Saturday, April 29, 2006

Radiation Simulation

Went for radiation simulation. It took about an hour. I lay down on a flat, hard board with my arms above my head, holding on to two handles. There were no arm rests, so I just had to hold on to the handles and keep my arms still. They didn’t tell me ahead of time how long I’d have to hold this position or anything about what to expect.

After a while, my arms went numb and started slipping off the handles. The radiation therapist said I had to keep perfectly still the whole time but I was afraid my arms would slip off and throw all the measurements off. She finally let me put my arms down for a little bit.

At one point I took a deep breath to get my strength up and she called out in a panic that I had to keep still. If a deep breath was enough to throw off the measurements, how accurate could they be after I’d moved my arms down and back up? OI!

And the radiotherapist kept running back and forth from the simulation room to another room off to the side. She just didn’t seem to know what she was doing. And the markings on my chest afterwards looked like my 3-year-old daughter had drawn all over me. There were big, thick lines, some with crooked lines next to them, as if she’d done one marking, then re-did it. I lost all confidence in this radiation team. I need to find another.

Another reason to find another team -- the radiation oncologist hadn’t even talked to my surgeon yet before doing the simulation. And he was only in the simulation room for a few seconds in the beginning. He didn’t actually do anything -- just looked at the markings the radiotherapist had made and said “okay”.

These doctors seriously need a lesson in communication skills. So many of my worries and questions could be answered if they would just talk to me about what’s going on, what to expect, what I need to do, etc. What’s the matter with these people?!?!?!? “Treat the patient, not the disease!” Haven’t they ever heard that before? Sucks to have cancer, but it really sucks to have cancer in a country where people have ZERO communication and social skills. Bitch, bitch, moan, moan. Hey, I’m allowed. I have cancer.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Reconstruction Surgeons # 2 and 3

# 2. This was the second visit to Recon Surgeon # 2. He looked at mastectomy scars and said they were healing nicely. Said I should have reconstruction 2-4 weeks after radiation ends -- put expanders in and inflate little by little. He saw skin lesion and picked out some sutures with tweezers. He didn’t seem to think the surgeon had done a great job sewing up the skin lesion.

# 3. This guy is a world-famous plastic surgeon who has clients from Hollywood. He also said scars were healing nicely. Said I could have permanent implants put in straight away since I only want an A cup. Said I should wait at least six months after radiation to do reconstruction so skin tissue can have time to settle down. Said fluid building up in my chest is not good 5-6 weeks after surgery. He drained 15 ml. from each side. He poked around a bit with the needle at first and I had to show him where my surgeon usually puts the needle when he drains fluid.

I’m now leaning toward having reconstruction. My main goal is to have freedom of movement. I’d like to be able to do yoga, go swimming, go running, without worrying about the prosthetic breasts shifting out of place or getting dislodged and floating to the top of the pool. I don’t like having to move the breast forms from one bra to another every time I change.

And in case I had any doubts... the other day, Josie grabbed one of my prosthetic breasts as I was getting dressed for yoga. She ran around the house with it and wouldn’t give it back. Is there anything sillier than a woman chasing her three-year-old around the house to get her boob back? How undignified!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bandages Off!

Bandages finally came off today. The mastectomy scars don’t look as bad as I’d expected and they look like they’re healing okay. The small bandage on the skin lesion stayed on though because it’s still not healing. There are two open wounds like small holes there instead of the straight line scar that should be there. How annoying.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Chemo # 10 (Last one!)

This was my last full chemo session. After this, it’s just Herceptin, not the other chemo drugs (Carboplatin and Taxol). Herceptin doesn’t make hair fall out so my hair should start growing back soon. I’ll have to have Herceptin every three weeks for a year. Much better than weekly trips to the doc.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Chemo # 9

Second dose post-surgery. Hemoglobin a bit low (9.7; should be above 10).

Carboplatin dosage was lower today than usual because after surgery, platelet count is low. Only this second dose of the 3-dose cycle is lower -- the first and last are the same as before surgery:

Before surgery: 200 mg, 150 mg, 150 mg
After surgery: 200 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg