When my family doctor told us it was cancer, that is all I knew. Just that it was cancer. (I still have trouble with this sentence. I say 'it is cancer' not ' I have cancer' ...)
But when I met with the surgeon she gave us lots of information.
This is all that I know about my type of cancer. It's called Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and it's the most common type of breast cancer. 85% of women who get breast cancer, have this type of cancer. What that means is that many have pioneered before me and paved the way of hope. I have much to be grateful for. This type of cancer receives most of the funding in research, since it's the most prevalent one.
Cancer has grades. Grade 1 to Grade 3. (I'm not talking about stages right now, just grades. That tells you how aggressive it is in one's body. Grade 1 being most mild and Grade 3 being most aggressive.) My cancer is a grade 3. It is apparently 'normal' for it to be this aggressive, because of my 'young age'. In younger women, tumors are generally nastier. The good news is, they can be just as aggressive with chemotherapy these days.
The other thing I know about my cancer is that it's estrogen & progesterone positive. Those are good things. They measure the hormone receptors of the cancer cell (Woah, I really sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I? Rest assured, it's all new to me too). If they are positive, like they are mine, that means that the cancer is 'being fueled' by my hormones. The good thing about that is that they can do 2 things AFTER I'm done with my chemo treatment to help it. The first thing they will do is perform a hysterectomy on me. That way no more hormones to feed the cancer cells. Take that cancer!
The second thing they will do is place me on 'hormonal therapy' for 5 years. Now, I sound like someone going through menopause when I talk like that, but that is exactly what it'll be. I'll be going through insta- menopause at 35!! Poor Bradley ... He won't know what hit him.
The third thing I know about my cancer is that it's HER2 negative. That is something I don't completely understand, but it seems to be a good thing having your cancer be HER2 negative. Something about this being positive would make this cancer harder to fight.
Lastly, I had a biopsy on one lymph node done, while they did my breast biopsy in the hospital. It came back. It was negative. I jumped for joy. That was good news. Even though it doesn't mean that it has not travelled to my lymph nodes (after all, they only did the biopsy on one single node) it is still promising to hope that maybe, just maybe, it hasn't made it's way down to my lymph nodes.
Which is a good thing. The lymph nodes hang out in stinky armpits. Who'd want to travel there?