crazy hair color, and I don't think it will last til Monday anyway, but I do think she'll let it slide just this one time!
     New boob-wise, I'm worried about my right boobette. It doesn't seem to be healing well. More things for me to worry about! I see Dr. Klausmeyer, so we will see what she thinks. I was reading some breast cancer message boards about wound healing, and reading about women who had a lot of trouble with healing. I don't know if Dr. Klausmeyer will be able to do my first saline injection Friday or not. My left boobette is healing well. It'll be fine, I'm sure. I try not to drive myself crazy, but it's so hard not to!
     I'll report back on what Dr. Klausmeyer says Friday. I hope it will be good news. No matter what, I got the best news of all - no chemo!!!

My new 'do! It's asymmetrical -- not sure if you can tell. I love it! I am loving the survivor pink!


Babs said...

Yay for no chemo!! And Yay for new hairdo!!! Love you, Amy, and I'm SO GLAD to hear the good news!!! Huge hugs!!!!!!!

Heather E. said...

this is the best news!!! so so happy!

cpolchow said...

I think your hubby needs a vasectomy!

AMY said...

Thanks, ladies! And CP -- I agree -- I've suggested a vasectomy to my hubby. It's really only fair!

Lynetta Reid said...

I'm SOOOOOO HAPPY for you, Amy!!! Woohoo!!! Love your hair!! HUGS!!! Yes, Todd needs a little snip snip....problem solved!! Love you!!