The course of treatment was at minimum a right breast mastectomy, ( I was not a lumpectomy candidate), but after much deliberation I decided a nipple and skin sparing bi-lateral mastectomy with reconstruction was the best course of action.
After surgery and lymph node dissection, it was discovered I had a Grade 2 Stage 3 breast cancer with 13 positive nodes out of 37 lymph nodes removed. Cancer cells were also located in the fatty tissue outside of the breast and around the lymph nodes as well as in the duct of the right nipple. The tumor was also a bit larger than expected with an additional offspring tumor. Given the extent of trauma to the breast skin, reconstruction needs to happen in stages to let the skin heal enough. This will require a subsequent surgery. At this surgery, the right nipple that had been spared will need to be removed due to the ductal cancer. Boy was I glad I went the route of bi-lateral mastectomy!
Given the extent of the cancer my risk of recurrence in other areas of the body is upward of 50%. As a result, I will begin chemotherapy treatment this month, April 2018. Prior to starting I will have a pharmaceutical consult to discuss the chemotherapy drugs being used and then a surgical appointment to put in a port. I will also begin endocrine treatment after chemotherapy. My medical oncologist told me to expect my hair will fall out roughly 3 weeks after my first chemo treatment.
Medical bills have already begun rolling in and I haven't even come close to meeting my insurance deductible prior to this so funding will help to pay these bills that have already arrived plus the ones soon to come for the surgery I've already had, medications, testing, treatments, and subsequent surgery.
Other items not covered by insurance, (that I am currently aware of), are travel expenses to appointments, co-payments and ancillary items such as hats and scarves once I do lose my hair. Special bras and an adjustment in clothing is needed given current limitations such as not being able to put my arms above my head.
My needs are time sensitive as many tests and surgery have already taken place with chemo treatment beginning in a matter of weeks.
I am so grateful for any assistance in any amount.
- Stephen Pepe
- Maryann Lee
- Sarah DaCosta
- Scott Sencabaugh
- Robert Surran
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