Adriamycin, breast cancer, breast surgeon, cancer, Cancer Kitten, Cathy, chemo, chemo schedule, cytoxan, Dana Farber, echocardiogram, FSH injections, incisions, oncologist, plastic surgeon, Radiation, wig, young woman with breast cancer
I had (more) follow-ups with the surgeons and oncologist today. I am so comfortable and excited to see them now, I whip out my boobs like I am showing off a new puppy. I even threw my clothes on the floor to show Dr. Parker what a lovely job Dr. Carter and Dr. Talbot did.
About a week ago, I peeked under one corner of an areola steri-strip and was a little scared by what I saw, so I left the steri-strips in place. This morning I felt like presenting my boobs with dirty steri-strips to the surgeons was akin to wearing dirty underwear to the gyno, so I pulled them off before driving to the hospital. What scared me about my areola incision is that it’s sutured in such a way to form a crevice. It’s hard to explain without a picture (I will work on that). Basically, to an untrained eye, it looks like Dr. T got tired at the end of my surgery. I found out today that Dr. T sutured it like that on purpose. I think as I heal and/or as time passes and my boob sags, the fold will unfold without stretching my skin, making for a less noticeable scar.
Dr. Carter deferred to Dr. Talbot re: my horseback riding timeline, which concerned me since Dr. T plays by some strict rules (which doesn’t make any sense-he’s a Kiwi). I know this because I asked him 10 days after surgery if I could play in the Steamboat hot springs with my out-of-town guests, pretty please. He responded that I could go to the hot springs if I didn’t get wet. Boo! Anyway, Dr. T said I can resume normal activities, riding included, except anything that causes me pain I need to stop. By about 8 weeks, I can push it a bit more, but we are only 4 weeks out from surgery.
Overall, both surgeons are thrilled with my results. Dr. Carter wants to see me after I finish radiation, and told me to contact her with any questions anytime. I discovered that my surgery is the first time she performed a lumpectomy through an areola incision. I am happy I could give her the experience! Dr. T told me to massage my incisions a bit, and to expect full healing (lumps to dissolve, etc.) to occur about 6-8 months out, and to contact him if I want to work on symmetry. He knows I feel that bigger is better, so he clarified that symmetry will involve lifts and reductions, not implants. (Again, Boo Dr. T!) Apparently, there is no legal timeline for this in terms of insurance coverage, so there is no rush. I asked Dr. T if there is anything in his bag of plastic surgery tricks that will help restore my hair post-chemo. I left with a Latisse prescription.
I met with Dr. Parker (my oncologist) this afternoon to get my chemo sentence. He is recommending four administrations of the A/C combo at three week intervals. I will be on a million (OK, maybe three) medications to prevent side effects, which in turn may cause side effects. Ug. Dr. Parker told me that one of those medications will be a steroid which will cause me to have a big appetite and acne. I told him I am always hungry and already have acne, so this won’t be a change. I also am having an echocardiogram tomorrow, as the Adriamycin causes heart failure over time. He needs to be certain we are starting out with a healthy heart. I won’t get a port, since I will only have four administrations of chemo.
He asked me about the situation in Steamboat, and seemed a bit concerned that the oncologist won’t actually be there when I am having chemo. (The oncologists come from Denver just twice a month). He asked who will help me if I need to be hospitalized. I explained that the chemo is administered in one area that is close to if not attached to the hospital, so things should be OK in that realm. He also asked if Dr. Cohn provided any chemo recommendations to me, and I explained that Dr. Cohn knows he is following Dr. Parker’s orders. He also asked me how I am doing emotionally with all of this, as I seem pretty calm and collected. I told him I am on the verge of tears at any moment thanks to my daily FSH injections, and that things are terrifically difficult but that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He said that it sounds like I am handling things maturely.
Dr. Parker took me down the hall to show me where the chemo is given, and explained the process. I show up, a nurse draws my blood, they prep me until the blood results are back and a doctor has reviewed them, then I get hooked up and pumped full of chemo. He said to expect to be there for half a day. He also said I will lose my hair three weeks after my first dose. Lovely! I guess this means I need to pick out a wig. Luckily I am going wig shopping on Newbury Street tomorrow.