Today we met with Dr. William Gradishar at Northwestern Memorial to get a second opinion on my course of treatment. By all accounts, he's the leading breast cancer specialist in the Chicago area and one of the top breast oncologists in the nation (just check out this publications list). My oncologist recommended I see him simply because my case is such a borderline situation. So it isn't that I don't trust or agree with my oncologist; he's smart enough to recognize the value of additional input and referred me to bigwig in the field (part of why I like this guy).
Anyway, Dr. Gradishar agreed with our treatment plan and said he would recommend the exact same thing: chemo with a 4-round course of TC, radiation, and Tamoxifen (hormone therapy since the tumor was hormone responsive). This was very reassuring, obviously! On the one hand, it's good to hear from the top expert in your particular health issue that he/she would do the same thing you're planning. It's also nice to not have the waters muddied, so to speak, by that person recommending something else or casting doubt on the course of treatment. All in all, I was hoping for confirmation from this meeting, and that's exactly what I got!
Another bright spot was that the word "cured" was used in the conversation, and it's a relief just to hear it. According to the doctor, for all intents and purposes I am "cured" right now since the tumor was removed cleanly and entirely, and my lymph nodes were negative. Of course, systemic treatment is still crucial to prevent any microscopic cells anywhere in the body from growing, but he said I'm at "the good end" of the scale, and this is likely "a bump in the road." Always a nice thing to hear!