Radiation All Done! – November 18, 2015

Last Friday was my last radiation treatment. It was a little bittersweet, actually – you get into a rhythm, going every day to see the same technicians.  I am happy that it’s over, don’t get me wrong!  The technician said that the way my breast looks now, after 5 weeks of treatment, is what most women’s breasts look like after a week. I’m blessed that I tan very easily. I also have tremendous sympathy for those women:  if this was week one and I was facing 5-6 more weeks of treatments, I’d be wondering how to get through it. My breast and armpit were extremely sore all weekend, and now they don’t hurt, but itches like crazy.  Makes sense – essentially I got a burn, and it’s turning into a tan (which is what happens with me) but in the meantime it’s itchy. So if you see me rubbing my breast or armpit, well…you’ll know what’s going on!

I got to keep the mold. The mold kept me in roughly the same position every time during treatment. I surprised the technician when I got excited about being able to keep the mold. I don’t know what I’ll do with it, but for now it’s a cool keepsake.

I’d wanted to keep my head shaved until I was done with chemo, but I’m letting it grow out a little. In order to stay bald, Ted needs to shave me at least every other day. Now that I’m feeling better and life is returning a bit back to normal, it was just too hard to find time to shave my head every other day. Right now the hair is a super cool length – like peach fuzz. I’ve had people ask if they could rub my head, to which I say “of course!” because I do it all day long myself. I’ll probably try to keep my head buzzed, at least, rather than shaved. It’s still pretty cool.

I’m still pretty tired from radiation. Today was the 3rd day of full time at work, and I’m pooped. At least tomorrow and Friday I work only half days because I have an appointment with Dr. Priya (tomorrow) and chemo on Friday. I got my blood draw on my way home and Dr. Priya already released the results. Unbelievable, my magnesium is 1.6! It hasn’t been this high for a while. I’d read somewhere that drinking soda could lower magnesium because the phosphates in soda binds with the magnesium. I thought what the heck and am trying to drink less soda (I am a Diet Coke addict). Who knows whether drinking less Diet Coke is what’s helping or just feeling better in general, but the magnesium level is going in the right direction.

What about my favorite topic, diarrhea?  Well, I still have it. It’s not every day, and usually not terrible. I noticed that if I forget to take a probiotic pill, I have diarrhea the next day.  Who knows what’s going on, but if I can stop the diarrhea by taking probiotics, so be it.

With the end of radiation, I feel as if I’m 90% done with my cancer treatment. I have 6 more months of chemo, but it’s only every 3 weeks and the infusions aren’t 6-8 hours long. I also usually feel okay afterwards, which is so different from all the “regular” chemo I had. I think I’m allowed to believe I’m almost done!

 

 

Week 4 of Radiation Done! – November 9, 2015

Things are moving right along!  I finished week 4 of radiation with no difficulties at all.  I finally saw Dr. L on Thursday (he was busy Tuesday and Wednesday) and he told me that I’ll actually only need 25 treatments.  This means that this week is my final week of radiation!  The time has actually flown by, all things considered.  I really do think that Dr. L was able to increase my doses because I’m tolerating the treatments so well.  I don’t have any burns whatsoever; other than feeling more tired than normal (and feeling like I could take a nap any time), things have been “normal.”  Exciting!  I feel that when radiation ends, I’m 90% done with my treatment.

I mentioned in my last post that I hadn’t had to take any Imodium for almost a week. Well, I spoke too soon.  Almost as soon as I hit “Publish” I had diarrhea, and it didn’t really stop until today. I decided to take Imodium when I go to bed which helps the diarrhea in the mornings. I did contact Dr. S (GI doc) but I haven’t heard back yet. I think that this round of diarrhea is the result of chemo; the only way to test the theory is to see what happens after my next round of chemo. In the meantime, I’m managing the diarrhea.

