Results from the one-year goodbye-to-breasts-and-lymph-nodes-surgery appointment

 

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.

  1. 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.
  2. How much longer will my right breast keep shrinking? Likely done shrinking now, but ask your radiation oncologist (August 12).
  3. 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?)
  4. 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).
  5. 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 😉
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

My life as a sloth: Now, this is funny!

That was a depressing post yesterday because I was, well, depressed. I did as I said I should, which was go look at cute animal videos, and found this one.

It is very cute, very funny, and pretty loaded with swear words and inappropriate things, but it made me howl with laughter, so here goes. You are forewarned.

 

True Facts about Sloths

 

I hope you liked it! The creator has many more: check him out on YouTube.

 

True facts about my status

I have a double-barrelled day of fun tomorrow: follow-up appointments with my oncology surgeon (one-year anniversary of my bilateral partial mastectomy and lymph node dissection) in the morning, and with my oncologist in the afternoon. I think there’s bloodwork in there, but no mammogram.

I’ve made a brief list of subjects to touch on:

  1. What’s with this damn fatigue, really?
  2. How much longer will my right breast keep shrinking?
  3. Will my finger- and toenails ever return to normal?
  4. Can I have my radiation tattoos removed, and are there any special instructions?
  5. When do the docs start counting survival?
  6. Is there anything special about survival with triple negative breast cancer that isn’t covered in the media?
  7. Will I be getting any extra MRIs or scans since my tumour was never found?

That’s all I’ve got right now. I’m not worried so far.

Wish me luck!

 

 

My life as a sloth: What else did I miss?

Still a fairly constant state for me. And no actual attribution for this photo other than galleryhip.com, which seems to be a place to post pics you've stolen from someone else. Sigh.

Still a fairly constant state for me. And no actual attribution for this photo other than galleryhip.com, which seems to be a place to post pics you’ve stolen from someone else. Sigh.

Sometimes I read my last post and ask myself, “What was I on?” I sound so alert. That’s when I realize that when I am awake and up and moving, I am still a force to be reckoned with. Then there are days like today, when cats Benny and Angel escaped through the front door only to appear on the 10-foot-high kitchen ledge, demanding rescue. I stumbled into the backyard to get them and found a flower garden gone wild: forget-me-nots, phlox, end-stage lilacs, raspberry bushes pushing through the deck, Some plants (of course they are weeds) are as tall as me. When was the last time I was out here?

My lily of the valley? All dead.

What time is it? I start harvesting my lily of the valley by the bucketful when they first blossom, I take them to the office, day after day, doling them out. The kids pick them and bring them in the house, stuck in vases and mugs and Mason jars. There are gobs of them every year on my birthday, May 31. Where have I been?

I got the kitties, and called the clinic to check on my rescheduled followup—one year from my May 22 goodbye breast and lymph nodes surgery—only to find it was this morning at 8. Sorry, missed that.

I missed celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day, which was last Sunday, which I didn’t even know about until 9 p.m. that day (where was the memo on that one?!?!). I missed going to Animé North, the annual convention and celebration of Japanese culture through anime, manga, music, games, cosplay, costumes, etc. with Luka for the second year in a row (both times because of breast surgery, go figure). I missed the Sunnylea Spring Fair, a really sweet fair at the kids’ primary school where I manned the cookie decorating booth for a decade and always donated plates of my fancy iced cookies to the bake sale. I missed picking up my Tessa at the airport from her last sojourn to Russia, the only time I have not greeted her at the arrivals gate, and this time she came back as an engaged woman! (surgery again).

Ug. I am low. I am so sad about the damn lily of the valley. I must go sleep or find some cute baby animal videos on YouTube.