We continue with the funny, gutsy, clear-eyed saga of our plucky breast cancer survivor, as she decides between treatment options and chooses which protocols to go for.. Part Two, May 21st:
Here is the scoop.

I went to see my oncologist on Friday afternoon. He gave me all the options and stats. If I do nothing else at this point, I have an 80% chance of having no recurrence. Doing the radiation makes it about 88-90%. And if I do radiation and chemo both, and take Tamoxifen, I can raise my odds to 97- 99%.

I have opted to go for the numbers. He also said that my tumor was 1cm ... right on the border of where he feels that the decision for chemo has to be the patient’s. If it was larger, he would recommend it and if it was smaller, he would discourage it. But I am in the gray zone.

I am starting a round of chemo next week after I have a MUGA scan to make sure my heart is a well-primed pump. Then I will start the chemo. He offered two different regimens. I am going to do the one that is more potent, even though it has more chance of hair loss. It will be done with faster.

The doc agrees and says that I am young enough and without any other health risks and will do well. He also said this is exactly the course of treatment he would encourage his own wife to take.

It will take 4 visits that will take 1/2 hour each time and be three weeks apart. I should finish about the end of July.

I have a high risk of losing my hair, so before I start I am getting it cut really short, and then, at the first sign of any hair loss, I am having a picnic with the kids and shaving it. I do not want the grandkids to be scared by all of this. It will be interesting to see if I do lose it and if it comes back in gray or a new color (it was black when I was born and then turned auburn and then blond when I was a baby). Right now I have no idea what it really is anymore.

I figure that if I do loose it I will save $60 in haircuts and another $25 in hair color. I wonder what I can buy for my garden with that money I might save.

Starting in August I will do 33 sessions of radiation...5 days a week for 6/12 weeks. That will take up the rest of the summer.

Then I will take Tamoxifen once a day for the next five 5 years. After all of this I should be at less risk than I was before I got it this time. What a way to go to avoid it again!!! But it seemed like the choice for me to pick.

Right now I am eager to get it going and get it over with.

I think I am going to take a lot of pictures to go with the journal I am already keeping. Hey.... I might write a book, yet!!!

If I loose my hair I will have Stephen (my artist son) paint those two eyes that all Mom''s have on the back of their heads.

I also am thinking of looking into making a change to the oncology dept. after I am done. I am thinking I might be of more value there with my history and ability to relate to cancer patients.