My joints are sore, which leads me to believe I have a mild case of myalgia, which is a possible side effect of Herceptin. It’s hard for me to move if I haven’t moved in a while, such as driving to work (typically a 50 minute drive) or sleeping. It’s hard for me to take off a shirt, too. I’ll ask Dr. Priya about it again when I see her next week. I’d asked her about it before, but I talked about my knees only.  I can deal with it, but I’ve learned to ask rather than keep silent.

Only 4 more radiation treatments to go!

Week 3 of Radiation Done! – October 31, 2015

Week 3 is in the books!  And thus far still no burns. Just a little redness right after the treatment, which is gone by morning. Last night there was a bit of heat along with the redness, but this morning there’s nothing.

Dr. R told me this week that my treatment will indeed be only 30 treatments, which means I’m halfway done with radiation! Apparently I’m tolerating it so well they’ve tinkered with the dosages so that I’m getting a little more each time, which allows me to have only 30 treatments rather than 33-36. I will be done with radiation by November 20, the Friday before Thanksgiving. I’m happy about this, and hope that I continue to tolerate the treatment as well as I have been. I’ve been lathering my breast with 100% aloe,  at least twice a day, along with an aloe cream that a colleague gave me. Maybe that’s why things are going well – that and the fact that I tend to tan rather than burn.

Aside from the lack of burns, I am feeling a little more fatigued, as anticipated. I don’t have as much energy and need more sleep than typical. Not surprising, I suppose, but annoying as heck for someone who is used to having energy to spare and operates on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Having to sleep 8-9 hours just seems like so much wasted time.  🙂

As for my diarrhea problems, I haven’t had to take any Imodium since Saturday, but mornings continue to be tough. It seems to be getting better, but only ever so slightly. At least I haven’t any diarrhea for a week. I’ll count my blessings.

I had chemo yesterday: Herceptin along with 2 grams of magnesium. Seems to be my typical infusion these days, until we can figure out why my magnesium is so low. Otherwise the infusion was uneventful. I even got a little nap in – which I’m needing in addition to more sleep at night.

Each day brings me closer to the end of my overall cancer treatment. Onward!

Week 2 of Radiation Done – October 27, 2015

I’ve completed 2 weeks of radiation and so far, so good.  Any redness goes away completely by morning. My doc is on a short sabbatical (what is it with my medical team going on sabbatical?), so I saw Dr. R. He said that I was “ahead of schedule,” which I take to mean that I’m not showing any side effects even after almost 2 weeks. I am hoping that my tendency to tan rather than burn will help me get through this with a minimum of discomfort.

Dr. R also said that while I seem to be “well adjusted” that some women, after 6-7 weeks of getting treatment every day, get a little depressed once treatment is completed, so he and Dr. L would like for me to make plans for something after treatment, like a getaway. He said it was doctor’s orders!  We’re going to hope that Stanford football makes a bowl game, and we’ll follow our Cardinal and that will be my getaway.

While the radiation is going well, last week my diarrhea was as bad as it has been. I have to admit that I missed some doses of Flagyl…so I contacted Dr. S, who said I should finish the Flagyl and then we’ll wait to see how things go. I haven’t taken any Imodium since Saturday, so that’s good, although mornings are still tough.  It seems to be getting better, though, so I’m hopeful that the Flagyl did its job. If not, Dr. S said he has another test he’d like to have done. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

My neuropathy is still hanging around. I can’t tell you how many earring backs I’ve lost because I can’t feel the wires or the earring back. And my balance still is a little off at times because I can’t feel my toes. Dr. Priya says it can be months before it goes away. It’s annoying. I’d really like it to go away.

Dr. Priya asked me to participate in a leadership meeting. Turns out I’ll be part of a patient panel in which I’ll discuss my patient experience, both good and bad. The audience is C level executives, department and division heads – about 90 total. I think Dr. Priya asked me to participate because she knew that I am comfortable speaking to a crowd. The panel is tomorrow. Wish me luck!

