As the new year starts I cannot really say I am looking forward to 2011, I am however looking forward to 2012. Never in my life have a I wanted a year to fly by like I want this year to. I will not mind being a year older, I am encouraging Father Time to go ahead and push the fast forward button to New Year's 2012.
I have had a wonderful holiday. I spent Christmas with my family in Florida and am looking forward to leaving for Steamboat on Thursday. This time with family and friends is exactly what I need to gear me up for the challenges ahead of me.
Last week I was able to make a number of decisions that put a tentative timeline into place. I made my final decision on an oncologist, surgeon, and radiation oncologist. I will be using Dr Hellerstedt, the same oncologist that my friend Beth used; Beth is now in remission :-). I have also chosen Dr Jane Nelson as my surgeon. Both Hellerstedt and Nelson focus specifically on breast cancer, and come highly recommended, so I feel like I am in the best hands possible.
I have also met with a fertility doctor to explore freezing my eggs. Since my cancer is estrogen driven (supposedly the best kind of breast cancer to have) they will need to lower my estrogen levels and shut down my ovaries for 5 -10 years. Freezing eggs is not 100% guaranteed but at this point it is serving as an insurance policy if I ever want to have little Natalies running around, Lord help us all :) There is a distinct possibility that I could go into remission after a couple of years and come off the estrogen blocker for a year or so and have a baby the old fashioned way but since there are no guarantees I have decided to freeze some eggs just to be safe.
This decision has caused controversy with some of my family and friends. Some feel we should not delay treatment (this really only causes about a 10 to 14 day delay) and others feel it is "playing God" and not morally right. I have prayed and prayed about this and I am completely comfortable with my decision. My oncologist is fine with the delay, she would not be as comfortable if it takes two to three months to harvest the eggs, but the 10-14 day delay is not a concern to her. I am only willing to give it one shot, if they are not able to harvest on the first try I will not try again.
In regards to "playing God" I feel like these harvested eggs will only become usable and turn into to a little baby or babies if it is God's Will. If I am able to get pregnant the old fashioned way, in a couple of years, that too will be God's Will.
So on to the treatment timeline. Right now we should start chemo around the last week of January. I am looking at six rounds of chemo administered once every two or three weeks. After chemo I will recover for three weeks before surgery. Hopefully the chemo will melt the tumor and make surgery much easier. After surgery I will recover for another three weeks before starting radiation. Radiation will be everyday (Mon-Fri) for six to seven weeks. So it looks like I should be done by mid-July if all goes according to planned. So bring it on 2011 I am ready for you!
Thanks again for all your support and prayers I am truly blessed to have each and everyone of you in my life.