On 3/26 (Weds) we visited the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care.  We went not because we were worried about the quality of care that I have been receiving in Hartford, but because we live about 1.5 hrs away from one of the top cancer research centers in the world.  This is especially true for research and treatment of breast cancer in younger women.  Dana-Farber has an entire program dedicated to breast cancer in this specific demographic, providing treatment, support for some of the unique challenges facing younger women, genetic counseling, and research.  Being this close to this level of facility really meant we should take the opportunity to go and see if they would have a different treatment plan or even some trials that I would benefit from joining.

Simply put Dana-Farber is amazing!  The facility is beautiful.  The location is Boston, and we LOVE Boston.  The Doctors are some of the best in the field.  The people are so very kind, from parking attendants to reception, to nurses, to assistants, and everyone in-between.

We arrived rather early for the appointment so we were able to scope out the facility a bit, the cafeteria was nice, the gift shops were great, the Friends Place shop sells hats, wigs, and all sorts of things that help to manage some of the affects of chemo (I picked up a couple of hats).  The main lobby has live music throughout the day, all in all they work very hard to make it a place that fosters healing and streamlines the process of treatment.

While we were there we had an appointment with a breast oncologist (Dr Morganstern) and breast surgeon (Dr Dominici).  We really liked both as they took a good amount of time to answer our questions and present us with several options for treatment, including the pluses and minuses of each.  What we learned is that there’s really four different protocols for breast cancer treatment.  Two protocols have surgery first and two have chemo first, but the key point is that the results of all four as basically the same.  Because of the early staging of my diagnosis the treatments are highly successful with low numbers of recurrence.  There is a randomized trial running at DF that I would qualify for, but Dr Morganstern did point out that because the protocols are so successful there may be little to no difference between the medicines.  We received some good information and feedback about the treatment plan that our Oncologist in Hartford is proposing.

Even though Dana Farber is an amazing center and the care would be superb we are seeking treatment in Hartford, knowing that we can go to DF if things change or we stop receiving the same level of care.  The shorter distance was a large part of this decision, that and feeling a strong connection to each of the Doctors we have met with in Hartford.

Up next is the post about our treatment plan!

Love, Hope and Laughter!!


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