One Week of Radiation Done! – October 18, 2015

Week 1 of radiation is done, and so far so good.  There’s a little bit of redness on my breast at night but by morning it’s gone, and so far my energy has been good.  The treatment itself is nothing…it takes more time to get me all situated so I’m in the correct position than the actual treatment.  I’m sure it’ll get worse as time goes on, but for now it’s all good.

The Flagyl is doing its job, as are the probiotics and yogurt.  I haven’t had diarrhea in a day or two, and that’s always a good sign.  I even had cheese dip yesterday, and thus far we’re good.  I’ll be on the Flagyl for a few days yet.

Thus far I’m scheduled for treatments until the Friday before Thanksgiving, which is 30 treatments.  The typical treatment plan is 33-36; somehow I have the sneaky suspicion that I’ll be getting radiation the week of Thanksgiving. We are planning to spend a quiet Turkey Day at home with one of those complete Thanksgiving dinners so neither of us have to really cook.  If everything I hear is correct, by Thanksgiving I’ll be pretty fatigued and all I’m going to want to do is sit at home, eat, snuggle with my kitties and maybe knit.  I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner, so maybe I can make Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas. Maybe.

One Radiation Treatment Down, 32-35 more to go! – October 12, 2015

I had my first radiation treatment today. There was more prep this first time – more measurements and some x-rays – and a check by Dr. L. Then the actual treatment, which didn’t feel like anything. I get zapped every day at 3 pm, and on Tuesdays from now on I’ll see Dr. L. He’ll check progress, and make sure my skin is doing okay. I’m to use aloe vera gel twice a day, and if things get worse other creams can be prescribed. I was told not to shave my underarm, and the instructions I received also said to use a low alkaline soap. It’s interesting that I should not use heat or cold, but rather to use topical creams to help with any symptoms. The technician looked at my tan and said it was good that I already got my tan because there’s no sunbathing while I’m undergoing radiation treatment. I also need to watch for an “exit dose,” so one more thing that Ted will have to do for me.  He’ll have to check my back for burns.

Since this was my first treatment, I’m not feeling any effects from it. However, I am having a bit of a time with the latest antibiotic, Flagyl (metronidazole). I submitted my stool sample on Saturday morning, and that night the GI doc who was covering left me a message that I’d tested positive for Clostidium Difficile, aka C. Difficile. Ironic that the way to get rid of the ‘bad” bacteria that got into my intestines from too much antibiotics (and chemo, no doubt) is MORE antibiotics, but that’s the treatment. So I started on Flagyl yesterday, and WHAM! my diarrhea is worse and I have terrible gas. It kept me up last night, but I’ve now got Gas-X and probiotics, not to mention yogurt and cottage cheese to help counteract the effects. At least we know what’s causing my diarrhea, and I hope that after the 10 days of Flagyl that my intestines will be back to normal. I’m not sure I remember what normal is!

My hair is definitely growing back.  My eyelashes have grown back, and unfortunately they didn’t grow back more lushly than they were before. The hair on my head is also growing back enough that Ted should shave my head at least every other day. I want to shave my head until I’m done with Herceptin, but if it gets too painful to do that, I may start to let it grow. Hair is also growing in places it shouldn’t, or hadn’t in years…which is a little disconcerting!

Onward!

Back from Vacation, Back to Work – October 9, 2015

The past month has flown by!  My last entry was about a week before we left for 10 glorious days on Maui.  I was seen 3 times in that week about my scars; they were no longer infected, but they were very slow to heal.  In the end, I was given some tegaderm film bandages- basically really stretchy, sticky saran wrap-like bandages – to put over the parts of the scars which hadn’t healed yet.  I could keep them on all the time, if I chose, but I only used the tegaderm when I was going into the ocean.  One of the surgeons whom I saw in that week warned me to be careful of swimsuit straps.  I have little to no feeling around the scars, and indeed, by the end of the vacation, I’d reopened a little part of my scar from wearing a bikini top too long.

