Quick update on appointments

Just a real quick entry to let everyone know that the oncologist gave us the blessing to have my scans after surgery. We are going to Houston next Tuesday, Nov. 27 for my Wednesday surgery. We plan to come home on Friday. We will go back on Dec 6 and 7 for my scans, follow-up with the surgeon and plastic surgeon appointment to fill my expander. We fly back…AGAIN…on Dec 10 for our meeting to discuss the scans and the chemo plan.

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Oncologist Appointment

So, I promised I would post about the oncologist appointment when we got the airport last night, but we had all kinds of craziness with our transportation to the airport. We were running too late for me to have time to post.

We met with the plastic surgeon’s office to remove my drains. Only one came out, as expected. Like I said, I was worried about pain. A quick google search told me that some people thought it was no big deal while others said it was horrible pain.

The drains were stitched into my skin to keep them in place. When she cut the stitches, it hurt, but when she pulled the drain out it didn’t hurt at all. She asked me to take deep breaths three times and each time, she pulled more out. It was actually a very relieving feeling since that drain had started to move up and over the expander which was causing a lot of pressure on my chest. It was sometimes hard to take a deep breath without having sharp pain. All of that was gone immediately with no pain at all.

She didn’t fill my expander any more because she thought the skin was still to tight around the expander. That means another appointment. Boo.

Onto the oncologist…

Dr. Moulder was great. She told us that “based on my age,” she was recommending an aggressive chemo treatment that would last six months. Some oncologists recommend this treatment, but they condense some of the treatments which might shave a few weeks off of this time period. That would be ok, she said. I will lose my hair about 3-4 treatments into it.

Oh, and I forgot to mention it, but my official stage is 2B.

Since it has spread to my lymph nodes and I’ve been having headaches, she has ordered scans for the rest of my body. The MRI on my brain will show her intricate details of my brain, including if there is any cancer growing there. For the bone scan, they will inject a tracer that will automatically find any healing bone areas. When cancer is in the bones, the bone tries to heal around the cancer cells. This will flag areas for her to focus on. Also, they will do a CT scan of my chest and abdomen area.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m afraid. I’m glad that they are doing it – it would be nice to know vs. not know and wonder, but man…I’m also worried because it isn’t like it is standard to do these scans on every breast cancer patient. She said she just wants to be proactive. I won’t be able to start chemo until 3-4 weeks after I have this next surgery, but if they find it elsewhere, starting chemo trumps the surgery in importance. They need to tackle it NOW if it is in the brain or bones.

So, we are spending today trying to figure out when we can get there to do the scans. The upcoming holiday really complicates things because the hospital is short on appointments. They called this morning trying to get us to come up this weekend for the scans. That is difficult for us, but we will do it if we have to. Waiting to hear back.

So, I’m hoping that we have heard the worst of all news already. The only way I think it can get worse is if we hear bad things from the scans. Unfortunately, my track record for good news has been pretty bad lately so I’m really worried.

While I’m feeling pretty down and sad, I’m pretty sure that God sent someone to give me some perspective last night. I hope to post more on that soon.



And the hits just keep on comin’

Hello from Houston! We flew in yesterday afternoon, just in time to see the radiation oncologist, Dr. Stauder. He didn’t tell us much about the pathology report – that is Dr. Gainer’s job.

So, Dr. Stauder basically told us that the general rule is if the tumor is greater than 5 cm, the chances of recurrence are higher. Given my age, we want to do as much as we can to reduce those chances. Radiation takes the percentage of recurrence and cuts it by two-thirds. That is pretty significant.

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