Part 5: Treatment Plan
We got to my surgeon's room at 9 am for an appointment. She informed me that the team (my oncologist, plastic surgeon and herself) had met and have decided that I need to take an “Oncotype DX test”.
The Oncotype DX test is a genomic test that analyzes the activity of a group of genes that can affect how a cancer is likely to behave and respond to treatment.
The results of the Oncotype DX test, combined with other features of the cancer can help you make a more informed decision about whether or not to have chemotherapy to treat early-stage, hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer or radiation therapy to treat DCIS.
I was also told that 2 lymph nodes were taken out and one of them had cancerous cells. My Dr changed my bandages and said I was healing very well. I started to feel a bit faint and dizzy in the Dr's rooms. So they escorted me out in a wheelchair to my mother's car. I got home ate something and felt better.
The next appointment was with my plastic surgeon Dr Pienaar, who had a quick look at my breasts, was happy with where I was at and said that next week he would start pumping up the expanders.
My next appointment was the scary one at 2:30 pm. We got there an hour early. My oncologist sensing my pain from my surgery and that I seemed to be having quite some discomfort sitting in the position I was in, asked me if I would prefer to lie down in the chemo room. He assured me it really wasn’t that bad, but I refused.
Finally, the time came to go in. I could sense from his demeanour that he was about to deliver some horrible news. I asked about the Oncotype DX test and he said, “Look Dani you are young, you have the BRCA2 Gene which puts you at risk for an 80% higher chance of getting breast cancer and it returning, your tumour was also 1mm away from your skin so even though your breast surgeon took out as much tissue as she could, it’s possible that a few cells weren’t taken out and could be floating around. Your cancer is also grade 3 which is an aggressive kind and was found in one of the lymph nodes we removed. in my professional opinion from years of doing this and seeing similar cases like yours, Chemo is the safest bet to annihilate any cells that might be floating around that we can’t see with the dye or tests. We might be chasing ghosts but it’s better to be ghostbusters and rather be safe than sorry. Your chance of remission would be higher.”
I sat there quite numb, it just kept coming! I didn’t cry, I walked out of there stunned. Moment by moment it sunk in. I spoke to some amazing friends in the car and they reassured me it was temporary and my hair would grow back and it’s a small price to pay for my life. My mother was more in a state than I was and let out a huge “FUCK YOU Cancer!” In the Car.
We got home and called my friend Jenny from Turkey, my saving grace through this whole ordeal. Jenny is the most positively hilarious friend who also happens to be the bravest survivor I know. She truly is an inspiration! We met in Israel, I was staying at a friends apartment in Tel Aviv and she was staying with his roommate. I was feeling quite low and depressed around this time, I guess just a bit lost. Jenny would walk around the apartment topless with scars across her chest and I thought WOW this girl has got some balls! I admired how confident and comfortable she was in her own skin. She had the most incredible energy and I had to find out her story. She told me how she survived breast cancer and refused to let it steal her passion for life, her strength, her Joy and laughter.
If they told her not to eat sugar and eating sweets made her happy, she ate them anyway! If they told her not to party like a rockstar on Chemo, but it made her happy, she would party till 6 am anyway! When the doctors told her "I don't know what you're doing, but it seems to be working!" she said, "I'm doing what makes me happy and living my best life!" She told me that only after surviving breast cancer did she learn the ultimate lesson of what truly loving herself unconditionally meant. Jenny brought the sunshine into my life on that trip to Israel and gave me my Joie De Vivre back and I am eternally grateful to her.
She always knows how to make me laugh even when I'm about to cry. She is a total tonic and and my mother and I laughed hysterically on the phone, as she told us funny stories from her breast cancer experience.
My mother never imagined she would be laughing today, and just like that things started to lift. We started to change our perception and that night we googled wigs till about 2am. We decided we were going to shop for wigs and have fun doing it!
Love & Health