Poked and Groped, Part II

Today I went to see Dr. Shimizu, Radiation Oncologist.  We met briefly to discuss what’s next.  I found out that I have to get a new deodorant; nothing with aluminum.  Another interesting thing was I was told I couldn’t take anything that was extra antioxidants supplements.

After we were done talking, I was taken to get a CAT scan.  The nurse walked me around and showed me where I would go from now on.  They gave me my hospital bracelet that I’ll show each time I check in.  I changed my clothes and waited to be taken to the CAT scan.  This wasn’t so bad as the MRI.  I did have to hold still but didn’t have to hold my breath.  They had me lay on my back and positioned all the pads and arm bar.   Once I was down on the table, I put my arms above my head and then Dr. Shimizu marked with pen the areas that will be shot with radiation.  They taped wires and little metal beebees to my skin so it would show up on the film.  I was then rolled back and forth into the machine for a couple of minutes.  When I was done, I got my tattoos.  Oh and guess what, I am allergic to tape.  One spot turned red after 5 minutes.  Now about the tattoos; OUCH!  I always thought I wanted to get one but, no thank you.  These are smaller than a freckle and they hurt like a son of a mother.    I now have 4 on my chest including one on the breast that doesn’t get radiation.

Once I was done, the nurse showed me the room where I will be getting my treatment.  She knew I was keeping a blog and said that if I wanted to, I can take a picture to post it.

And so it begins…… next Tuesday, I will have my daily radiation treatments, 5 days a week for the next 6-1/2 weeks.

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Right on Schedule…..

Today I spoke with Dr. Shimizu’s office and it turns out I didn’t need insurance approval after all  for radiation,  so tomorrow I go see him.  It will start off with a one-on-one and then over to the planning session.  I don’t know if this means I get measured and the tattoos tomorrow or I’ll have to go back again.  Tomorrow it will be exactly 3 weeks since my surgery so everything seems to be going as planned.

This afternoon I met with Dr. Bernstein.  We talked about the treatment after radiation.  Turns out I won’t go on Tamoxifen or Raloxifene.   The drug that I could go on causes bones to become weak.  So, in case I do go on that drug, I have to go in for a bone density test.  I need to have this done anyway since I’m post-menopausal.  He said it’s completely up to me if I want to go on the drugs afterwards.

I will post tomorrow after I meet with Dr. Shimizu.

Two weeks later……

Today was my 2 week follow up appointment with Dr. Wilde.  Apparently, for some, the steristrip bandages stay on some people until their 2 week follow up appointment.  For me, they’ve been off for almost a week.  As she was checking her handy work, I told her that she left a beautiful a scar.  She was actually quite happy with the results and we did a fist bump right there on the exam table.

I now have an appointment with Dr. Bernstein (medical oncologist) on Monday to discuss possible oral follow up medication.  Dr. Wilde doesn’t seem to think that I’ll need it but she said that was up to Dr. Bernstein.  I am going to talk to him about the possibility of not going on Tamoxifen and taking Raloxifene instead.  Tamoxifen has a lot of negative side effects and is usually given to women who are pre-menopausal.  Since I’m such an over achiever and have already been through menopause, I’m hoping to go on the other one, if he finds it necessary.

I have to wait now for my insurance company to approve the radiation treatments.  I hope to get this started next week.

Going on disability has been a joy.  Apparently as of March 1st, the state doesn’t accept the type of form I received from work.  Fortunately I did my portion online but the doctor form was outdated so I had to have the doctor’s office redo the form.  I had to wait until today to get the completed form back from them.  I came prepared had the envelope stamped and since I got to the office early, like I always do, I went down to the mail box.  However I found the mail had already been picked up for the day.  I’m curious to see how much the actual amount will turn out to be and how soon I get the first check.

A Beautiful Day

Today I decided to go to Cabrillo National Monument.  I dropped Charlie off at the groomer and headed to Point Loma.  The weather has been perfect the past few days so I knew it would be pretty on the coast.

