Bad news at the Riner household
I know this will be long, but there’s not really not a more brief way to let you all know what’s going on. Read it at your leisure.
About 2 weeks ago, Lora went for a routine mammogram and 2 days later received the call we always fear we'll get. It appeared there was a suspicious spot that needed further investigation. Last Monday, October 15th, we went to Tifton for a needle biopsy. We had hoped the spot was only a calcification or thickening of the tissue. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Lora received a message to call her doctor in Tifton on Wednesday and he told her that the spot was, indeed, cancerous. She has Ductile Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) which means the cells are all contained and are not aggressive at this point. This is the same type of cancer she had before and is in almost the same place.
We met with Doctor Joel Johnson last Thursday and he discussed options with us. Since she received radiation before, and the cancer is on the same side, that is not a possibility this time.
Lora had also called the Center for Breast Care in Savannah where she had surgery 13 years ago when she had cancer the first time. The physician she saw before has since retired, but Dr. Elena Rehl had an appointment available for yesterday, October 22 and we went to Savannah bright and early. The doctor laid out exactly what needed to be done and took the time to discuss it with us. Lora will have to have a mastectomy on the side that’s affected, but has chosen to do a bilateral procedure to greatly reduce the possibility of having to go through another cancer diagnosis later in life. There will be sentinel node biopsies done on both sides of Lora’s body to make sure no invasive cancer has moved outside the breasts.
We were fortunate that the cosmetic surgeon who will be handling Lora’s reconstruction had an appointment available yesterday afternoon. We stayed in Savannah and made a day of it to see him at 3:45. Dr. Joseph Campbell (we couldn’t help but think of the soup empire) is the cosmetic surgeon and he took a great deal of time with us yesterday afternoon discussing possibilities for reconstruction.
She’ll be having the mastectomy and reconstruction at the same time. While the surgeries will take all day to complete, there will be fewer follow-up procedures with the option Lora has selected. Additionally, if and when the sentinel nodes come back clear, Lora won’t have to have any chemotherapy. She'll have to spend 3 nights in the hospital. First night in ICU for hourly monitoring of blood flow to reconstruction sites, second night in the step-down unit, and third night in a regular room.
At this point, we only know that the surgery will likely take place within the next two weeks. When we have a confirmed date, I will share it with you. Until that time I would ask that, if you’re a religious person, you pray for us. If not, send the most positive thoughts you can in our direction. We believe God is in control and this has been detected early enough to be gone when the surgery is completed. Healing will take time, but we will be able to enjoy one another for many years to come after this is done.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers,