When first diagnosed, one of my initial questions was regarding my staging. Staging is 0 – 4, with Stage 4 being the most advanced cancer. I was given a rough estimate of my clinical stage but I was informed that it wouldn’t be definitive until after all of the scans and tests were complete. Today I learned that I am, as expected, Stage 3. One of the main reasons for this staging is because of the cancer being present in my lymph nodes.
I also learned that I will be restaged pathologically after surgery. This restaging is a bit more important because it occurs after the more aggressive treatment and surgery. It is anticipated (and hoped!) that my staging would downgrade significantly at that time. After surgery, I will undergo targeted radiation therapy 5 times a week for 6 weeks and I will continue one chemotherapy drug until September 2016.
In other news, the angry redness that has covered my tumor for the last month or so has significantly lessened. This is incredibly exciting to me because when this journey first began, there was no redness. After my biopsy, the redness seemed to spread quickly and intensify over the weeks that I awaited my initial treatment. I’m happy to see it beginning to soften! My lymph nodes are slightly less inflamed now, which is great because they are no longer painful. The tissue around the tumor is also beginning to feel a little softer and the tumor a little smaller.
Before beginning treatment, the doctor informed me that I would begin to feel a difference between the 1st and 2nd treatment. Actually being able to see and feel a difference is incredible. At first I wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me but having the doctor confirm it made me smile brightly. I know there is still a long road ahead but progress is being made. And that is something to celebrate!