Posted by: healingseeker | July 7, 2010

A huge item has finally been checked off my Medical Do List for Breast Cancer

7 July 2010

I am filled with exultation and feelings of gratitude. I have been kind of living by my calendar lately so that I can keep up with all the medical appointments. I am thrilled to say that one of the biggest items checked off on my calendar that rather “DROVE” my life for a while is Chemo. As of July 1st, my eight sessions of chemotherapy is done – kaput! – nada – completed! Thank you, God! That feels like an enormous milestone and a huge landmark in my life.

Thursday, July 1st – Last chemo session. Check v
Friday, July 2nd – Last Neulasta shot to boost my white blood cell count. Check v
Tuesday, July 6 – Meet with Surgeon to schedule Double Mastectomy. Check v
Tuesday, July 6 – Meet with Gynecologist to schedule Hysterectomy. Check v

Goal: Have both surgeries scheduled for same day so that I only have to be put to sleep once and deal with recovery factors at same time.

My desire for that was granted. The three doctors who will do surgery on me found a day that worked for all three of them – August 11, 2010. Check v

My main surgeon, Dr. Mark Patterson, will remove my left breast plus about twelve lymph nodes. That is the breast that contains the malignant tumor. The tumor was originally 3×5 inches. I am thankful to say that the chemo and the power of prayer did their collective job. The tumor is way less than half its original size. That means that the surgery will be less invasive.

His partner, Dr. Scott (a female), will remove my right breast simultaneously. Why will I get the right breast removed when there is no cancer currently located in that breast? There are two kinds of cancer in my body: IDC (Invasive Ductal Carcinoma) and ILC (Invasive Lobular Carcinoma). ILC tends to have a mirroring effect in the other breast. I have talked to too many breast cancer survivors and read or heard the stories of those who sadly did not survive their journey with breast cancer who went through the whole routine with one breast only to later get a tumor in the other breast. I don’t want to see that happen. Additionally, my oncologist, Dr. Dharmen Patel, told me that if you expose your body to too much chemo or radiation, other physical problems could develop such as heart problems, etc. So it seems like clear-cut irrefutable wisdom to have both breasts removed at the same time.

They will leave enough skin so that should I decide to get reconstructive surgery fall of 2011, I have that option. I have to wait a year after radiation treatments before it could be done; therefore, I have plenty of time to decide if I want to go through surgery once again. In the meantime, I will wear normal bras with prosthetic breasts (little cloth pillows). As for Radiation, it will be Monday through Friday for 6 to 7 weeks in probably September and October. As I understand it, each radiation session will only last 15 to 30 minutes.

As for why I am getting a full Hysterectomy with both ovaries removed at the same time, there are benign grapefruit size fibroid tumors causing my stomach to appear somewhat pregnant. At age 52, I don’t intend to have children; however, I am a very proud aunt. Estrogen feeds cancer. I certainly don’t want to continue to offer food to the cancer cells that are rapidly being killed off in my body. The tumors need to be removed anyway before they cause other complications. Therefore, the main reason I plan to have that Hysterectomy is the rationale that estrogen feeds cancer.

Today, Wednesday, July 7th – Teeth cleaned at dentist plus got my permanent crown put in. I got the root canal on June 8th and the temporary crown on June 17th. Check v

Tomorrow, Thursday, July 8th – I meet with my oncologist to get my blood tested and to schedule my CT Scans, etc. to see where all cancer cells are congregating.

As for remaining chemo side effects, the only one that exists is that I cannot taste many of the food items I eat. I figure that by the end of July, that side effect will also be a thing of the past. I can certainly hold out about three more weeks. After all, not being able to taste food is not painful. It is simply annoying and boring. It did, however, lead to one nice perk. I have lost about fifteen pounds since this journey began. Woo-hoo!

As for my hair, it is starting to grow back in. It is too short yet to tell whether it is growing back in curly or straight, thick or thin. Prior to chemo, it used to grow 6 or 7 inches a year. It was also extremely thick, curly, and very frizzy. It remains to be seen what will happen now. As for the color, it is growing in salt and pepper (more pepper than salt). Once it gets long enough to where I will stop wearing a scarf, I will pull out my ever-ready blond hair dye. I am not even close to being ready to ‘go gray’. Smile!

I continue to seek and be grateful for your prayers. Please pray also for my husband who is the caretaker for his mother in the nursing home and for me, his wife. Also, please pray for the many people I am encountering on-line and in my cancer support group who have cancer journeys of their own to travel.

God bless you all! I wish you all the best of everything now and always,
Healing Seeker aka Debbie


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