Just in case there is anyone out there who hasn’t heard, Cotton and I received the best possible news of all this past Sunday. I was still in the hospital recovering from the mastectomy and reconstruction when in walks our general surgeon, Dr. Markus. Now, if you have reconstruction at the same time as the mastectomy, your primary care doctor during your hospital stay becomes your reconstruction doctor. Since Dr. Markus was our general surgeon, we weren’t really expecting to see him during the hospital stay. But hey, this guy is cool and we love him to pieces so his unexpected appearance was a treat. I figured he was just stopping by to say hello as he was dressed in Sunday casual – that is, gym shorts and a T-shirt. As it turns out, he was there to deliver RED LETTER news – he’d receive the pathology report from the surgery.
For those who aren’t aware, most women who have breast cancer will have a sentinel node biopsy at some point in time. This could be done as a separate outpatient procedure, with a port installation, or with the lumpectomy or mastectomy. When the sentinel biopsy is performed all depends on the individual circumstances. In my case, we did 22 weeks of chemo first and so the sentinel node biopsy was performed as part of the mastectomy. The sentinel node is sort of the guardian to the lymphatic system in the body. If cancer is trying to spread, you’ll find it goes first to the sentinel node and then reaches out its nasty little roots to the lymph glands trying to infiltrate other organs. As a part of the biopsy, Dr. Markus took not only the sentinel node but a few of the surrounding lymph glands, breast tissue from my “bad” cancer infected breast and some tissue from the good breast as well. His initial review of the tissue during the surgery looked good but of course, the pathologist is the proverbial fat-lady and no one says tissue is clean until they hear from pathology. Dr. Markus was reviewing his email and heard from pathology and decided that such outstanding news couldn’t wait for Monday.
EVERYTHING was clean! No cancer was found in the sentinel node, lymph glands, or in the breast tissue. In fact, pathology didn’t even find residual dead cancer cells in the affected breast! Totally clean, cancer free pathology report! I think Dr. Markus was as delighted as we were. I managed to ‘jump’ up from the recliner (well, jump might be an exaggeration), give him the equivalent of a hug, and kissed him on the cheek (keep in mind that I’m doing all this in my quite delightful hospital gown – I hope my backside wasn’t showing!).
This was the best news we could have received and the news we’ve been waiting to hear. It goes without saying that this walker I’m on for a few days during recovery is rolling on air!
So, mark the day on the calendar and write it on the wall – September 15, 2013 – NO cancer cells found anywhere! Thank you to all who’ve prayed and loved us through this journey!
I’ve talked before about Red Letter Days on this journey called cancer – you know days like the day when you were first diagnosed or the day
© 2013. Mary Kyle. All rights reserved.