Sunday, June 27, 2010


Boy, sometimes I can take FOREVER to write to y’all!  As you know, though, I got my last shot of Neulasta.  That translates to me being very sick & tired.  Lots of naps.  I’m getting better, though, & celebrating the fact that it was my LAST one!!  Woo Hoo!

Here’s what’s happened since I wrote last.

On Tuesday, the 15th, I met with my oncological surgeon, Dr. Quiros.  For those of you who haven’t seen him yet, here he is:

Isn’t he adorable??  And very, very sweet.  Bonus, according to the surgical nurses at St. Luke’s, both he & Dr. Morrissey (my booby daddy) are two of the best surgeons there. 

Hey, I have to do SOMETHING while waiting to be operated on.  So I talk to all the nurses & other patients in the pre-op room.  As IF you didn’t know or expect that already!  They spill like a glass of milk on a ship in the middle of a hurricane.

Anyway, he’s very pleased that I’m done with chemo.  However, he couldn’t take out the stupid chemo port until after he got the ok from Capt. Compassion.  Boogers. 

Guess what – on occasion & under the right circumstances, Dr. Quiros can take the port out in his very own office.  After he shared that little tid bit of information, though, he kind of grinned & said,

“YOU, however, I’ll do in the hospital”.

He explained that because nothing has ever gone according to plan when it comes to operating on me, he'd rather both he & I be safe.  When he originally installed the port, it was supposed to be a quick operation.  Instead, it took hours & I spent the night at the hospital, since he couldn’t place it where he originally planned.  He spoke to Matt after surgery & laughed; he didn’t know why it would surprise him that things didn’t go to plan.  “After all”, he said, “its Tamara.  Or, should I say, Lucy”.

Wednesday, I saw Dr. Morrissey, my booby daddy.  He’s just keeping tabs on me because he’s never had a patient like me.  He says he means that in the nicest way, but, still.  It’s kinda unnerving when your surgeon wants to keep an eye on you because you make him nervous – just being you.  Sigh.

I asked him about the TRAM flap, which is a way of reconstructing my breast.  He told me that he really has no idea what he's going to do.  It all depends upon my skin after the radiation.  Some folk's skin kind of shrivels up.  Here're two photos of "after" radiation.  The first one is kind of gross, so, you're warned:

Here's another example.  However, as you can see, after one month, this lady's breast is just about the same.  She didn't have a mastectomy, but you still get the idea of her skin before & after.
 So there you can see the reason Dr. Morrissey has no idea how my skin is going to respond.  He says most women get back to pretty much normal, but the amount of time it takes for one may not be the same for the other.  We've decided to wait until after Christmas. 

I mean, think about all the holidays & vacations me & this stupid breast cancer have managed to screw up.  And not for me, but my family.  My babies have put up with so much, & you'd never know it.  They act like it's nothing.  Folks, I'm one of the luckiest mommy's on the planet.  My kids have gone out of their way to make me feel that this is nothing; just a blurb.

Still, I had the mastectomy a few days before Thanksgiving.  Christmas Eve, I got a raging fever (104.1 & rising steadily) & my incision was leaking buckets.  Christmas Day I wasn't even conscious.  The day after Christmas I was in the hospital being operated on due to a major staph infection.  The staph infection ate the tissue expander, which resulted in it being taken out. Morrissey said he'd never seen anything like it.  Of course not, I'm Lucy (which he said, too).  Trust me, folks, he's done a lot of surgeries, & for him to say that, he really meant it.  He explained that it was kind of like picking toothpicks out of a haystack, it was so badly damaged. 

There was another surgery due to the staph infection, & a lengthy hospital visit sometime after Christmas.  Dr. Morrissey wanted to keep the wound open & packed, plus he wanted me on IV antibiotics.  After 5 days in the hospital, he allowed me to go home, but only if I had a visiting nurse every day to clean out the wound.

Next, I had to have surgery to close the incision.  Of course, this was during our area's biggest snow storm ever – aaagggghhhh!  You can read about that little episode in "Surgery in a Snowstorm"

Then, I started chemo, followed by my darling (she says sarcastically) shot of Neulasta.  There was no way I could go on vacation to the shore with the rest of my family. 

I've completed chemo (woo hoo), but am about to begin radiation.  With my luck, something will happen, & plans to go up to the Bushkill house will swirl the drain & finally complete the process by going straight down it.

Now, on the bright side, Matt found this really cool house in Maryland.  It's near the beach, the Harbour, Washington DC, & a million other cool places for us to visit.  Here's a picture:

We're hoping to go there in October (unless something else goes horribly, Lucily wrong), which will be the anniversary after receiving my diagnosis.  Rather than having October always be a suck month in the minds of our children forever, we figured going on vacation & "doing it up" will change the stigma of October.  Keep your fingers crossed, or if you don't mind, would you say a prayer that it all works out for us to go?

I'm going continue being patient, & wait until after Christmas & New Year's to even begin to schedule reconstruction.  I know, it boggles the mind that I could possibly possess a thimble's worth of patience. 

The thing is, I only want to have reconstruction done once.  And I want it done spectacularly.  Plus, not having to have a tissue expander gives me the freedom to pick & choose the size of boobies I'll get, without the discomfort of expanding my skin.  Do I want Dolly Parton, watermelon sized (each) boobs, or do I want a pair of "D"'s?

See, I'll have time to make those decisions.  Of course, I plan to take Michele (Ethel) with me to lingerie shops.  Oops, I forgot to tell her about it.  Heads up, Michele!  We'll come armed with bushels of toilet paper, & I'm going to try on bras in all sizes.  Maybe Morrissey will give me some silicone fakies to take instead of the toilet paper.  You know what?  I'm pretty sure he has them.  So, I'll take them instead.  My friend, Shellie, told me not to go too big.  She has that problem & doesn't want me to go nuts.  Shellie, I'll try to keep your words of wisdom in my Lucy brain – honest!  Just remember whose brain we're talking about here!!!!

'Nuther Update!

Dr. Quiros got the ok from Capt. Compassion to take out my chemo port.  I meet with him this Tuesday, the 29th.  We'll set up time for surgery, & then at the beginning of July, I'll get myself mapped for radiation.

All in all, I'm pretty darned happy.  The doctors don't think that the cancer has spread.  Dr. Quiros wants me to have the remaining left breast mammogramed – a lot.  I have one scheduled for September 10th.  I'll be going to St. Luke's Regional Breast Health Center in Center Valley.

Bonus, I get to see (I HOPE) The best nurse in the world, Sue Folk & Dr. Evil, Laurie Sebastiano.
Trust me folks, she's so NOT evil.  She's the best darned radiologist that ever lived.  And Susan could make even the most nervous person calm.  I can't wait til I can take those two women out for lunch.  They were both there during the worst time of my life, & they did their dead level best to make me feel better.   All of the women there are the women you want in your life when you hear the devastating news.

So, now you're up to speed.  I'm hoping that I'll get the port out soon, then let's get this radiation done!!  Plus, I have to work on my book & get back to writing full time for the Allentown Examiner.

Talk to you later!!!

No comments:

My guestbook