Other than the minor inconvenience of making sure my scars were clean and using the tegaderm, vacation was lovely.  The weather was perfect and our condo was literally on the beach.  I didn’t have a ton of stamina, but how much stamina is needed to sit on a beach?  🙂

A few days after our return to the mainland I had an appointment with my radiation oncologist and for the “simulation.”  During the simulation, a mold is made to help me achieve the same position every time I receive radiation.  Measurements were taken and recorded; the whole process took about an hour.  I got 2 tattoos, or radiation markers.  I told the radiologist that I’d always wanted to get a tattoo, so now I could cross that off my bucket list.  I got a chuckle out of him.

I start radiation therapy on October 12.  It’ll be every weekday for at least 6 weeks, so if it’s 3 pm, you’ll find me at radiation therapy.  The nurse told me that the first hour or two right after receiving treatment is when most patients report feeling tired, so I decided to get radiation later in the day and then I’ll just go home afterwards.  She also told me that because I tan, I may not feel the burn that fair skinned people feel.  I hope that’s the case.  Currently I’m scheduled for treatment until the Friday before Thanksgiving, which is 30 treatments; my understanding was that typical treatments are 33-36 treatments, so I’ll have to ask on Monday whether I need more treatments scheduled.  I hope this means that I’ll be done by the beginning of December at the latest; I still hope I can host Christmas for my family this year, but we’ll have to see how fatigued I am.

This week has been a reality check – returning to work full time after 7 weeks off.  It’s not just being at work, but the commute on top of that which has put a strain on whatever energy I have.  I really need to go to bed much earlier than my usual bedtime because I simply need more sleep.

I had an appointment with my oncologist yesterday.  I asked her about some general soreness I have in my knees, and she said that it could take up to a year before I feel better.  In the meantime she suggested that I walk more.

My magnesium was still low, and I still get diarrhea.  She is also concerned because my calcium is increasing. The diarrhea is not all the time, as before, but at least a few times a week.  About an hour after I left, I got a call from Dr. P’s nurse, telling me that Dr. P put in an urgent referral to the Gastroenterology (GI) department.  When I asked why, Velia said that Dr. P is concerned about my diarrhea.  I managed to get an appointment for today, before chemo.

After much discussion, Dr. S said that there was one thing he could test.  I’ve had diarrhea since the start of chemo (late January), and since I started, I’ve been on 4 rounds of antibiotics.  (port infection, tooth infection, 2 rounds post-surgery).  He said it’s possible that while I was on all those antibiotics and because I’ve been hanging around medical facilities that while the good bacteria was wiped out some bad bacteria got in, albeit at a low level.  My diarrhea isn’t every day now, and it’s not bloody, and I don’t have some of the other symptoms one might expect with a more serious case.  But worth checking out regardless.  Now I get the joy of getting a stool sample.  Ugh.

He’s also puzzled by the low magnesium.  He said he was going to consult some other folks because he couldn’t fathom a reason and it just bothers him that we don’t have a cause.  But other than that he didn’t feel an endoscopy was necessary, and since I wasn’t really complaining, we’d forgo that procedure for now.

I got a jury summons for November 4.  I am more than happy to do my civic duty, but I simply can’t while undergoing radiation therapy and chemo.  I can ask for a continuance for no stated reason for 6 months, but that would only be good until May.  I’ll still be undergoing chemo through May, so I asked Dr. P to write me a note to excuse me from jury duty for medical reasons.  She wrote it to give me a year off. Hopefully the county will accept that.

I’m here in the infusion center, getting magnesium and Herceptin.  Just another Friday in my life this year.

Post Surgery Recovery Continues – September 11, 2015

My recovery continues! Of course I had to have a little complication…On Sept 2, I went into see the PA because I thought there was an infection at the end of my right breast scar, in the armpit. Turns out that was not an infection, but an irritation, similar to a pimple or ingrown hair. One of the stitches had poked through and with the bra and being under my arm, the area got irritated. I told the PA I was worried because the scar from the port installation got infected, so she took a look at the rest of my scars and she noticed a few areas of concern. She decided to put me on antibiotics, and instructed me to put on bacitracin on twice a day and cover the areas. She wanted to see me on Friday, before the long weekend for a recheck.

