The surgery to check the lymph nodes took place in July and it went well. Dr. Viscusi was able to remove several lymph nodes for pathology and her initial review was they appeared to be normal. Again, we entered into a waiting period.
The results of the pathology came back and they were negative, in a good way this time! Again, we had much hope that they had gotten the entire thing and Theresa was heading towards recovery.
We met with Dr. Livingston on July 16, 2015 at the University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson. He spent time explaining the pathology report, explaining that we had good margins and explaining what the preferred treatment plan was.
The treatment plan was to have 4 cycles of Doxorubicin Hydrochloride (Adriamycin) and Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). These were to be given once every two weeks. After that cycle, there would be 12 cycles of Taxol. When the chemotherapy was over, there was to be 35 radiation cycles.
Due to the size of the cancer, it was staged as IIA. There were to be several blood tests, along with a heart test before treatment could begin. In addition to the tests, there was to be another surgery to check the lymph nodes for signs of cancer.
We left the appointment with much information and much hope that Theresa would be on the road to recovery soon.
The follow up appointment with Dr. Viscusi rolled around soon enough. We met with Dr. Viscusi at her office and she brought in the final pathology report. It turns out that the tumor was actually a breast cancer, Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. The hormone receptors were tested and they all were negative. Both Theresa and I thought this was a good thing. But we learned that triple-negative, in relation to breast cancer, was not a good thing.
We learned that some cancers feed on hormones in the breast and those can be treated with hormone inhibitors. The triple-negative doesn’t respond to any of those inhibitors. According to Dr. Viscusi, a diagnosis of breast cancer was actually a good thing, compared to the blue cell sarcoma from June. There were many tools available to fight it and she suggested Dr. Robert Livingston, the best breast cancer oncologist in Southern Arizona. An appointment was made for July 16th.