There is happy dancing in the Hall household this evening! I got the pathology report and it was so much better than expected. The cancerous tumor was only 1.7 cm, not 3 cm as originally estimated. Apparently there was a good amount of necrosis, making it appear much larger. Here's an explanation from http://www.breastcancer.org/:
Necrosis in the tumor means that the cancer cells in that area are dead. The pathologic finding of necrosis suggests a fast-growing cancer. This often happens because the tumor runs out of blood supply in the central portion. Without a blood supply, the tumor cells cannot live. When a tumor is necrotic, it may be difficult or impossible to diagnose on a small biopsy, and an additional sample might need to be taken. Tumor necrosis is often focal (limited to a small area) in the region. There are usually living cancer cells nearby that can be diagnosed as cancer using a microscope.
So the tumor was fast-growing, but apparently it was also self-destructing because it didn't have a good blood supply. Body, heal thyself!!!
Four lymph nodes were removed and biopsied. All of them were clear of any microscopic cancer cells. I actually didn't realize that she had taken four, and wondered why the biopsy site incision was almost the same as the tumor incision. Now it makes sense.
We do not have the results of the retesting of the hormone receptors, which I requested as a precaution because the original pathology report indicated "weak staining". The original oncologist said "positive is positive" so I'm not overly concerned about that. But the second testing should confirm the degree of positive and hopefully give some reassurance that anti-hormone therapy will be the most effective course of action after radiation.
With the new information on the size of the tumor, the cancer is now considered to be Stage 1 rather than Stage 2. That is very good news!
I have an appointment tomorrow morning at the radiation oncologist (and will need to reschedule my appointment with the medical oncologist). I believe I will have a CT scan to verify the position of my anatomy and the Mammosite balloon. I have heard that there is a bit of "training" via a video. The surgeon thinks that I will have my first treatment tomorrow afternoon.
And finally, the Oncotype test is due to be completed tomorrow. I sent a fax to the lab authorizing them to release the results to my new oncologist and my surgeon. I will get a call as soon as the results are received.
Oh, and the "mother of invention" may need to come up with a new solution to keeping the Mammosite area dry. Right now, it is bundled up and attached to my tummy in such a way that I won't be able to just slip it all into a sandwich bag. Actually, the doctor suggested saran wrap!!! I'll leave it alone at least until after my morning appointment tomorrow, then I'll reassess the situation. I may take up someone's suggestion for duct tape - it can waterproof anything!
I may actually be able to get a non-chemically-induced good night's sleep tonight!