Months To Years Summer 2018 MTY_Summer2018_v7 - Page 23

I knew I had to understand what all this information I soon learned that a ki-67 of 10 percent or lower, at least meant with regard to my life. This was no longer about in early breast cancer, would indicate slower rather than discussing some book in book club, this was personal. aggressive growth. So <10 percent would be good news on a pathology report. Fifteen percent is heading into Unlike patients in decades past, I learned from the biopsy not-so-good territory and higher than that, the numbers results that the lump was cancerous before going into just get more worrisome. It was the “greater than” sign that surgery – so I had a little bit of time to wrap my head scared me. Did it mean 16 percent? 20 percent? Or was it around that. worse than that? How much worse? My oncologist, Dr. S., decided to dig deeper and do additional tissue testing to I also knew details about the size, location, and type of get a clearer picture. tumor. I learned about various other tumor and genetic marker results and options for advanced targeted When the results were back, he phoned and asked me therapies for my particular cancer. to meet in person. I knew what was coming. I dreaded meeting with him. With no lymph node involvement, I I also learned about ki-67, a nuclear protein present in was originally scheduled for just radiation after surgery, very low levels in quiescent cells (those that weren’t causing but my ki-67 percentage warranted a more aggressive any trouble). Put simply, the ki-67 number revealed how recommendation: the addition of chemotherapy to my fast the tumor was growing. It revealed how bad the post-surgical regimen. Much like hearing the cancer NLMF (that’s my technical term that stands for nasty little diagnosis, it was one of those “stop the world, I want to get motherf*cker) could be. Mine was listed as >15 percent. off” moments. But no one could tell me exactly how much greater. Or how bad >15 percent was. At that point, I had no context. The prescription was a cocktail of two drugs, Taxotere and Cytoxan, in six treatments with three weeks between So, it was show time and the choice had to be made: treatments. It is known as one of the more tolerable chemo lumpectomy or mastectomy? After consulting with my cocktails. I was told I might feel like I had a mild flu for a cancer surgeon and reviewing survival statistics, I chose few days after each treatment, then completely recover lumpectomy. S