I think the Oncologist appointment went really well. It was off to a great start just for the fact that it wasn’t the normal waiting period that you get at the RHH. Everyone knows when you have a specialist appointment at the RHH that you generally have a minimum 45min wait from when your appointment is actually booked for. Today was not the case! That in itself was as exciting as winning a major jackpot at the pokies!!.
The Oncologist was lovely and I left feeling that she had really considered everything that had been going on with me and my Health up to this point (in all honesty this was the first time throughout this whole experience that I thought I was considered and we weren’t just going ahead because the text book said that was what was required). I also had confidence in her as she had advised that she had weighed up options, decided on a treatment plan to start and then discussed it with other health professionals that she regularly meets with to gauge what their thoughts were also. WOW!
Considerations were made around the grade of cancer that was found, (early high grade), my age (quite young), I found the lump (11cm), grade 3, HER2 Negative, Lymph nodes were clear, Positive for both Progesterone and Oestrogen, remove my medical history (loads lol) for this scenario and all details were entered into a database. This then came back with graphs for suggestions around treatment courses and survival rates of those previously treated. Endocrine therapy was the treatment with highest survival rate and adding chemotherapy with the treatment only gave an additional 2% survival rate.
So the decision made was that I wasn’t to have chemotherapy even though I was originally advised it would be necessary. I was happy that the Oncologist had said straight out in her words that she believed it would kill me! She advised that there was no possible way that they could guarantee that I wouldn’t contract some type of infection that may have the potential to be lethal given my current circumstances. She advised that her fellow physicians had basically begged her not to give it to me and to look at alternative medical treatments. Considering the minimal benefit and the fact that I wasn’t really open to the idea anyway I was more than happy with that outcome! Having since walked away and having the time to think about it more clearly, would you really want to go through what I believe to be a very harsh treatment causing you to be horribly unwell for weeks/months at a time for an additional 2% increase in survival rate! That definitely does not fit with quality over quantity.
I had the opportunity to discuss some of the questions that Brett and I had come up with and some of the alternative therapies we had researched. Oxygen therapy seemed to be quite unknown. Vitamin C infusions she didn’t believe there was enough research to compliment them as a treatment but had known a patient that had firmly pressed for the treatment and had it done on the mainland but with not a lot of success and quite a lot of side effects. Cannabis Oil she believed didn’t have enough research to support any allegations on being the cancer cure that some claim. Although she believed that it may assist with some of the side effects that are caused by different treatments i.e nausea, pain etc but said she hadn’t been aware of it being used and believed it was very hard to come by. I guess if wanting to look at more alternative treatments we may need to seek these outside of Tassie. I didn’t discuss other facilities as I was extremely happy with her as a physician so thought for now I would happily stay on this path.
So my outcome for now is starting endocrine therapy (hormone blocking) with tablet based Tamoxifen (this can be 5-10yr ongoing treatment depending on how my body reacts). So once a day tablet! Easy to add that to the 30 other tablets I have a day for CF and it doesn’t appear to be anything. I was to then be referred to the genetic specialists for further testing in hopes we can find more of a reason as to why this may have occurred and likelihood of reoccurrence. If a genetic mutation is discovered BRCA1 or BRCA2 or other identified mutations than this will assist with what we may need to do further. Is surgery required for a more drastic way to stop hormones such as removal of ovaries, double mastectomy etc. Perhaps start injections that stop my ovaries from working and then see how my body reacts to that before taking the more drastic option of removal. I had an appointment booked for genetics the following week but would take around 4 weeks for any results. Once the results are back we can go from there. Then all the other decisions around prevention and the killing of any other cancer cells that may exist could be discussed. If I had a major reactions with Tamoxifen to get in touch! Easy!!!
Am actually looking forward if I can say that to finding out more about the genetic side of things! I’m however not looking forward to the blood tests (insert sook lol!).