Wednesday, February 22, 2012


No schtick this time.

Ana wants everyone to know that their love (and donations) have made an extraordinarily difficult time a much brighter one than should ever be expected. She feels your support and is very, very grateful for it. She's fed off the positivity and has been ever stronger for it. Thank you. And she needs that continued love and support going forward.

Which brings us to the good news and medium news.

The good news is that invasive ductal carcinoma has 95 to 98 percent survival rate (over 5 years). Add to that the fact that Ana is both strong and committed to her health and you know that the end has already been written — she will live fully and freely after her cancer becomes nothing more than a bad memory. The only catch is that the middle part of the story is still being developed.

Where we once hoped that her intensive vitamin/ukrain regimen would help shrink the tumor, we know now that she needs surgery. The month and week the regimen had to work was simply not enough time. She had always maintained that if the tumor was larger, she'd have to make a decision then about her future course of treatment. It had grown from .7 cm to 1.1 cm in a month, which made her decision about surgery a little easier.

But, here too, there's better news than was originally feared, the medium news, if you will. Originally, as she was waiting for both a MRI biopsy and some genetic test results, she expected that she would have to elect to have a prophylactic  bilateral mastectomy to eliminate recurrence. Thankfully, her genetic tests (called a BRCA) came back with the news she didn't carry the specific gene AND her MRI biopsy (which the radiologist called the most difficult of her career) was successful, eliminating the possibility that other "troubling" spots are malignant. SO...That leaves us with the original cancer, which despite its growth is still very small ("a speck" according to the surgeon), and the opportunity to take it out with a lumpectomy with radiation.

Again, radiation isn't the first choice (nor surgery), but there may be quicker radiating options and the possibility of chemotherapy is still remote, according to what we've read.

Which brings us back to her initial approach. Regardless of its efficacy (which we still don't know -- it's entirely possible it slowed the growth more than it would have grown otherwise) on the cancer, her regimen was VERY positive for her overall health. It will continue to pay dividends as she recovers from surgery and radiation.

Her surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 28 (this has been updated, originally, it was schedule for Leap Year) at 11:15 a.m. She will know more about her post-surgery regimen tomorrow, when she meets with the radiation oncologist.

Beyond that, she is getting jerked around by Social Security regarding disability, but her employer has been as supportive as it's possible for them to be -- following in the footsteps of her friends who have given her so much love.

I'm sure there are more questions and concerns everyone has, but since there are still some outstanding consultations she needs to have, some of them may be premature.

The most important thing is that we can be confident she'll be OK. We all need to make sure she'll be OK with that OK.