Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oncology Revealed

Today, Steve and I met my oncologist, Dr. Thomas Ira Sweet. Right away, we were comfortable with him, discussing the basic logistics of Steve and my life together kids, jobs, where we met, what not. Dr. Sweet is funny - truly a great sense of humor. I suppose this will be important as we move into heavier conversations. He has been an oncologist for 20 years and his wife grew up right in San Carlos.

He playfully dispelled some of the misconceptions that we formed after seeing my surgeon. Mainly, that I have had the tumor for three to five years. He says that surgeons have their formulas and that is how they view things. In his experience, he states there was no real way to tell how long a tumor has been in place. (This was later confirmed by members of the support group that I attended at Scripps Polster Breast Care Center.)

Anyway, to get down to the nitty gritty, we learned that my tumor is hormone negative. This is not necessarily bad news, just not exactly as we had hoped, in that it limits the types of chemotherapy that will be effective. Based on this information, we have scheduled my first round of TAC (docetaxel, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide) chemotherapy. We are still waiting for HER2 test results, which could again alter the type of chemotherapy.

He also prescribed a MUGA test, which will test my heart function for a baseline, (while on chemo, there is a potential risk for heart complications). This test is schedule for Thursday morning. Lastly, I am scheduled for pet scan on Monday. The pet scan will tell if the cancer has metacticized elsewhere in my body, which of course we all know that it has not ***fingers are crossed***.

Chemo starts November 30! Wow. It is all so surreal. I guess I better eat a lot of turkey.


  1. I think you are so amazing! (Well I have always thought that) Your strength and determination, is infectious and I know you are going to beat this. You know you have a lot of friends behind you, beside you, wherever you need us to be. :) If you ever wnat to go grab lunch or anything.. you know where to find me.. you are FABULOUS my friend, and I am truly blessed to know you!

  2. Already you are my Hero! I have several friends (only one I consider to be of equal good friendship to you though!) that have gone through this and I have always feared this might happen to me as well, and have wondered how'd I'd be; but now watching you this past week, I think I could be okay...You're kinda paving the way I 'spose! Not that you really want to be that paver! Turning 40 next month has me already scheduling every exam and appt. I can get. Especially being I'm fearing I might could have a tumor of sorts myself...Not sure. Don't laugh, but...I know you'll laugh...I swear I have a tumor on my right butt cheek...ok, you can stop giggling now!I'm serious! Sure, you get the "classic" breast, I get what? "Buttock Cancer?"...Is there such a thing? Either way, it's getting checked! I have felt like a sore-ish knot like feeling in it when I sit down since July. I fell smack on my butt that month trying to help Randy get our new couch out of the back of a truck, so when I felt it about a week later, I assumed it was merely bruised from that...But that "bruise" hasn't gone away, getting a little concerned now! It's definitely on my list of "things" for my Gyn to check out. I just know an ultrasound on it is coming! Already embarrassed, but oh well, better safe than sorry! Anyway, hang in there, you're a trooper! I'm so glad you found that support group, definitely what you need through all this! So keep going!!! You think there's a Gluteus Support Group? XOXOXO to you, Steve, H and M!!!!!! Love, Carrie

  3. Hey Marsi, Yesterday I met two amazing women in my shop. They were both under 40 and had just kicked breast cancer. One of these beautiful ladies had a shirt on that said "hey cancer, you picked the wrong bitch!"
    I got home last night and Frank told me about you. I have to say it hit me really hard. I got so angry! This morning I woke up angry about it! wondering why you! Why is it the "beautiful,giving,loving people"that have to fight these battles?
    I went to Lake Murray and walked thinking of you, bragging about you and sending you strength,love,support and friendship. I have every confidence that you and your incredible family will beat this! You have always inspired me Marsi, now you are blowing me away with your courage. You will be on my mind and in my prayers 24/7.
    If I can find that shirt I'll get it for you.I know you won't were it in public but it is worth a giggle and it's TRUE! GOD Bless You! Hugs to Steve and the kids.

  4. I'm so happy that you've found such a wonderful support group, Marsi. I'm also glad that you've got someone planning meals etc for the family. I was hoping that would happen for you guys. It's difficult being so far away and not being able to partake in assisting you. It's frustrating but I feel much better knowing you are being taken care of. I am so proud that you are grabbing this by the horns, empowering yourself with information and seeking help. Many people would not be so strong. Just know that we are sending you warm thoughts, prayers and love from N. California. We'll be there soon and help in whatever way we can. Hang tough, you will beat this thing. Hug the family for me. Love, Shelley

  5. I heard about you from Ju. Wanted to know that we are keeping you in our prayers and you have alot of prayer support from many people you will never know... For you and your whole family.

  6. LeiAnna BettencourtNovember 19, 2009 at 4:01 PM

    We are thinking of you. Your kids are right. Breast cancer today is much more fightable. New treatments and many treatments are out there. I know, I work at Pfizer and have worked in Oncology for over 11 years. I'll be watching your posts for updates and will keep in touch and updated. You can do it! Always, Lei-Anna, Noah and Dean Bettencourt.

  7. Marsi, You don't know me, but I will be thinking of you and sending you all the positive thoughts and energy I can. Stay strong. You can endure, and you will survive this. I'll be checking your blog. Consider this a big, warm bear hug from a stranger.

  8. Marsi, You may not remember me, your Mom & I played bunco for many years, and we used to go to the river with you many years ago too. But I remember you well. All the years that I have known your parents, we have always talked about our kids. (Of course!) I know many survivors of this nasty disease, and have witnessed the fight with Chemo. It is all worth it. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Much love, Linda Webster

  9. Marsi, you don't know me but I want you to know that my sister-in-law has beat stage 4 lung cancer......through chemo, prayer, positive thoughts and great nutrition. You know how low the odds are for surviving that. She is doing great.....and is twice as old as you. We will send lots of prayers and positive thoughts your way. You can and will beat this. God Bless you and your family.

  10. Marsi, you're in my prayers. Really - I'm not just saying that! Remember, I'm here and available any time you want to talk with someone who's been through some of what you're going through now. Susan

  11. Dear Marsi,

    Please know that I'm thinking of you and the family, and am so, so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! Know that people love you and care about you -- and are sending you love and support! Leanne Maunu