Tuesday, 2 June 2009
Pages 10 - 13
‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things to Do’ is a book by Greg Anderson which I used as a guide to journal what I needed to work through in the immediate aftermath of being diagnosed with Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer. At this point I wasn’t quite sure what exactly was going on. Did I have Stage 3 or Stage 4? Thinking I had Stage 3 I thought people beat this all the time and so can I. Hearing I had Stage 4 made me realize that this would not be so easy.
Quotes from the book will be in italics.
Ask Your Doctor These Questions (3):
Precisely what type of cancer do I have? Inflammatory Breast Cancer. What is it exactly? Stage 3B (next day told it is Stage 4 as it has spread already to the bones and the bone marrow).
Has the cancer spread beyond the primary site? If so, where? It appears to have spread to the arm and gland in the neck. It has metastasized to bone marrow and bones.
What tests did you use to determine this diagnosis? Ultrasound and biopsy; and bone scan and CT scan.
Is there any indication that a second pathology report is needed? No.
*Do not be intimidated by medical personnel or the process. You are the one in charge.
Are you recommending additional tests? What are you looking for with each test? Yes, there will be CT scans to see if the cancer has spread anywhere else. Mugga tests will be done to check the strength of the heart for radiation. The bone marrow will be tested to see why my blood is so low. I will need blood transfusions.
How certain are you that the tests and the resulting diagnosis are accurate? Absolutely certain.
What are my treatment options? Which ones do you recommend? (Record these treatment options in precise detail.) Blood transfusions done February 16, 2006. Doctor is recommending chemo of FEC (Fluorouracil, Epirubicin (Red Devil), and Cyclophosphamide), followed by a mastectomy then more chemo and then radiation. Told all this treatment has changed as I am not Stage 3 but am Stage 4 which changes everything. Now it is no longer curable it is terminal and so therefore only treatable.
What does the doctor studying inflammatory breast cancer at Health Sciences Centre recommend for treatment? Are they all on the same page regarding treatment? All Cancer Care doctors are involved in the study. I need to look into further studies myself.
What is the treatment information on my type and stage of cancer? Initially Inflammatory Breast Cancer Stage 3B; now diagnosed as Stage 4 so all treatment changes as it is now palliative treatment which will include chemo, herceptin and pamidronite.
Whom would you recommend for a second opinion? Dr. Grenier at Cancer Care Manitoba at St. Boniface Hospital.
Is doctor a Board-certified Oncologist? Yes she is.
What are treatment therapies? Chemotherapy (how often) six cycles every three weeks consisting of FEC. Treatment changed as staging has changed, above treatment no longer valid.
Biological response modifiers?
Questions to ask Dr. Grenier on February 15, 2006.
Get A Second Opinion (4)
Dr. Grenier is my oncologist and she is my second opinion after Dr. Gillespie (the breast surgeon).
My oncologist will have the most up-to-date information on treatment options for the type and stage of cancer I have.
*You do not have to accept medical arrogance.