When I got to the top of the hill, you have to go through Fort Rosecrans.  Even though it’s a cemetery, it’s very peaceful and a beautiful view.

I began by going up to the lighthouse.

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When you go inside, it’s so small.  It’s hard to believe a family of 5 lived in there.

I walked around and went over to the overlook area.  Here you can see where the lookouts were during  World War II.  The views today were incredible.

I then drove down to the tide pool area.  When I first arrived, it was low tide but as I stayed there longer, the tide was coming in.  Even though there was quite a few people down there, it was still very peaceful.

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As I mentioned before, I don’t feel it necessary to go to a building to talk with God.  It was out there sitting on the rocks and watching the waves and the birds that I had my own conversation with him.  It felt so nice just “being”.  It was a beautiful day and I’m starting to really appreciate those days more and more and how lucky I am.

Bandage is off, thank God!

Today was my follow-up appointment with Dr. Wilde.  I was dying to have the bandage off as it was itching so bad and Tylenol doesn’t do anything for itching.

When she came in, she said we had more good news.  The pathology from the lumpectomy showed that the cancer was non-invasive so it was verified Stage 0.  Funny, I didn’t even realize there was a chance it could be anything different.  They took out 2.5 cm of tissue so I’m wondering how distorted my breast will turn out.

I did find out that the cancer is ER positive which means I will have to go on Tamoxifen or something similar to stop it from coming back or appearing in my other breast.  In two weeks I’ll see Dr. Wilde again, make arrangements to see Dr. Bernstein (medical oncologists) and Dr. Shimizu (radiology oncologist) and begin the treatments.

I’m just glad I get to finally take a shower and get this orange glow off of me.  The one thing I was looking forward to was not having to wear a bra this whole time but apparently I have to wear an extra supportive one.  Yippee.  😦

The Worst Part is now over

Let me preface this that I might have some spelling errors or might be incoherent.

We got to the surgery center at 9am and were taken to the back.  We waited there for 2 hours before they took me over to the Breast Center to get a stereotactic wire insertion.  This time it didn’t hurt much at all.  Took another mammogram and headed back to the surgery center.

I came back to the surgery center and met with Anesthesiologist, Dr. Wilde and the operating room nurse that all asked the same questions.

The operating room was freezing so they wrapped me in blankets with heater.  The inserted the IV and that’s the last I remember until I woke up in recovery.

We got home and I was finally able to eat a sandwich thin with peanut butter and some Cheetos.  Mom left and got her suitcase and brought back some chicken tenders.

I’m still very groggy but not much pain yet.

Isn’t the photo of me in my shower cap and with the compression stockings attractive? 🙂

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It just hit me……

I was sitting here relaxing this afternoon and I realized in 3 days I’m having surgery.  It’s been almost 34 years since I’ve been under general anesthesia.  Then, I had morphine (ahhh!) to deal with the pain.  I don’t know what I’ll be able to take after this.  Unfortunately, Vicodin makes me ill.  I haven’t been able to take Aleeve since Tuesday and nothing with aspirin.  It was fun the other day having a migraine and not being able to take anything.

I’ve been busy at work for the past two weeks, so I haven’t really had a chance to dwell on the surgery, but now I realize that it’s happening.  Now I’m nervous and anxious.  I’m resorting to alcohol  at night since I can’t take my sleeping pills and my hot chocolate isn’t working.  😦

I feel bad for my mom.  We have to get there at 9am and my surgery isn’t until 11:30.  It’s too far for her to go home and come back.  She doesn’t use a computer or a smart phone.  I just hope they have something on the TV for her to watch to keep her occupied.  We’re not sure if she’ll be spending the night with me on Tuesday.  Both nurses I’ve spoken to have said I need to have someone stay with me for 24 hours.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see how I feel.

One more day at work then time off for a couple of months.  This is going to be weird.  I haven’t gone this long without working ever!  I’ve got a lot of movies saved up on the DVR.

I will try to post on Tuesday after the surgery but I’m not sure how I’ll feel or if I’ll be coherent.  🙂