Today was the day with the surgeon. We did not expect any of the test results to be available for her to review for this appointment, so we didn't expect much hard news.
We were surprised to have her say she did have all the results. Deb's surgeon is Dr. Gia M. Compagnoni, a very attractive woman of perhaps forty with a great talent for communication and establishing a rapport with Deb.
She explained that Deb has lobular cancer in her left breast.
lobular carcinoma (LAH-byuh-ler KAR-sih-NOH-muh)
Cancer that begins in the lobules (the glands that make milk) of the breast. Lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) is a condition in which abnormal cells are found only in the lobules. When cancer has spread from the lobules to surrounding tissues, it is invasive lobular carcinoma. LCIS does not become invasive lobular carcinoma very often, but having LCIS in one breast increases the risk of developing invasive cancer in either breast.
Deb does not have invasive lobular carcinoma. It is confined to the left breast.
There is a six centimeter tumor that cannot be seen by a mammogram, and may have been growing for ten years!!
The size of the tumor places her in the T3 range, but the good news is that all of the other tests, including the MRI on the right breast were negative for cancer. That is not to say cancer cells are not floating around the system, but there is no sign of any problem from the bone scan or the CT scan.
So Deb will have to start chemo right away. This will be monitored for six to eight months. The hope is the chemo will kill any cancer cells and reduce or eliminate the tumor.
It isn't very likely to eliminate it, but if the initial chemo cocktail does seem to work they will experiment with different formulas. The importance of this is that the tumor is so big that the only way to surgically remove it is to take off the entire breast. If it shrinks, the surgery would be less invasive.
Dr. Weyburn is Deb's oncologist. She will meet with him next Tuesday and start chemo right away.
The scan also detected a small 1 centimeter lesion on the liver. Deb will have a liver ultrasound to determine if it is a problem, or simply a cyst.
This is a long slow process but praise God, it appears to be one for optimism. Deb and I were very encouraged by everything today including the visit to the cancer center at NIMC.
I know that all the prayers being offered were heard by God, and we hope they will continue. We are so blessed by our friends, family and the crazy people at COF. Deb tells me now how blessed she feels and how exhausting it is to consider all that lays before her, but with the grace of God and with the strength of prayer, she will persevere.
God Bless everyone.