That same day I had an echocardiogram. I need one every 3 months because I’m on Herceptin. All is normal.

At my recheck, Dr. White actually came in to see me, in addition to the PA. He said he was glad the PA put me on antibiotics and said that things look to be on track.  The PA asked that I put bacitracin on once a day through Labor Day, and then stop, which is what I’ve done. The infected area under my left breast is healing, but the right is lagging behind. I hope things start clearing up soon – I want to be able to swim in Maui!

Just after my last blog post, I had a round of Herceptin, along with 2 gr of magnesium. Previously, getting magnesium was 1 gr/hour, but this time the 2 gr took only an hour. I asked why this time it was faster and the nurse said that they could administer the magnesium more quickly because I was receiving it through a port. Which led me to ask why it took so long for them to figure that out…Oh, well. I don’t really mind being in the infusion center. It’s actually kind of pleasant, and since I know all the staff and my way around, it’s not a big deal. My next round of Herceptin is a week from today.

Hair has started to grow back – eyebrows and eyelashes are the most noticeable. The hair on my head is also growing back, but there are still some bare spots. I decided that I was going to continue to shave my head until I’m done with Herceptin. It just means that Ted has to shave my head at least twice a week. While I’m curious how my hair will look (chemo changes your hair), I feel it’s more important to show that I’m still undergoing treatment.  🙂

Other than the infection, I am feeling good. I get tired easily and need more sleep than is typical for me, but I feel my strength is slowly returning.  I am super bummed about something, though…I had to decline an invitation to speak in Sydney, Australia and Singapore in late November. I checked with my radiation oncologist, and the timing is just too tight. Even with moving my initial appointment and simulation (where they do all the measurements) a week earlier than scheduled (to October 2), if all goes as planned, I would finish the Friday before I would need to fly. That leaves no wiggle room in case I have an adverse reaction and need a few days off from radiation treatment, and we don’t know what side effects I’ll have even if things go as planned. I understand that fatigue is the most common side effect. Flying 15 hours probably isn’t the best thing to do at the end of 6 weeks of radiation. I can only hope that the organization will invite me again – I would be thrilled.

Tomorrow is the first home football game for my beloved Cardinal – and let’s hope the team plays better than last weekend.  Other fall sports have started, and soon hockey will be in full swing. I do love fall!

Two Weeks Post Surgery – August 27, 2015

It’s been 2 weeks since my surgery!  I was a pretty good patient and tried not to use my right arm at all for the 2 weeks in order to prevent lymphedema.  Let me back up.

The morning of the surgery, I reported to the Breast Imaging Center so that a locating wire could be placed in my breast to the clip which was inserted at the tumor site before I started chemo.  Then I was carted over to Nuclear Imaging so that a radioactive tracer could be injected into my breast, to help with the identification of lymph nodes. I will tell you that little injection hurt like nobody’s business – so much so that the nurse told me I could squeeze her hand as hard as I needed.  Fortunately the pain was short lived.  By then we were running late, so I was taken in almost right away at the Surgecenter, and my sister (who drove me) couldn’t come to visit.  After vitals were taken and I dressed for surgery, the anesthesiologist came to see me.  I knew that the surgery was scheduled for 3.5 hours, which meant I’d likely have heavy narcotics for the anesthesia.  So I warned the doc that I don’t react well to anesthesia.  He thanked me for telling him and said he would take extra precautions; we then discussed getting a patch which I could leave on for 1-3 days to help with post-surgery nausea.  I agreed, and shortly after the anesthesiologist left, I got a visit from Dr. White, my plastic surgeon.  He then “marked” me for the surgery, taking measurements and marking my breasts with a Sharpie.  Then Dr. Ching came in to check on things.  She reiterated that the surgery may need a follow up surgery if there aren’t clear margins from what she was going to remove.  I told her I had faith that everything was going to be fine – that I’d need only one surgery.

