Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Long Day!/Very Long Post

Yesterday was a long day for me as I had three doctor appointments. I missed my nap, darn it! LOL so I was too tired last night to blog.

My first appointment was with John(we are on a first name basis now haha), Dr. Hijjawi, the plastic surgeon. He removed the final drain from one side but not the other. The reason being,,,,,, unfortunately, I have some necrotic(dying) tissue on one side that does not look as if it will live. What that means is he needs to go in and get rid of that dead tissue and connect healthy tissues together. It is a simple 30-minute procedure done in day surgery. It is a fixable problem, a complication that can occur when doing this kind of surgery. We were aware of that going into this. The problem is the tissue is kind of a large area,so this will set back my reconstruction several months because we are basically starting from scratch and expanding my skin from scratch. Not what I had hoped,but hey, it could be worse,right? I am REALLY not looking forward to anesthesia AT ALL, but hoping that because it is so short I won't have the same side effects as I did during initial surgery. I even asked if I could be awake,and he kind of chuckled and said "welllll, if you really want to to, but I think you should be sleeping." This is scheduled for this Friday morning.

My second visit was with the surgeons nurse practitioner. This was just a short follow-up visit, no big deal. She briefly went over the pathology report.

My third visit was with oncology. Dr.Charlson is my oncologist, whom I immediately liked. I also met with a Dr. Hake, who I also really like. We discussed my pathology report and options available to me for chemotherapy treatment.
My tumor turned out to be larger than what was seen on any of the imaging (a good lesson in that imaging does not always show what is really there). I am very fortunate to not have any lymph node involvement, but because of the tumor size, chemotherapy was recommended for me, and looking at the statistics of having chemo versus not having chemo, it really is a no brainer. With chemotherapy and hormone therapy (more on hormone therapy later) my chance of recurrence goes dramatically down.
The good news about the treatment they have recommended to me is that I will only need 4 cycles of drugs. (chemo can be anywhere from 4-8 cycles). Four doesn't sound too bad. I will have chemo 1 time every 3 weeks. The usual regimen includes 3 drugs. For me, one of the drugs has no benefit versus risk, meaning the risk and the benefit wash each other out, it really is not going to make a difference if I have it or not. It was a nasty drug anyway, from what I have read.
The two drugs they are using are Taxotere and Cytoxan, very common chemotherapy breast cancer fighting drugs. Because of this little extra reconstruction on Friday, chemo will not be started until 3-4 weeks after this surgery (end of October). I will also need a port line placed for lab work and chemo administration. That is a permanent line that stays in and is easily accessible for any kind of lab draws or injections. I now have limited access for veins. Because of the bilateral mastectomy and the removal of lymph nodes, they can not use either of my arms for intravenous lines or lab draws. My feet and neck are the only options. We are hoping that that line will be placed during my reconstruction on Friday. One less trip to the OR with anesthesia is the thought.
Whew! Told you it was a long post. I had a ton of information thrown at me yesterday, I was pretty prepared for what I heard (of course I had heard all these drug names and researched chemotherapy before going in). Poor John looked kind of lost in the sea with all the information they were talking about. He did pretty well though, and got the jist of what was going on. LOL It was good to have two sets of ears to hear all this information. When talking later he remembered things that I couldn't and vice versa.

That's it for today, I have a little sewing project I need to work on this morning (I will tell you about that another time) before the Young and the Restless. :)
On a side note, honeycrisp apples are in season right now. They are the best!!!

Thanks to all of you for the meals, cards, gifts, phone calls, emails, texts, rides, voicemails, visits, coffee, etc. I am a little overwhelmed with all of the kindness and generosity right now. Our family really appreciates everything that everyone has done for us. You guys are the best!!!!!

3 comments:

tammy kloehn said...

Gail,
Your strength is amazing! Best of luck for your surgery on Friday. I will be thinking of you. I am all for cocktails, let me know when you are up for some!!

Stay strong,
Tammy Kloehn

sharon nelson said...

Gail:
It sounds like a very long day. I am glad they are fixing the tissue. I hope this procedure goes smooth.
Sorry it has been a few days since I contacted you, but you know how life at our house is always smooth and easy

Sharon Nelson

Anonymous said...

Gail,

We need to talk! Wow, what a lot to take in yesterday. As stated by so many friends, your attitude and strength is amazing. Please give me a call tomorrow so I can hear first hand what you may need. I think of you often. Lisa