Here are some thoughts and observations while we await a call from the Oncologist’s office letting us know that a treatment plan has been formulated.

Was our decision to proceed with the bi-lateral mastectomy the correct option to take? Well, let’s list the options:

  1. Stop at the lumpectomy (the second one in less than a year), take Tamoxifen for five years, have a breast MRI in six months, then six months later have a mammogram. The cycle of MRI and mammogram procedures would last five years, or until a cancerous tumor appeared.
    • Diane tried the Tamoxifen and did not tolerate it very well. Then add the apprehension and cost of undergoing a breast MRI or mammogram every six months and it seemed intolerable to us. Plus there was the real possibility that more lumpectomies would need to be performed.
  2. Have the bi-lateral mastectomy and the reconstructive surgery, which should reduce the risk of breast cancer forming in the future.
    • The pathology report from the second lumpectomy showed that there was a real risk of cancer appearing in the near future. We had more than eight years where we did not have the apprehension and worry leading up to the results of the imaging procedures every six months.

Here are some advantages to our situation as it is today:

  • Diane has already gone through the pain and discomfort as a result of the bi-lateral mastectomy and the following breast reconstruction.
  • A lumpectomy will be sufficient to remove the cancerous mass.
  • The existing work done for the breast reconstruction should not be affected.
  • The formation of cancer may have been delayed because we elected to have the bi-lateral mastectomy done pro-actively.
  • The pathology report from the second lumpectomy showed that there was a high risk of two different aggressive cancers forming in either breast and the initial findings so far show the cancer to be a less aggressive type of cancer.
  • In the past nine years there have been advancements in the treatment of cancer i.e. adjustments have been made in the order of the procedures that will need to be done, the drugs used for the chemotherapy and nausea are improved, and there is hope that hair loss can be lessened through the use of cold cap therapy.

The only disadvantage I see is that Diane is eight years older now, which was one of the factors in our decision to proceed with the bi-lateral mastectomy.