Friday, December 18, 2009

Time to catch up on what's been going on!

Sorry I haven’t been vigilant in writing to you.  I’ve been trying to concentrate on going to all the doctor’s appointments, visiting the hospital for all my various & sundry testing, & TRYING to get Christmas things done.  I’m going to write over the next few days to get you caught up.

We’re braced for a huge snow storm tomorrow, so I should be able to tell you all about what’s been going on.  They’re calling for a possible 1-2 feet.  Gotta be honest, here, that sounds very, very good to me & the kids.  We made sure we have all the provisions we could possibly need to finish making the house Christmas ready.  That includes cookie making supplies, wrapping paper, & fresh greens to make garlands.  Boy, I’m looking forward to it!

This first entry will be about our meeting with my oncologist.  I’ll catch you up to “fun & games with blonde wigs”, my shopping date with my daughter, Elyse (aka Mommy Nazi), & my series of tests that my other daughter, Aubrie, had the “pleasure” (cough, cough) of chauffeuring me to.

Matt & I met with Dr. Nakajima, my oncologist, on Monday, December 14th.  Boy was I nervous.  Here’s a picture of him with his nurse practitioner, Sue Gorman.  She’s Dr. Nakajima’s Charity.  I don’t know her all that well yet, but she seems nice.  However, Charity is a HARD act to follow in more ways than one.

Dr. Nakajima was very frank with Matt & me.  Possibly a little TOO frank for Matt’s taste.  Basically, he said that my cancer is very aggressive, & that we need to go after it as such.  He also let us know that the odds of it recurring in my other breast are about 40 – 45% & that if it spreads to any other organs, I’ll die.  Yup – he said that.  As you may imagine, Matt wasn’t very thrilled about that statement.  I think the doctor was trying to be very open & honest.  I can’t tell you what was going through Matt’s mind at that very moment, but I had a good idea.  I heard ALL about it on the car ride home.  Honestly, who could blame him?  Apparently, he’s accustomed to my face & having a doctor be so very blunt about the possibility of not seeing it outraged him. 

For me, I think the doctor was trying to do his job.  He was very pleasant & nice, & I believe he was trying to impress upon us the importance of doing all the right things.  However, I, too, felt that using the word “die” in a first meeting might not have been the best thing to say.

Being near Philadelphia, I’m close to Fox Chase Cancer Center & Cancer Centers of America, as well as other reputable cancer centers.  If we’re not comfortable with the doctor, we have options.  I won’t rule out checking into them.

Ladies, even if you don’t live near a big city or close to a specialized cancer center, you, too, have OPTIONS!  If you’re not happy with a doctor, a surgeon, an oncologist, whatever, you’re not obligated to continue to see him or her.  Use the internet & check out Breast Cancer. Org, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, & the American Cancer Society.  There’re many others; all you have to do is Google “breast cancer”.

This is your health, your life, your decisions.  If you need someone to talk to or to brainstorm with, contact me!  I might not be able to help, but I’ll try to find someone who can.  At the very least, we can try to find a starting point.  Don’t give up!!

And don’t forget to ask your doctor’s office for recommendations as well.  Hopefully, you’ll have someone like the talented, resourceful & beautiful Sue Folk that will look under every rock for help & advice.  No matter what you hear on the news, there’re plenty of programs already in place to help you.  Her & my Dr. Evil (Laurie Sebastiano, who is as far from evil as you can get – I just tease her) work from St. Luke’s Regional Breast Health Center in Center Valley.  Please, if you’re nervous about having a mammogram, go there.  They’re the best.

Dr. Nakajima has me going through a series of tests prior to beginning chemotherapy.  Chemo can wreak havoc with your heart, lungs & bones, so a baseline scan is in order for all three.  In all seriousness, though, chemo is poison.  So, I’ve got to be in the best of health to go through it.

Here’s where I’m going to leave off for tonight.  I’ll post the “rest of the story” soon!  In the meantime, if you live in eastern PA, have fun in the snow tomorrow!

Oh, & guess what else??  We just heard on the news that there’s a very good possibility of snow on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.  I’m looking at that as a sign that everything will be all right.  Because it will be.

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