Up on time, out the door on time, at the front door of St. Mike’s on time, thanks to Nik! Yay!
Appointment with Dr. Jory Simpson—kind, smart, compassionate, calming, handsome—went swimmingly. It’s all good.
Bloodwork before seeing my oncologist, Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley—kind, smart, compassionate, encouraging, beautiful—during which I tried to have a read on my Vitamin D level added in, only to find it costs $110 (!!! what?!?! all the forums I’m on say be sure to get your Vitamin D levels done! who pays for that? not OHIP, so I’ll just be taking my 2,000 IU daily and hope for the best). After plenty of “me time” in the waiting room (I had a laptop, but my arm and hand are killing me…. ), my appointment with her went really well too. See answers to my questions below.
- What’s with this damn fatigue, really? It is what it is. Your body went through catastrophic systemic trauma from the cancer itself, two months of testing, four months of dose dense chemo, operations and procedures, radiation—your body needs time to heal. Cut yourself a big break. Everyone is different.
- How much longer will my right breast keep shrinking? Likely done shrinking now, but ask your radiation oncologist (August 12).
- Will my finger- and toenails ever return to normal? Not sure (the Beau-Reil lines are gone, as is the koilonychia, but they are still lifting off the nail beds and every type of nail polish bubbles up off them. Yuck. I need to find a cancer-experienced manicurist. Anyone?)
- Can I have my radiation tattoos removed, and are there any special instructions? Don’t see why not, but ask your radiation oncologist (again, next appointment with him is August 12).
- When do the docs start counting survival? At diagnosis (the doctors’ or my self-diagnosis, which are eight weeks apart? of adenocarcinoma or the real deal—triple negative breast cancer? I’m taking the date of my first chemo treatment, since up until then I was doing nothing to fight the fu**er. Asterisks for my mother and mother-in-law ;-)
- Is there anything special about survival with triple negative breast cancer that isn’t covered in the media? Nope. The first three years are the ones to beat for recurrence.
- Will I be getting any extra MRIs or scans since my tumour was never found? Nope. Just standard mammograms, next one in October. Which seems a bit nonsensical since no mammo or MRI or ultrasound or mastectomy found the tumour in the first place, and triple negative rarely comes back in breast tissue anyway.
So, Dr. Brezden gave all my head and neck lymph nodes a good manipulation, and we had a good chat about how difficult it is not to wait for the other shoe to drop. That’s my nagging feeling, which I am sure that having a hormone to take would allay, but who can say? My cancer is still in remission. I’ll see her again in December, Dr. Simpson, my oncology surgeon, in October.
Onward and upward, fatigue, chemobrain and lymphadema are the enemies of the moment now. Survivorship is the goal.
Filed under: cancer, chemo side effects, fatigue, health matters, radiation side effects, triple negative breast cancer, uncategorized | Tagged: anniversaries good and bad, anxiety, Beau-Reil lines, breast surgery, chemo nails, chemo side effects, chemobrain, chemotherapy, chemotherapy fingernails, Christine Brezden-Masley, fatigue, hate that cancer, koilonychia, mammogram, mastectomy, MRI, radiation late effects, radiation oncologist, side effects, survivorship, thriver/survivor, toenail damage, triple negative breast cancer | 4 Comments »