A journal of my experiences with breast cancer to inform those who are interested and to help any one else who might have just been diagnosed.

“[She] will have no fear of bad news; [her] heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Margins Are Clear!

do not be afraid
Oh, happy day! Had the follow-up with the surgeon and he got tissue all the way back to the muscle wall, and he did retrieve some DCIS cells in the tissue. The margins are well clear this time, however, so we are good to go with the radiation in about a month. All of this and I still don't look too lopsided yet. : )

Thank you all so much for your prayers and blessings.
I also wanted to mention that a bloggy friend of mine has started a new linkup, you-all might like to join.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

The Re-Incision

Well, I can pretty much say that my re-incision surgery in Delaware was about as opposite as you can get to the one in Tennessee. The differences also embody the stereotypical differences between the north and the south. This hospital was quick, efficient but not as friendly whereas Sycamore Shoals was warm and empathetic, but not always the most able in terms of getting the job done. 
Sample image 1
Joseph M. Belgrade, M.D.When we arrived at Christiana Surgicenter at 10:30, the waiting room was quite full with all sorts of people, including small children. On the wall was a large screen that had rows of numbers, which turned out to be patient numbers, on it and beside the numbers were the status of each patient. Steven commented, "I hope our flight isn't late." It truly did seem like an airport flight list. No one but the patients and the medical staff were allowed behind the doors, even for the pre-op preparations. It was all the things to raise my anxiety. It was a wonder that my blood pressure turned out to be a low-normal!
After all the undressing and dressing into gowns, the pre-op paper work and general medical information gathering (blood pressure, temperature, pulse, etc.), the anesthesiologist came in and reviewed what would be happening. The surgeon came in to see if I had any questions, which I didn't. He seemed very different from how he was when I met him in his office. In his office he had seemed efficient but not very warm. He seemed very happy and very concerned with me and how I was feeling. It seemed as if he loved his job, which I guess is what you want in a surgeon. Next I was escorted to a smaller waiting room with others of us in our hospital gowns and surgery caps. This was the worst part in terms of anxiety. It almost seemed ridiculous, it was so un-calming.  
After a short wait, that seemed unbearably long, I was escorted to the operating room and was introduced to everyone in the room, which was about eight people altogether. (It is a teaching hospital, so there were a student doctor and a student anesthesiologist.) I laid down on the operating table and they got things ready for the surgery and soon I was getting the anesthesia in my IV and the next thing I knew I was in the recovery room.
I had explained to them about my severe dizziness and nausea that I had experienced post surgery for the lumpectomy, so they had given me medication to prevent it from happening again. It must have worked because I was much better this time. They gave me Coke and saltines to settle my stomach and that is all I needed. I was in some pain so they gave me a pain reliever and then I was ready to go home. Steven was soon there and it wasn't long before I was in a wheelchair and wheeled out to the van to go home.
It was good to be home, and it was good for it to be over. I must say that I am feeling a bit lighter on the one side, so he must have taken a good chunk. : ) I will know in a week whether the margins are clear.
Please keep us in your prayers.

“O our God… we have no power to face this… We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” 
2 Chron. 20:12

Friday, March 1, 2013

Oncotype and Tamoxifen

We went over the results of the Oncotype test in more detail today. The score range is from 0-100 and mine was a re-occurance score of 13! This means that, according to clinical studies, those with my Oncotype profile that took Tamoxifen (hormonal chemotherapy) for five years, 6-11%, (with an average of 8%) had a re-occurance of cancer, or rather, about 92% did not have a re-occurance of cancer.
Also, I thought it was interesting to find out that not only did the traditional chemotherapy not help with reducing re-occurance, but that in about 2% of the cases it actually caused re-occurance!
I can start the Tamoxifen any time from today to when I start radiation therapy after I have finished healing from the surgery. I elected to wait until I recovered at least some from the surgery.

1000 Paper Cranes

Katie has started the project of making 1000 paper cranes.
"An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane. Some stories believe you are granted eternal good luck, instead of just one wish, such as long life or recovery from illness or injury."