I met with a breast surgeon, she was very friendly and knowledgeable and I really liked her. She explained to me my options:
Lumpectomy: I could have an outpatient surgery where they would remove the tumor and some of the surrounding tissue then I would have to undergo radiation and chemotherapy.
Unilateral Mastectomy: This would be a one night hospital stay and the surgeon would remove the breast that had the cancer, I would not have to go through radiation, and possibly not have to have chemo because we caught it so early.
Bilateral Mastectomy: This would be a one night hospital stay and the surgeon would remove both breasts, I would not have to go through radiation, and possibly not have to have chemo because we caught it so early.
Unilateral Bilateral Mastectomy with Reconstruction: If you opt to have either of the mastectomies you can have either immediate reconstruction – where they will begin the reconstruction process at the time of your mastectomy, or delayed reconstruction, which means at any point you can go back in to begin the reconstruction process.
As a single 35-year old woman, the lumpectomy was the least invasive and most appealing. However, given my rich family history of breast cancer, and the fact that we have a couple “repeat offenders” (women who got breast cancer more than once), I knew that I couldn’t make up my mind on emotion, rather, I needed to let science make up my mind for me. I was still waiting for the BRCA results to come in.
After much prayer and meditation, I decided that my treatment would be this: If the BRCA test was negative, which means it was pretty unlikely (but not impossible) that I’d get breast cancer again, I would get the lumpectomy.
However, if my BRCA test came back in positive I would have the bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. Because I did not want to have cancer again and put my son and the rest of my family through this nightmare again.
The surgeon informed me that there was no plastic surgeon on staff at the hospital where she operated, so if I wanted immediate reconstruction she would have to refer me to a different surgeon/breast center. We discussed hospitals in this area (DC-metro area, so there is no shortage) and I settled on the Breast Center at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland. I asked if she could give me the referral and I could make an appointment and then just cancel if the BRCA came back negative, but she noted that I’d be able to get in within a week of my diagnosis for a consultation and then have surgery within a week of that. So, I thanked her and I left … I should have gotten that referral before I left.