Friday, September 6, 2013

Stay of Execution

Jeff drove me to Lexington September 5 for my follow-up appointment with Dr. A.J..  Remind me to never schedule a doctor’s appointment for any time except 9:00 (first of the day) or 1:00 (first after lunch).  My appointment time was 11:30.   Jeff dropped me off since Liz was meeting me there.  He’s been trying so hard not to get further behind at work, so he packed up his computer and paperwork and headed for wi-fi.   Liz and I killed some time in the waiting room reading “The Chemotherapy Diet” book, which came highly recommended by my friend Maendi.  More on this diet soon….
After waiting an eternity in my paper napkin vest, Dr. A.J. peeks in the door, almost afraid to ask how I’m doing.  I smile bigger than I have in, well, weeks, and flash my “girls”.  In the process, I accidentally ripped the paper napkin in two.  ”THEY NOW MATCH!!!”  He laughed and commented how much better my “brrrreast” looked.  (How exactly does one write a “rolled r”).   It was still a little bruised and sore but so much better!  I mentioned what a great job he did with the surgery and that it was a shame that he’d be cutting them both off before too long.  Of course, I have the scar under my arm from the lymph node dissection, but the scar to remove the lump is on the outer edge of the areola and you have to look really hard to see it…less than one month after surgery!  Let me also add that I don’t recall ever typing the word “areola” in my life.
Dr. Dreamy Pants, as Liz refers to him, quickly burst my bubble.  “Although they match now, you rrrrrrealize that once the swelling goes down, it will shrrrink.  I rrrremoved a lot of tissue.”  Ok I’ll stop with the r’s.  It’s starting to look like he stutters.  A shriveling boob was really the least of my worries right now.  “When does your oncologist want to start chemotherapy?”  I told him that depended on what he had to tell me today, but the goal was to start in one week (9/12).
As I mentioned in the last blog (I think), my oncologist at St. Joe and the folks at Central Baptist seem to disagree on whether or not I need radiation.  Apparently, my “extranodal extension of tumor” (cancer cells extending beyond the lymph node in one of my two cancerous lymph nodes) makes my oncologist Dr. Moss nervous.  Well, crap.  I thought that was why I was having chemo (those stray cancer cells!). 

  Dr. A.J. said he would discuss my situation in one of those meetings when they review all the patients and their care on Friday (today).  Too bad no one there has a picture of my boob at the eggplant stage to put on a slide show.  I can hear the commentary by Dr. A.J. now:   “Forty-nine year old female presented with Stage IIB Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in the left breast.  Surgery was 8/9 when 64.2 grams of tissue were removed from breast as well as four lymph nodes, two presenting positive for cancer.  One of those with an extranodal extension.  She is HER 2 negative and estrogen and progesterone positive. Patient had a severe hematoma as you’ll see in the slide. (EVERYONE GASPS). This was resolved during emergency surgery 8/29.  Patient is a lovely, funny, resilient lady who usually has an entourage that accompanies her to her appointments and surgeries.  She’s already having chemo, a mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery.  I believe that radiation is unnecessary.”  The other surgeons, oncologists, and radiation oncologists nod in agreement.  Sigh.  Let’s hope.

He said that he would let me know his colleagues’ opinions on Monday and saw no reason why I couldn’t start chemo next week.  I was happy that I can finally get this ball rolling, but terrified of what was coming. I guess I’ve just been waiting for a “stay of execution”.  The governor would make that phone call to the warden and say, “You’ve done your time. No chemo, radiation, or further surgery is necessary.”  I guess I watch too many movies.

One size fits no one!

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