Friday, August 05, 2016

We Are Concern. We Are Hope Despite the Times.

Always glad when my gladiolas come up in the garden.
So, here's another cancer update for you all. I got a phone call from my surgical oncologist's nurse telling me that she made an appointment with the radiation oncologist. She said they were talking about me at the Tumor Board (now there's something I hope I never have to hear again...) and they thought I might be a good candidate for intraoperative radiation. It would probably delay my surgery, but it might take away the need for external radiation.

John and I went to the appointment with the radiation oncologist. I keep saying it, but I think it's important - all of the doctors and nurses we have dealt with at the University Hospitals and Clinics have been amazing. This appointment was no different. We first spoke to a resident, who was very personable and funny and smart, of course. He asked us to call him Dr. M. and he talked us through our options. Before cancer, I got options like, vanilla, strawberry or chocolate, after cancer I get to decide what kind of radiation treatment I want: Either external radiation long course, where they have a lower dosage, but I have to get treatments 5 times a week for almost 7 weeks, a short course of external radiation, which would give me a higher dosage of radiation, but only 3'ish weeks, 5 times a week, or lastly, intraoperative radiation, which would be the best and least dangerous option, they weren't able to get enough tissue from my biopsy to test for, I believe, ER and PR (?) and so they wouldn't be sure if I was a candidate until after they examined the sample they get from the lumpectomy, and if it wasn't the right fit, I'd STILL have to do external radiation, but it would be the 7 week kind, so there was that...I wanted to still choose chocolate anyway, but the doctors wouldn't be able to help me with that.

DR M. told me he would also have to tell me about all of the things that COULD go wrong with radiation treatments.  He said, "Here's the part where I sound like the guy in those drug commercials and tell you that by using these treatments, it might cause alien abductions...." But he did say that the external radiation could cause heart and lung issues and it could create some osteoporosis type effects on my ribs underneath where the radiation is centered. Greeeaaatttt.

The other doctor came in to talk to us as well and then I got ANOTHER breast exam. After palpating the site of the tumor, which is way back next to my ribs, she didn't think the intraoperative radiology would work very well, since my tumor was in a bad place for it. She said we should go back and ask the surgeon what she thought.

I called the surgeon when we got home and spoke to her nurse. She said she would get back to me the next morning about her thoughts on the matter. I got the call as I was coming into work today. She agreed with Dr. Sun. We would go with the lumpectomy surgery this coming Wednesday, followed by the short course of external radiation therapy about a month after surgery. So, my daughter brought me a bunch of fun movies to watch while I'm on drugs, I have books to read for when I'm off the drugs,but can't go back to work yet and I will hopefully get my FMLA paperwork all set-up by the 8th, when it's due.

The thing about these appointments, is that they make everything seem scarier than it probably is. I know I have a VERY early stage of cancer and my outcome is great, but to have someone detail all the things that could go wrong or what scary things they might discover once they go in and do the surgery can make a girl a little scared and shaky. Lucky for me, I have John around to suggest things like, "Hey! Let's ride mountain bikes after your appointment." And not that it makes everything all better, but it helps to remind me what I should be focusing on right now....Getting better as quickly as possible so I can play outside again as soon as possible.


CHE said...

You are in my thoughts and in my prayers. Kick this cancer's ass! I know you will.

Polly Monear said...

Nobody is scarier than a doctor when they start in on the warnings and disclaimers. I remember my experience with those talks, with my neurosurgeon 10 years ago and Max's neonatologist 21 years ago, and both times I wanted to know the odds. I wanted a math problem to help me know how scared to be.
Be strong when you can, and when you can't be strong let others be strong for you.
Love and light to you.

Sarah D said...

You are so strong to be witty and well-spoken and think of us in your updates. Thinking of you all the time. xoxox

Sarah D said...

You are so strong to be witty and well-spoken and think of us in your updates when you must be freaking out. Thinking of you all the time. xoxox

Jo Anne Martin said...

Thanks for the update. You are in my thoughts and prayers(every little bit helps) every moment.
You come from a line of tough women. This cancer doesn't know who it is dealing with!!!

Love you!

Mighty Lemon said...

You are super inspirational in so many facets. I see you kicking butt. Like you always do. Speedy recovery! E.

Ann Reed said...

Well written, love that you can write so eloquently about an intimate process. Your paradigm will guide you through deciding your course! You go girl!

Molly and Tom said...

Go buy a new race outfit, book a ride or chart a new ride's path! The Big C can not keep your strength, wit and positive nature down.. You got this. (Prayers, love and light sent your way..let is know if we can do anything..)