Thankful for choices

My dad visited from Florida this weekend.

And I decided to go ahead with radiation treatment at Emory with Dr. Torres.

But if you’re looking for a radiation oncologist in Atlanta, consider Dr. Adam Nowlan.  Joey and I are so grateful to have his thoughtful, thorough second opinion.  He talked to my breast surgeon, pulled the relevant research and spent an hour with us on short notice.  And he emailed us this weekend with new data, the day it was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

In short, radiation now seems like a no-brainer.  It attacks microscopic cancer cells left by chemo and surgery (and undetectable on scans) and reduces the chance of recurrence by 2/3.  No one knows exactly what my chance of recurrence is, but given that I had residual cancer at the time of surgery, after neo-adjuvant chemotherapy, it’s certainly higher than we’d like it to be.

Radiation can have quite a negative impact on reconstruction.  Oh, well.  As you can imagine, I’m pretty much over breasts, anyway.

This Wednesday, I’ll spend a few hours at Emory for a planning session.  Dr. Torres and her team will mark the areas that will receive radiation – my chest wall, the skin covering the tissue expanders (now deflated) and the remaining lymph nodes.  She suggested scarves or turtlenecks if I want to cover the markings (Sharpie marker and tape?).  I start radiation November 26.

Also on Wednesday, my cousin Kurt tackles a far more difficult treatment for melanoma.  I wish he had even half of the options I do – we are thinking of him and his family.