...and that's good news!
I had a follow up appointment with "my" breast surgeon who is very knowledgeable and pleasant. She quotes results from recent research to help me arrive at some decisions, which really help. Of course I go home and Google all of it later, but it is refreshing to have such a communicative doctor who includes her patients in the decision making process to such an extent.
Anyhow, I like research studies and enjoy the austere language in which they approach such dreadful subjects as "should we remove your breast now or not?"
In short, we are not yet considering surgery, mainly because there is a diffuse mass disappearing in my breast and the chemo-hormone-therapy is working slowly but surely.
Besides the life-long consequences of taking out the main lymph nodes are not exactly bright and sunshiny, in fact most women don't miss the breast much but the removal of lymph nodes seem to cause all kinds of problems later in life.
I'm keeping all my body parts for now and she deferred decision of surgery to my oncologist or for at least a year. A year. So many of my fellow survivors don't have a year. I may have many, how lucky am I?
Learning many new things
I also learned that some studies are showing that if we take out the origin site of the cancer, my immune system (what's left of it, more of that in a sec) won't "learn" how to combat possible occurrences of the cancer. Yeah, I'm looking forward perhaps too far to remission and recurrence, but I was born an optimist. Not there yet, I know, I was raised a realist.
And the therapy is working, I learned that slow growing cancers such as mine also recede slowly. My own must have started about one to two years back, unbelievably enough, spreading through my bones while I wasn't looking.
Trouble in WBC world
So yeah, meanwhile back in the world of immunity, my white blood cells seem to be stuck in low-key mode and aren't even responding to my week of rest. I mean really?
I can add another "condition" to my collection: agranulocytosis secondary to cancer chemotherapy (say that 3 times fast)
I feel fine, I did run a tiny fever this month because of an increase in the dosage of Ibrance (palbociclib) but I felt "normal", new normal, but normal. Exercised almost every day, got a new Garmin Vivofit 3 to help me stay true. Sleeping fine, eating great especially since my hubby started to lower his blood sugar, we're both human bovines right now eating carrots and greens and other marvelous things.
But back to the White blood cell puzzle, I searched and searched and couldn't find anything else I can do to bump them up aside from getting proper rest, avoiding stress, light exercise, great nutrition. So this Wednesday I defer back to my oncologist for help on that. According to the web there is little to be done except maybe discontinue the cancer meds to let my blood recover, a prospect that terrifies me. Allow the beast to grow again unfettered? Agh, hopefully it won't come to that. We got my hemoglobin up with Procrit and lots of steaks, maybe there's some magic WBC potion? I'm a bit tired of green smoothies, I confess.
Nothing to do but wait. And now you're all caught up!