Invasive ductal carcinoma

When I heard my doctor say to me, Terri, you have breast cancer, I was immediately numb and in shock. Thank goodness I had Bob there with me, to help me take in those words. The doctor went on and on about various things but I couldn't hear the rest. I remember faking being attentive and concerned.

Eventually I learned that my tumor is small, slow-growing, and estrogen-receptive, which are good things to hear when followed by the words "breast cancer." My doctor recommended a surgeon, made an appt for me and I met with him last week.

Surgery is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today with a lymph node biopsy. They inject a radioactive ink into my armpit and let it lead the docs to the first series of lymph nodes. They biopsy those and a pathologist looks for cancer. Which ever nodes have cancer, they remove. Those that are cancer free remain.

Next comes the actual partial masectomy. The tumor is removed using a wire technique that I am not familiar with but that seems to guide the surgeon where to look for the tumor. The lump is removed, a test is performed that will show a pathologist the DNA of the cells to check for the likelihood of reoccurance, and the lump is painted with four different shades of ink, indicating which side of the breast that the tissue came from. If the ink touches any part of the tumor, more tissue is removed until no ink touches cancer. The very last thing that happens is that a balloon will be placed inside my breast so that I can receive radiation internally. Seeds of radiation are dropped into the balloon so basically I will receive radiation from the inside out!

Then I am stitched up and brought out to recovery. If I can hold down liquids, I am free to go home and recoop a bit. I hear I will be sore on Wednesday some and on Thursday even more but by Friday the soreness will be wearing down.

I am confident in my team of doctors but I would love to ask for prayers for God to guide their hands and minds while they work on me. I promise to come back on Friday and tell you all about it!
Terri Steffes
Terri Steffes

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