Saturday, July 10, 2010

Again, I apologize for not keeping you up to date.  It seems that the only thing I'm good for these days is sleeping!  The doctors all say that my body is healing, so, I'm gonna run with that.

I met with Dr. Quiros Thursday & we're going to take the port out.  Let's see, how shall I put this . . . . . oh, wait, I know. 


I'm so excited.  Getting this dumb thing out marks the end of my first phase of cancer removal.  I'm fixin' to embark on the next – radiation.

First, I think I should share something with you.  If you've been reading this for a while, you know that so far, nothing has gone to plan with me.  After the mastectomy, I got a raging infection which ate the tissue expander (they put them in to stretch your skin to make reconstruction easier).  Then, when Dr. Quiros went to put the port in, he had to put it in a different spot.  What should have been a one hour procedure turned into four.

When discussing taking the port out with Dr. Quiros, he told me that he often does the procedure right there in his office.  With ME, however, he wants to do it in the hospital.  He seemed embarrassed, as he said,

"With you, however, I'd rather do it at the hospital.  I mean, you know, well, um, gee, cause, well, you know . . . .  you're you!" 

I had to put him out of his misery & told him it was ok; I understood & I agreed with him.  He seemed sooo RELIEVED when I did.  I guess I could have let him keep going, but, I like him.

Yesterday, I met with Dr. Nick Cardiges (again), my radiation oncologist.  I'm pretty sure I told you before that he's a good lookin' guy, right?  I didn't take his picture, because I had a bunch of stuff going on.

I was in the x-ray room, & I had THE BEST nurse!  Man, I could just kick myself in the rear for forgetting her name (I'll get it the next time as well & maybe her picture).  Honestly, I was trying to keep track of all the stuff she was having me do.  The biggest one was to LIE STILL!  Yikes!  Me?  Be still?  Holy cows, that was hard to do.

I was going there to get tattooed.   Basically, they use tiny tattoos to mark the area to be radiated.  Rather than try to explain in my air headed, Lucy way, I looked up Dr. Jay Harris, who 'splained it way better than I can:

Jay Harris, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Question: What are tattoos used in radiation treatment planning and are they permanent?
Dr. Jay Harris answers the question: Why Use Tattoos in Radiation Treatment?
Answer: Most institutions do tattoos. And I know the term conjures up large roses, or other images. But in fact, the tattoos that are used are pinpoint marks, which mark the edges of the field. In radiation therapy, one of the most important aspects of the treatment is precision. And, the use of tattoos is an important aid in helping to make sure that your treatments are going to be done precisely, the same way each day.
The tattoos also can be important in your future care, in that sometimes situations arise, and it is important to know with precision where you had previously received radiation since we're not able to give radiation to the same area, except in very special circumstances. So this information can be very important to your health in the future. We recommend that tattoos be placed -- typically five of them -- these dots are placed, and that patients keep them on. There are now plastic surgical approaches which can remove these. And, currently, for the reasons that I've given, we advise patients not to do this. And for the most part, given how small these marks are, patients are convinced that this is in their best interest, to keep them.

So, there you go.  What happened to me yesterday & why.  Honestly, it was NOOOOO big deal!  If you've ever had your skin pricked with a needle, that's pretty much what it feels like.  Not a big deal.

And, when Dr. Morrissey tattoos colour for a nipple on my new, majestically large boob, I can have him put an arrow on it, saying something like, "you are here".  Maybe with an X to mark the spot if I'm particularly silly that day. 

OK, here's what's upcoming:

Today, met with family doctor, Dr. Ruth (yes, that's his REAL name) to keep him posted.

Monday, July 19th:  More x-rays & stuff @ Dr. Cardiges;

Tuesday, July 20th:  PORT COMES OUT @ hospital;

Wednesday, July 21st:  Day off in case something happens & I end up staying the night at the hospital – you know, the whole Lucy thing; and

Thursday, July 22nd:  Off to the races!  Going to have 6 weeks of radiation.  Hopefully, I'll tolerate it well, & won't burn.  I'll keep you posted.

OK, happy campers, that's all I have – for now.  I promise, you'll see another post before the 19th.  Until then, I'm off to take another nap – sigh.

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