I sent this out as a personal email to many of you, but I wanted to share with my whole MPIP family.
In my last update, I was expecting a call any day to go start the Ipilimumab trial in Montreal. Well, the call still hasn't come. Apparently there's some bureaucratic hold-up with the IRB (Internal Reserarch Board). Dr Mihalcioiu had decided on July 15 that he would use my lung and breast tumors as a baseline to measure progress, so on July 28 I had an ultrasound and x-ray to record the starting point, assuming we would start within the next few days. Everything seemed in order.
However, within the next few days, I developed a huge golf ball sized lump on the side of my breast and it was quite painful. My family doctor, Marie O'Dea, put me on an antibiotic and pain killers on Aug 4. The next day, the lump broke open and discharged a lot of the infection, and I've been having to continue to drain it twice daily ever since. (Talk about gross!!!) I saw my oncologist, Dr Rorke, and radiation oncologist, Dr Norman, on Aug 9, and both recommended a mastectomy. (I had already emailed Dr Giacomantonio in Halifax, and that was his recommendation as well.) Apparently, the centre of the tumor has died, and the necrotic (dead) tissue has become infected. The only way to get rid of it is to do a mastectomy. A lumpectomy is not an option, as the tumor mass has now taken over more than half of my breast, and is over 10cm in diameter -- bigger than a baseball.
So on Aug 10, I saw my surgeon, Dr Pace, who concurred with the other doctors, and put me as high priority on his OR list. Tomorrow (Monday) I will have my pre-op tests, and the mastectomy will be done on Thursday. He will also excise most -- if not all -- of the 10 tumors on my leg. They're not causing any trouble, but if they're gone, I won't have to worry about them. I might as well get the best bang for the buck on the general anesthetic. I'll be kept in hospital overnight, and discharged the next day.
I've been trying to come to terms with the mastectomy. I don't mind the fact that I have to have surgery, and if it was just to have another chunk taken out of my leg, it wouldn't bother me a bit. But the thought of losing a breast is a very personal thing for a woman, especially with my generous endowment. But the alternative sucks, so it's a no-brainer, and I just have to suck it up.
Meanwhile, the way things are going, I expect I'll have the surgery and be fully recovered by the time Montreal gets its act together with the Ipilimumab trial. So that treatment is still on the horizon, just delayed for a bit. Say a prayer for me Thursday.