Sunday, February 20, 2005

Post Surgery

The results from the surgery were the best that could be expected. The sentinel node biopsy was negative for tumor and the margins of the tissue excised were free of tumor. Under the circumstances, that was a great relief. I went to the hospital early in the morning for a nuclear scan to identify the sentinel node (that was the only really painful part of the day - the injection of the material for the scan). From there I went to the stereotactic procedure room to have a probe inserted to the tumor site. Then back to nuclear medicine to have films of the sentinel node. Then finally about 2 p.m. to surgery. Of course, the next I remember was being in the Recovery Room and trying to claw my way out of the anesthetic.

John and Jean either followed me around the hospital, tried to find me in the hospital, or just waited. Margaret and FO Richardson and Betty Harper spent time with them in the waiting area. We finally got home about 6:30 that night.

I didn't sleep much that night, but managed a couple of pretty good "chair naps" during the day on Saturday. Vicki came by in the morning and brought delicious potato soup for our lunch. Betty H. came and brought us a wonderful dinner. Beautiful flowers were delivered - I do so enjoy those. I had just some discomfort during the day. Jean undid the Ace wrapping around my breasts so I could take a shower, and that was wonderful. There are two incisions, neither looking to be too large. She got me wrapped back up. John went to see the Lady Mocs play - they beat Elon. I slept well last night.

Today was a grey, drizzly day - all day long. I've found that although I don't have much pain, everytime I get up and move around too much, I get really weak - guess that's just the anesthesia talking back. That'll take a while to wear off. I got another good nap, and finished the Tony Hillerman book I'd been reading. Judy McCain came by and brought us a great pot-roast dinner. We haven't eaten this well in ages...and even will have good leftovers.

Jean left about noon today. Beth is going to try to come down tomorrow or Tuesday for a couple of days. I know that I'm going to be pretty much a stay-at-home for the week - no basketball game tomorrow night - until this anesthesia all wears off. I call tomorrow to make my followup appointment and see what the treatment plan will be from this point.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

On the road to surgery

John and I went to the surgeon yesterday. The site from the needle biopsy had healed satisfactorily. We talked about the diagnosis, Stage II invasive ductal carcinoma, the suggested treatment, and probable followup.

His recommendation is a nuclear scan to pinpoint the so-called sentinel nodes (nodes that would be the most likely sites of any movement of tumor), followed by lumpectomy. Assuming that the pathology reports showed the tumor margins to be clear and the nodes to be free of tumor, this would be followed approximately two weeks later by 4-7 weeks of radiation treatments (5 days a week).

The scan and surgery have been scheduled for Friday, 18 February. He does not envision any chemotherapy, but if this is necessary, it would be done prior to radiation therapy. After the surgery and after the pathology reports are in and after the surgical sites have healed, I'll be referred to a radiological oncologist and/or a medical oncologist for further treatment. We really can't get too far ahead with this. Each new step is based upon findings from the previous step, so everything except Friday's scan and surgery is speculation. Minimum treatment at this time is lumpectomy followed by radiation. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Jean (our youngest daughter) has decided that she's going to be coming down from Nashville on Thursday through Sunday to help out. I know she will be a help, and I know it'll make her happy to see just what's happening to her mother. If nothing else, it's gotten her to make an appointment for her mammogram and pap smear.

I've done some painting - and that's a good thing. I really haven't done much in a long time. Oue neighbor send me some flowers, and I've been doing watercolors of those on cards. I need to do some of the big splashy acrylics, too. Margaret sent a photo of the two smaller ones that I did to go with her big one in the den. They look great!

John has a miserable cold. He's all stopped up and coughing. I hope he gets over that soon.

We'll be going to the Photographic Society tonight. The program is on digital photography, and I need all the help I can get with the new camera.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Good news/Bad news

John and I went to take courses at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC (near Murphy, NC). That is such an incredible place - all sorts of classes in various arts and crafts - knitting, weaving, spinning, painting, woodworking, cooking, music, making musical instruments, photography, pottery, blacksmithing, etc., etc. John wanted to take a class in wood-turning, so I went, too, and took a class in gourd decorating. We both had a lot of fun, learned lots, and probably won't do those particular crafts again. We're ready to go back to the Folk School again, though, and take some other courses.

For the bad news: I had my annual mammogram in January. They called me back to make more films, and some irregularities were found. Last Tuesday, I had a stereotactic needle biopsy done, and the results showed malignancy. This has definitely not been a happy week for us and our family. It's the first time anyone in our immediate family has had to deal with a diagnosis like this. John and I have been to talk to the people at the Breast Resource Center at the hospital, and have been given more general information than we can digest. I know very little about my cancer specifically at this point. I have a followup appointment with the surgeon tomorrow morning. I hope at that time, we'll get lots more specific information, with options and recommendations, so we can make decisions as to the type and timing of treatment. I'm trying very hard not to do excessive worrying when I don't know what I'm worrying about. And I'm also trying to keep from jumping too far ahead before I have enough information.

I have a fanastic support system - my wonderful John, our daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren, my dear friends in person, and my virtual friends on SeniorNet. I know I'm going to be depending on them for all the love and support they can give me in the weeks and months ahead.