In my mother's health scenario, there is much very good news with a compact side of complexity.
The good news is that we've learned that there is no lymph involvement in her stage one breast cancer. Moreover, her surgery was very successful and they believe they removed the entire tumor cleanly - as they say "with good margins". Really, this is excellent and cause for celebration (!!!!!!)
The complex news is that the cancer she had is classified as triple negative. In simple terms, this means that it's doesn't express receptor genes for various hormones, which means that treatment options, when necessary, are less plentiful than those available to treat "regular" cancers (like there is such a thing?!). Of course, in her case the tumor has been successfully excised - and the entire cancer almost certainly removed with it. But triple negative cancers are more likely, if only on a statistical basis, than the others to move around. The (rather unpopular) gist is that chemo is indicated, in addition to radiation.
Further complex-ifying things is family history. I've mentioned that my - very alive and well - maternal aunt had the same kind of cancer many years ago (when she was in her early thirties) and happily recovered. (She even reads this blog, unlike most of my family members, so she gets a gold star! Hi, L!) My maternal grandfather died of malignant melanoma and other, more distant, family members have battled breast cancer. In light of this, my mum - if only statistically - is in the camp of those with increased likelihood for the BRCA gene mutations (see: Angelina Jolie). Yeah, she's been tested and we're waiting for results. Note: There is a good likelihood that gene mutation will play NO factor in this. Of course, these results are key for my sister and me (and the three daughters we have between us). I do intend to write more on this topic, needless to say, if only to close the loop.
PSA from my mother: Hispanic women have an increased predisposition towards the BRCA gene mutations - like (but not to the same extent as) Ashkenazi Jewish women. So keep this in mind Latin-ladies, as you pay attention to your health and care, but don't let it freak you out.
Let's take a moment here to be reminded of the very good news: tumor removed cleanly. No lymph involvement. This is also a good opp for me to interject that my mother is mega-fortunate to have found a FANTASTIC clinic (like a fancy spa meets space-aged hospital) where I'm sure she is going to get the best care in the
She starts chemo tomorrow - so if you could pull out your positive vibes again - they seem to work so well! - we would be exceedingly grateful. xoxo
PS: Any tips and tricks you may know of, when it comes to managing the temporary side-effects of chemotherapy, are very welcome. Pls. let's talk!