Soon thereafter I was wheeled into the OR, where the anesthesiologist was waiting.  I was out just a few minutes later, and woke up in recovery four and half hours later.  Dr. Ching came out to talk to my sister and let her know that everything looked good; she removed 3 lymph nodes in addition to the tumor area and a few other areas. Ted arrived at some point so my sister could go to work, and so it was Ted who joined me in recovery.  About an hour later I was ready to go home.

Despite the patch, I had nausea for the next day.  I finally decided to remove the patch and since I wasn’t in a ton of pain, to switch from Percocet to Tylenol.  Once I did that, the nausea stopped although I had very little appetite.  I’ve also had diarrhea pretty much since my last dose of chemo on July 31, and 10 days of antibiotics did not help. The diarrhea continues, but I’ve started taking Imodium again and that’s helped.

I’ve had experience not using my right arm before; in November 2011 I had right shoulder surgery.  My arm was in a sling for a while, although I was not 100% compliant, I know what it’s like to have to use my non-dominant hand for everyday tasks.  At least I didn’t have to worry about brushing and washing my hair one-handed! Actually, I wasn’t allowed to take a shower until my first post-op with Plastic Surgery, exactly a week after my surgery.  I tried my best not to use my arm, and since I was banned from using the computer, I’ve discovered the joys of Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming.

On Monday the 17th, 5 days after surgery, Dr. Ching called me with the pathology results.  The news could not be better:  NO CANCER ANYWHERE!!  The tissue removed around the tumor site showed all signs of having been changed from chemo; the additional areas removed had no cancer as well as the 3 lymph nodes removed.  No second surgery is needed.  Dr. Ching said that I was one of the rare people who is a complete responder with chemo, so all those months of chemo were totally worth it. It feels really great to know that I don’t have any cancer!

You might ask if that means my treatment changes at all, and it does not.  Because I chose a lumpectomy rather than mastectomy, I will still need radiation (for 5-6 weeks) and I still need Herceptin (targeted chemo) until May or so.  But to know that I have no more cancer has been the best news since, well, December 15, 2014.

My best friend Kim took me to my first post-op, after which we went to lunch.  After a lengthy surgery and a week of doing nothing, it was amazing how much that one little outing tired me out.  I went to bed very early the next two nights, sleeping a lot more the following day.  That told me that the surgery – and 6 months of chemo – has really taken a toll on my body, and it’s best if I rest as much as possible during my medical leave.

On Monday, I had an appointment with Dr. Ching, to which my friend Kim took me again.  Dr. Ching said that my breasts looked great.  I admitted that I hadn’t been 100% compliant about not using my right arm, and she said it was okay – that they tell patients not to use it at all, expecting not 100% compliance but maybe 70%, and that was actually enough to prevent lymphedema. Since I didn’t have lymphedema, and things were looking good, my next appointment with Dr. Ching is in six months.

I got clearance to be able to use a computer, knit and drive, so today I drove myself. First thing in the morning I had a blood draw because I’m scheduled to have Herceptin tomorrow, and then I went to Target to pick up a few things.  I felt faint in Target, another sign that I need to take it easy while building up my strength.  I came home and took a nap.  Naps are good.

I had another post-op with Plastic Surgery in the afternoon.  Dr. White came in to see how I was doing, and he seemed pleased with my progress.  I asked him about some areas which seem to “pooch” out; Dr. Ching mentioned that Dr. White could liposuction those areas.   Dr. White said he could but wants to wait for 6 months, when things should finally settle down from the surgery.  Then the PA removed the plastic bandages which covered my stitches. The stitches will eventually dissolve, but as the swelling recedes, some stitches get uncovered before dissolving.   The PA trimmed some of those, removed the glue using a type of “Goo Be Gone” for the skin, then dabbed antibiotic ointment around my scars.  She wants to see me a week before we leave for Maui, because if my scars aren’t closed by then I won’t be able to swim.  😦  Otherwise, I don’t need to see Dr. White again for 6 months.

