Because of my wife Joan's diagnosis of breast cancer and the subsequent surgery, etc. my posts to this blog have been a bit sporadic and will probably be so for the next little while. Thanks for your understanding and patience. Merv.
September 1st, 2005
Here’s the latest on Joan.
The surgeon had a meeting late last week with his committee (microbiology, oncology and surgery) to discuss Joan’s case. The consensus was that rather than proceed with further surgery (which would delay radiation treatment by several weeks or a month) they recommended that Joan start radiation therapy now, 5 days a week for 6 to 8 weeks plus systemic therapy. The committee felt this should eradicate the remaining cancer cells. Meanwhile, Joan has been having a lot of pain with the huge hematoma and the surgeon drained 90cc’s of fluid Wednesday. Joan has now been referred to an oncologist and we are waiting for a call from the Cancer Clinic, which should be next week. The last couple of days have been rough for Joan but she seems to be much better today and hopefully this bodes well for the days to come. We hope you have a great Labor Day weekend. More updates later. Merv.
August 22, 2005
We met with the surgeon today and he reviewed the pathology report from Joan's surgery. The sentinal lymph node contained cancer cells and was an indication that the cancer had spread away from the original tumor site and he felt further surgery will be required; but he wanted to discuss Joan's case with the breast cancer specialists at a meeting this Thursday, Aug. 25th and will call us to confirm the next steps after that meeting. The surgeon also said that Joan will definitely require at least six weeks of radiation, five days a week and undergo systemic therapy such as tamoxafen. Thanks to all for your wonderful support. Merv.
August 17, 2005
Joan had a clinic appointment with the surgeon today, Aug. 17th. He removed the drainage tube that has been causing a lot of pain, but unfortunately he still did not have the pathology report back; however he called us a short while ago to say he had a “verbal” confirmation that she has Ductal Carcinoma with only one of the lymph nodes involved. (A condition called "atypical hyperplasia" occurs when abnormal cells of the breast cluster. As these cells continue to divide rapidly, changes or mutations can occur in the cells and they can form what is known as "intraductal cancer" or "ductal carcinoma in-situ " (DCIS). Carcinoma in-situ stays "in place" from where it started and has not spread to other areas of the body).
Joan’s cancer has been classed as stage two.
We have another clinic appointment next Monday, Aug. 22nd. The physician will review the pathology report with us and confirm the type of Ductal Carcinoma (there are several types) and the initial treatment. At the very least Joan will have to go on a course of radiation plus systemic therapy and the Cancer Clinic has already been called to arrange this.
It looks as if the cancer has not spread beyond the right breast area which is certainly hopeful news.
I’ll update this post after our next clinic appointment.
Email me at: Merv Sheppard
August 15, 2005
Joan is resting comfortably at home now. During the surgery for a partial mastectomy of her right breast the surgical team also removed the relavent lymph nodes. A drainige tube was sutured into her armpit area and this will probably be removed early this week. We still do not know the type or extent of her cancer and hope to learn more during our appointment with the surgeon scheduled for Wednesday, August 17th. I'll update this post regularly. Merv.
Email me at: Merv Sheppard
August 8, 2005
I haven't been able to publish regular posts here for the past week or so and probably won't be doing much this week either. A little over a month ago my wife Joan received a report that her yearly mammogram showed a suspicious mass. She then had a biopsy and we learned last Thursday that she has breast cancer. She's been fast-tracked for surgery; the pre-surgery clinic was today and she will have the operation tomorrow, August 9th. So as you can see I'll be busy and away from the blog. Thanks for your patience.