It sucked enough hearing the diagnosis, but the "plan" was even worse because I know about the side effects. The proposed plan goes something like this: surgery to remove the tumor and a good sized margin of healthy tissue around it, (which would then require removal of the implant for lack of skin) followed by radiation 5 times a week for six weeks. I am unclear about how long I would have to wait and heal before reconstruction.
I am feeling like the kid from Minnesota. I really don't want to take the poison.
Reconstruction sounds mighty complicated, as well.
The Latissimus Dorsi Flap procedure, involves an oval section of skin, fat, and latissimus dorsi muscle being detached and slid around through a tunnel under the skin to the breast area. Blood vessels remain attached whenever possible. The tissue is shaped into a natural-looking breast and sewn into place. If blood vessels have been cut, they are reattached by microscopic surgery to blood vessels in the chest area.
Many breast surgeons like this procedure because the flap is easily slipped around front, through a short tunnel in the skin, and put into position. Generally this procedure produces excellent results with few complications. However, the skin on your back has a different color and texture than breast skin. Also, removing the latissimus dorsi results in some back asymmetry (unevenness in the appearance of your back). Usually, though, back function and strength aren't affected.New statistical prognoisis: 50% chance of recurrence.
I asked Dr. Funk (who I love, if you couldn't already tell) "What if I do nothing at all?"
She said I would have 5 -10 years good years then start feeling some pain after the cancer had spread to my bones.
No offense to mathematicians and doctors, but Damon & I both feel the percentages the doctors quote are all bullshit anyway. Quoting numerical statistics doesn’t take into account individual unique circumstances, or the patient taking action to fight the cancer. After all, the radical mastectomies were supposed to be a 92% guarantee against recurrence.
I am going to stick to this natural plan for 3 months (I did this for 1 month in 2002 and shrunk my tumor by 1/2) and see what I can do to the tumor. I am strong willed and believe my body is resilient.
Quite frankly, I think 10 good years sounds better than a year of hell followed by permanent, irreversible side effects including but not limited to: the fleecing of our finances, lymphadema, scarring, moving muscles and skin from my back to my front (to reconstruct for the second time). That's like replacing a front quarter panel with a tail fin on a 1961 Cadillac.
I feel really good. I do not plan on going anywhere, at least until my suite in hell is ready.