I then went to Oncology:  I had an appointment with Dr. Priya, in which we mostly chatted about my nieces and nephew, and the pressure on high school students.  That was after we discussed that my magnesium was low (I’ll get 2 gr tomorrow), and that I can get my teeth cleaned now.  I told her that I was going to get an implant for the infected molar which was removed, and she told me to put it off until next year. I asked her why, and she said that with the chemo, surgery and radiation that she wanted my body to recover before getting an implant.

So how do I feel?  There is soreness in my right armpit, where the lymph nodes removal scar resides.  There is tightness around the scars under my breasts, and I need to wear a bra 24/7 (or as much as possible) for at least another week.  I’ve tried not wearing a bra, but after a few hours, my breasts get sore and tight, so a bra helps.  At least I can switch to a sports bra, or a camisole with a bra built in.  The bra which I received post surgery provides more compression than support, and I was getting tired of it.

Nerves were all messed up and jumbled during surgery, and it takes about 6 months for them to figure out what they should be doing.  What that means is there have been nights when I’ve been woken up by a shooting pain in my breasts.  It happens during the day, too, but when you get woken up by sudden pain…well, it’s just surprising.  At least the pain isn’t constant or all that painful – it’s more of a shock than anything else.

A work colleague set up a Meal Train for us for the past 2 weeks, and it’s been a big help for Ted not to have to cook in addition to taking care of me and the boys (our 4 cats). The generosity of people never ceases to amaze me, and I am ever so grateful for all the support we’ve received.  In addition to the Meal Train, I’ve gotten 3 beautiful bouquets of flowers, a gift certificate for dinner delivery, chocolate covered strawberries, homemade cookies, numerous get well cards – the list goes on.  I am a bit overwhelmed at my “village” and thankful for all of you in my life.

I plan to continue to rest as much as possible, but to start to resume some activities. After all, football season starts next week!  Fall is my favorite time of year.  I hope radiation doesn’t take too much out of me; I start in October and hopefully I’ll be done by Thanksgiving.  I’d love to host Christmas this year!

Twas the Night Before Surgery – August 11, 2015

Just a quick post.  Everything starts tomorrow at 8 am.  I have to go to the Breast Center for a wire localization procedure, and then at 9 am to Nuclear Medicine, where a dye will be injected.  The dye is to help identify lymph nodes. Then I report at 10 am to the SurgeCenter; my surgery is scheduled for 11 am.

The surgery is scheduled for 3.5 hours, and then I’ll be sent home.  I’ve picked up antibiotics and pain meds (percocet, my drug of choice!), and had some blood work and an EKG.  A small moment of panic when I received a call from Dr. Ching’s office informing me that my EKG was abnormal and my primary care physician needed to okay the surgery given the abnormal EKG.  My PCP did authorize the surgery, explaining that the result wasn’t so much abnormal as it was different from the last one I’d had.  Whew!

I will remain in the dressing that I’m sent home with for a week, when I have my first post-op with Dr. White’s (plastic surgeon) office.  Hopefully by then the drains can be removed (i.e., I’m draining very little) and I can finally take a shower.  My first post-op with Dr. Ching is the following Monday, when I will hopefully get the release to be able to drive.  I have chemo that Friday, so it would be great to be able to drive myself rather than bother family and friends to be my chauffeur.

Someone at work set up a MealTrain for Ted and me.  It’s a way to ask folks to provide meals for us – very cool!  Folks can drop off home cooked meals, or provide gift certificates for DoorDash, Munchery or the like.  This will relieve Ted from having to cook AND take care of me for the next couple of weeks.

Wish me luck!  While I’ve had 5 prior surgeries, those have all been orthopedic in nature – this one will be very different.  I understand that hardest thing to adjust to is nerves firing, not necessarily soreness as from surgeries which cut into muscle. I’ll find out soon enough!