Pre-pathology

It’s the evening before the morning of the follow-up visit since the op and a conversation about the pathology results. After a good day of work and a lovely late afternoon walk through autumnal Greenwich park, I broke the golden rule of ‘no internet searches’ and looked up the different meanings of estrogen, progesterone, HER2 and other things that are likely to come up in conversation tomorrow. This was mainly prompted by a letter I picked up from my mailbox sent by the London oncology centre, talking about my first visit there on the 30th October.

I already knew that the cells were estrogen positive which apparently is a good thing as they can be treated with hormone therapy. According to Dr. Cleator and her report of the biopsy and our conversation, it tested strongly ER positive (8/8). I suppose this is even better news? Still in the dark about HER2 status and quite frankly confused about that one. On one hand various sources say that HER2 positive means while the cancer is more aggressive, it can be quite specifically treated with a certain drug. Sure HER2 negative is better meaning less aggressive? I suppose all will be explained tomorrow.

Is someone going to launch an introductory course to acronyms, meanings, diagnoses, positive thinking and everything else that is necessary to navigate through all of this? Maybe I should in the coming weeks.

I watched another episodes in the series of Victoria Derbyshire’s video blog which was promoted on BBC Breakfast this morning. I have seen a few people  on forums bitch about her first post which basically belittled mastectomies to some extent but I found it inspiring and it took the fear away from me pre-op. Yes, the tone was a little cheerful and too much along the ‘this is a peace of cake’ line but the intention was good. The latest blog shows her undergoing her very first chemo wearing the ice helmet I’ve been researching and talking about over the last few days. She looks pretty cold and complained of headaches due to the cold on her scalp. Let’s see if it works on her going forward – apparently there are mixed results as with everything but definitely worth a try. The second post was much more authentic and heartfelt. I’m glad she’s sharing her experiences and I wish her all the best. I guess I will be only two weeks behind her with those treatments.

The day started with less soreness than yesterday and definitely much less tonight. The last dose of paracetamol (lunchtime) must have worn off by now and all feels good. Much more mobile with my left arm as well. Looking forward to having the various parts checked tomorrow to make sure everything is healing according to plan. It feels like it is. In the meantime, there’s always time for more rainbow vegetable juices!

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