Follow-up Appt with Breast Surgeon

Ed, Gracie and I had a great time in Pensacola!  We really didn’t want to come back to Atlanta but knew we had to.  I had an appointment with the Breast Care Specialist (or Surgeon) Monday morning at 9:00 a.m.  That appointment had been on the books for a while, but I was trying to figure out why I had scheduled it for that date and time.  What was I thinking?  The first day back from vacation; a Monday morning; and at 9:00 a.m.  Painful.  But I recall that I had to see her before my 4th treatment (which is tomorrow, Wednesday the 8th) and she had limited times available.  Thus, we made it work.

So, Ed and I were off bright and early Monday morning.  We checked in and fairly quickly I was in a robe and sent to another waiting room to wait for an ultrasound.  Ed had to wait in the main waiting room with the rest of the men.  The room I was in was filled with women in robes.  No men allowed.  I was called in for an ultrasound fairly quickly.  That didn’t take too long and then I was escorted back out to the waiting room to wait for the doctor’s visit.  Ed would be called back once I was led to an individual room.  A couple of things I noticed in the waiting room:  (1) I’ve pointed this out before in a previous post, but I was still one of the youngest, if not the youngest, woman in the waiting room.  I was also the only woman with a scarf i.e. without hair.  Interesting.  I did see one BAD wig.  Not sure what all that means, but just an observation I thought I would share.

From there it was a little frustrating.  Weeks ago when the appointment was scheduled, I asked how long I should expect the appointment would last so we could appropriately plan for childcare and Ed’s time away from work.  The person on the other end of the phone told me two hours.  So the planner that I am, that is what I was counting on.  Oh no.  How about 4 hours plus.  I read a lot of magazines and caught up on all of the celebrity gossip.  Ed was in the other waiting room watching Kung Fu Panda that we had recently downloaded to my iPad for Gracie (he had time to watch it twice I might add).  Anyway, after a lot of waiting (which we were not completely prepared for) I was finally called back and Ed joined me in the room shortly thereafter.

The doctor joined us and we finally were able to get down to business.  She showed us the original ultrasound (remember that was from March 15th the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer) and the new ultrasound from that morning.  The tumor is clearly not as dense as it was and is not as big but is still very there.  The news while positive – it is getting smaller, the chemo is working – was not as specific as we were hoping.  We both thought we would walk out with a specific number.  For example, it has decreased abc percent or it is now xyz cm.  We wanted something quantitative.  But that was not the case and apparently not unusual.

We talked a lot about surgery and next steps.  Surgery will take place about 4 weeks after the last chemo treatment.  She did say we could add a few weeks to that time period if needed, but not before, and not too long after that.  She wants to be sure my blood counts are back to where they should be before surgery but also does not want to give the tumor time to grow again.  I think the phrase she used was “we want to strike while the fire is still hot.”  So I am estimating we will be doing surgery the end of August, early September.

A lumpectomy is not the best option for me.  At a minimum, we will be doing a mastectomy, but more likely we (Ed and I) will decide a double mastectomy is the best choice.  We still have a lot of research to do and thankfully some time to decide.  But personally my head still is there at this point.  We did get referrals on plastic surgeons that I will begin to schedule consultations with to talk about reconstruction options.  From what I have learned, there are a few reconstruction options for us to consider.  It’s a very interesting world and one I know little to nothing about….but am about to learn.

We also learned that there is another doctor that exists that we have yet to meet – the Radiology Oncologist.  That’s the person that will tell us whether or not I will need radiation post-surgery.  While I will do what I need to do, please pray that I don’t need to do radiation!  We are planning to meet this doctor pre-surgery in hopes he/she can make an early call on whether or not I will need radiation post-surgery.  But based on the little I know, I am not sure the official call will be able to be made until surgery or post-surgery.  It’s worth a visit.

So in general, it was a positive appointment.  The tumor is shrinking and we have the information we need to start meeting, researching, and making decisions around surgery.

Tomorrow is chemo round 4.  I have to say I am not looking forward to it at all.  It’s not the actual appointment I dread – it’s sort of relaxing time in a weird sort of way – but it’s the terrible weekend I have ahead of me.  I will be happy when this 4th cycle is behind me and I can say I only have 2 treatments left.  It just sounds better to me than 3!  I am trying to keep my eye on the end goal.  We are getting closer!

As always, thanks to everyone for the cards, gifts, meals, texts, emails, posts, positive thoughts, and support.  We need it and appreciate it all!  Lately I am really starting to feel like it is even more of a mental game than it was before.  I think I am just over it and ready for it all to be over.  I will keep everyone posted over the next few days.  I expect it to be similar to the previous chemo cycles.  But we shall see.  Here we go again…



  1. Nicole Ballone Penson says:

    You go girl! So glad I can follow you on this site. Obviously, you are doing well! We went thru this with my mom all last year – she actually did ok with radiation, and she’s the type to get sick from everything! My girlfriend Marla Nilson (married to Tech football alum Rodney) went thru all this 2 years ago at age 38. She contemplated and DID exactly what you guys are considering – double mastectomy – she wanted to minimize any chance of recurrence. You are a strong woman, and I love the scarves better too! You look like a rock star! Hang in there sistah!

  2. Silvia Burgoon says:

    Meredith, this IS good news…i’m sending postive, happy thoughts and prayers for an easy-peasy weekend of nothing but rest and relaxation with Ed and Gracie, Love you!

  3. So happy the news continues to be good – it is going to be a long process, but it certainly sounds as though everything is heading in the right direction. We continue to think about you every day – sending mega-watt positive vibes your way! Just wanted to mention that with all the patients that I have had who have had to deal with chemo and radiation, they all say radiation is MUCH easier – usually a little fatigue, and that’s pretty much it. It’d be great to not need it, but if you do…whatever it takes to get back to your real world. Looking forward to seeing you Monday – hope you’ll have an appetite!

  4. Wendy Mangum says:

    Praying for strength and stamina Meredith!

  5. Mary Johnson says:

    Will most certainly pray that you don’t need radiation! Keep up that amazing spirit and sense of humor!


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