What's next?

The end of chemo is something to celebrate, I'm sure (it will be great to be done with these 3-week cycles of yuckiness), but I'm far from done with my "cancer year".

Here are my next steps back to my "new normal", as one of my doctors fittingly called it:

  1. Totally recover from chemotherapy...my oncologist recommends I wait until 8 weeks after my final chemo treatment before I undertake a new surgery, etc. That is right around the 3-day, so I'm going to wait until after the 3-day for my next step, which is:
  2. Oophorectomy (removal of my ovaries and tubes). This might be able to be a laparoscopic procedure, but since I've had 2 c-sections I may also have too much scar tissue to remove my ovaries and fallopian tubes laparoscopically and in that case it will be an open surgery. Recovery from that is either 2 weeks, or more like 6-8 if the surgery is open. I've decided to do this surgery first, rather than reconstruct my chest as I'm already in "cancer mode" and want to remove all the parts of me that are at high risk for developing cancer due to my BRCA1 mutation ASAP. If they find anything suspicious, I'd be happy to know it sooner rather than later, too. I don't really feel done with chemo until I know that my ovaries are out and were cancer-free. On top of that, I'm already experiencing menopause due to the chemotherapy, so why not just make it permanent (my oncologist said there was a 40-50% chance that my ovaries were not permanently damaged due to the chemo...)? This surgery is scheduled for October 13th.
  3. Breast reconstruction - surgery to put back in tissue expander on right side and hope for no infection this time! I don't know how soon after the oophorectomy this can happen - I guess it depends on which way I have my ovaries removed.
  4. Fill up expander...starts about 2 weeks after the surgery. I estimate I have about 8 weeks of this if I expand at a reasonable but quick pace. 2 weeks after the final fill I would have:
  5. Breast reconstruction surgery (#4 for me!) - remove expanders and put actual implants in their place.
  6. After that, I may then have nipple reconstruction (another surgery, but a little one). Some time in there I will need to have my port removed, but until then I will be having it flushed every 4-6 weeks.
So as you can see, it is good to have chemo done, but there are lots of steps to my new normal!

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