Forget what we’re told

Today was the day I had the news about me that I neither wanted nor was really expecting. After all, most of the conversations up until that point had been about a surprise that my tumour was anything but benign in the first place, and certainly the node biopsies had been negative.

But no.

I knew before the consultant said what the results were – because he asked me if I had anyone with me today. “Uh-fecking-oh”, I thought. “Here we go.”

Apparently, my results were thus:


– T2, Grade 2, size 2.5cm (1 inch).
(That’s not tiny, but it’s not that big in the scheme of things, so that’s good)

Margins clear and no lymphovascular involvement.
(That’s very good, apparently, since it’s less likely to have carried cancer cells elsewhere and it means that I don’t need to have any more removed from my breast)

HER negative – (herceptin negative – so no markers for more aggressive cancers found)

ER positive – (e.g. oestrogen receptive, so will respond well to hormone therapy)

“Ok,” I thought. “So far, so good…” 

Lymph nodes

– 3 out of the 4 taken were clear.

BUT tests showed that the sentinel lymph node (the one most directly connected to the breast and therefore most likely to become cancerous) had indeed got cancer cells in it.

What does it mean?

It’s now a numbers game. The oncologist plugs all the results into and then interprets the results.

Because I’m young to have cancer (pre-40s) that means that if I opt to only have radiotherapy, my prognosis for getting more cancer in future is greater – with about 64% chance of being alive after 10 years. Yikes!

But with combined chemo (FEC and Taxotere) and hormone therapy as well as radiotherapy, the numbers look much better. 84% of people alive after 10 years.

Plus, with the HER negativity I’m told that improves these numbers by about 5% so we’re looking at around 89% of patients remaining clear of cancer after 10 years.

I like those numbers much better. So it’s a bit of a no-brainer in terms of what I have to do really for the next 6-8 months:

1) Chemotherapy in cycles of 3 weeks @ 4 weeks of 75mg/m ² of FEC and then 4 cycles of x 75mg/m ² of TAXOTERE

2) Hormone therapy (Tamoxifen)

3) Another op to remove the remaining lymph glands in my left arm

So there was I, sat in the hospital on my own, feeling a little bit sorry for myself. But actually, this has been a bit of a shite few weeks for many other people so I should shut up really since I have my chance to fight.

What is it with this last few months and bad news? Yesterday I heard that a friend of mine not greatly older than I am, died this weekend. Her other half came to see me today and I was nearly in bits seeing him so sad and yet so calm telling me about how she’d been struggling the last weeks and he showed me his wedding ring; they had got married on Saturday.

So let me just say this. I do appreciate what I have. I am alive, with family and friends who love me and with a lot of people showing support for me. I will fight, and I will come through. And I will remember those who haven’t or whose loved ones haven’t.

Big hugs to you all. xxx

We’ll do it all
On our own.
We don’t need
Or anyone.

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Lyrics from Snow Patrol