Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Third Time's The Charm?

The verdict is in...although my surgeon thinks the area is healing, he feels we need to go ahead with the minor surgery.  My healing capabilities last time proved to be an up and down battle that finally ended with me needing the skin grafts.  He is wary of letting this go and having it become a problem like last time.

The good news is that it will be done in the surgical suite connected to his office, and I will receive a "twilight" anesthesia which will enable me to walk out of there in just a few hours.  The surgery starts at 1 pm, and with time there for recovery, he believes I should be out and home by 3 pm.  I am hoping that this will indeed be the end of it and complete healing can finally take place.  My left breast is doing fine (that's the one that had the cancer), and surprisingly it is the right breast that is having skin problems.

It is getting to the point where we feel like "family" when we walk into this office.  They have called us their "favorite patients". My husband, ever the comedian, always has a joke for the girls at the desk and has a good rapport with the surgeon.  We know two of the girls at the office from our town so there was some initial familiarity there from the beginning.  They are the nicest people and all of them call us by our first names and keep telling me that they are "pulling for me" and just know that this will be the turning point.  I certainly hope so.

With all this going on, I completely forgot about my second 3 week cycle of Herceptin on Friday.  I was at work when my cell phone rang and I saw it was from my oncologist's office.  Here I am wondering why they were calling, and they were wondering why I didn't show up!  I was supposed to go to the surgeon's to have him look at that "misbehaving skin", so I quickly had to change that appointment, run to the chemo ballroom, then run to the surgeon's afterward.  It was a crazy day and I couldn't believe I had forgotten about my treatment.  My calendar is just full of doctor appointments and stuff to remember...somehow I just went on autopilot.

I was glad that the Herceptin infusion did not take that long.  I no longer have to get benedryl before the Herceptin, so all I needed was the 15 minute flush, and then the hour and a half for the Herceptin itself.  Altogether, I was out of there within three and half hours.  Remarkable!  But I am still somewhat anemic, and I need to have another muga scan before the next Herceptin treatment.  My oncologist wants to ensure that my heart ejection rate doesn't fall again.  I have noticed since the last treatment that the muscle aches and pains are back already.  I feel it also in all my joints.  I am hoping it will ease before the next treatment as I don't want to anticipate six more months of feeling like this.

You're right...this sure hasn't been easy.  I'm sure there are others who have it worse; but I sure would have liked it to have been better.

In spite of all this, I find I can still smile and know that my doctors are doing their best.  My body has "taken a licking, but it keeps on ticking".  I have a tattoo on my inner right ankle of an ichthus (also called the "Jesus fish") and when anyone asks how I keep going, I just point to my ankle.  Somehow, it seems like fate that one day last summer that my son and I decided to get matching tattoos in different places.  Mine is in a perfect place to see whether I am sitting or lying down; so it is a good reminder of strength and peace.  After this is all done, I am going to add a pink ribbon around my tattoo as a reminder of what kept me going.

I am also hoping to be able to participate in a breast cancer walk at a local college in October.  I am going to get a group together from our church and the preschool and it should be fun and all for a worth-while cause.

So, I am hoping that "third time's the charm" and this will be the turning point in the healing process.  I'll just keep looking at that tattoo. 

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