Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First Follow Up Following Surgery

JC drove me to see Dr. Cross yesterday to get my bandages removed.  Let's just say getting something off my chest definitely changed my appearance.  Very strange.  Thankfully, according to Dr. Cross and his nurse, everything looked great.  No bruising, swelling, or redness.  Staples are all holding and the drain is hanging in there...literally.  Staples will be removed in about a week and a half, and the drain will hopefully go before then.

We had lots to talk about.  They gave me a copy of the pathology report from the surgery.  It makes for an interesting read, although can be quite odd reading so many details about a part of one's own body, including that foreign part that got me into this mess in the first place.  Somehow, the clinical terminology in a report like this does help make it seem less personal and thus, less traumatic.  The best wording on the whole report was the description of the 3 lymph nodes..."no evidence of malignancy" repeated three times.  Love, love, love those words.   

Of course, Dr. Cross was delighted that my lymph nodes were clear, but that doesn't mean I get to skip more chemotherapy.  Exactly what kind will be determined once he gets the results from Rational Therapeutics (who, by the way, received my tumor the day following surgery and called to report that it was a "perfect" specimen.  Now they are trying every sort of chemo combination with it to discovery which one kills it best).  With my aggressive and high grade tumor, chemotherapy will insure that this cancer has not spread via the bloodstream (since we know the nodes are clear).  Whether or not I will receive radiation is still to be determined.  Also, due to a variety of criteria that I meet, some of my cancerous tissue will be sent away for Oncotype DX testing, which will help make future decisions in my treatment and overall prognosis.  With all this testing going on, they should know exactly, without a doubt, what to do with me.  Right?  Let's hope so.

We briefly discussed my next surgery, which won't occur for quite a while.  It will be for removal of the right breast, with reconstruction of both, and will most likely take place next summer.  Dr. Cross is already contemplating how this will occur, considering that I am so thin and don't have a lot of spare flesh.  He was trying to figure out how things will be moved around to adjust for this, then decided to worry about that at a later date.  First things first.

Right now I am looking forward to the removal of this drain in my left side.  Along with being seriously awkward, it's quite uncomfortable and can even be painful...sometimes to the point of feeling like I am being impaled with a rubber tube.  Oh, wait...I am. 

Overall, though, I am doing quite well, just really tired and still depending on an occasional Percocet to manage pain.  I find it odd that I feel pain, when large areas of my left side and arm are completely numb, and, apparently, will be for some time...like maybe forever.  (Seriously?!)  I tend to wake up very stiff and sore and almost need someone to push me into an upright position.  It's depressing how quickly I've lost muscle tone and strength during this whole thing.  Just a few months ago I was in pretty good shape.  I've got to start doing something about that...baby steps, I guess.

Baby steps, one day at a time, one hurdle at a time...all moving forward...away from cancer.  Moving backwards is not allowed.  As long as each step I take leads towards healing, I'm a happy camper.


  1. Great news...great report! Praise the Lord!

  2. I am so glad to hear you are being cared for so well by the professionals! Even happier that no malignancy was found in the lymph nodes. Such good news! Take care of yourself and take time to heal. Love you!

  3. So glad to hear the good reports! Will keep praying for your recovery. Love you, Patti!

  4. Finally got caught up with your blog. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us - somehow it makes my heart feel better to know yours. :)
    Miss you bunches at school, but think of and pray for you every time I look at that bracelet on my wrist. Love you!