ONE, TWO, THREE: MASTECTOMY
As my boyfriend and I waited in Dr. Michelle Blackwood's office, we read the results of my post-chemo MRI and mammogram. To our amazement, they indicated "There is no significant residual enhancing mass in the left breast" and "No significant mass is seen." I was ecstatic! I've read that triple negative breast cancer can respond so well to chemotherapy that it could actually disappear; I thought maybe I wouldn't have to have a mastectomy or surgery at all! To my surprise, Dr. Blackwood still recommended a mastectomy, given the fact I had two tumors in one breast, accompanied by other cancerous cells that made their appearance in the first MRI. Dr. Blackwood wanted to ascertain the removal of all cancerous cells; post-chemo imaging doesn't guarantee the demise of all cancerous cells. I was shocked, scared, disappointed, horrified; so happy the cancer has shrunk, still feeling abandoned by my body. I bombarded Dr. Blackwood with questions, leaving sad and perplexed.
My second opinion was from one whom I have a special place in my heart: Dr. Jan Huston. Her bedside manner is exceptional; she diagnosed me on November 3, 2014 then gave me her cell and home numbers so I could call her with questions. I felt treated like a person by Dr. Huston, not like just a body, which comforted me. After reviewing my post-chemo results, Dr. Huston felt comfortable recommending a lumpectomy with radiation most likely to follow, agreeing to do a mastectomy if that's what I prefer.
The tie-breaker was Dr. Deborah Capko at Sloan Kettering Hospital who, after viewing my post-chemo imaging, said she would only do a mastectomy. Dr. Capko clearly and efficiently explained my circumstances, which clarified everything for me. I left Dr. Capko's office with the decision to have a mastectomy, relieved that this determination was done.
Dr. Michele Blackwood performed my mastectomy on April 16, 2015 at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ.