Monday, November 5, 2012

Sometimes You Just Wanna Say "Grrrr..."

It's been several days since the actual surgery, which really was my second "lumpectomy" so I'm starting to feel like a pro. The difference this time is that the surgeon also removed some lymph nodes, so now I have two incisions on my left side, one of which is right through the middle of my armpit. Imagine how awesome that feels.

Last surgery, I took the bandages off right at the 2-day mark like the doctors said I could. I think that this caused me to think I was better than I was and I didn't take it easy like I should have. So this time, I decided not to take off the bandages until the 4-day mark. This was really hard for several reasons: (1) It meant no shower...I'm sure that I smelled terrific, and was considering burning my comfy flannel PJs by Saturday night. (2) The surgical tape ITCHED like a son of a bitch. (3) The tape stuck to my armpit HURT every time I moved my arm. 

But I waited, and when I finally took a shower and peeled off the bandages (which come off easily with warm water, even though normally they appear to be a NASA-grade variety of duct tape), I discovered: (1) It wasn't the tape making my armpit was the 3 inch SLICE right through the middle of it. (2) The original lumpectomy scar is now twice as long...yippee! (3) I think I might have permanent remnants of the surgical tape on my skin because I left it on so long. Oh well.

Saturday I received a call from my oncologist, because the surgeon is out of town. He had results from the biopsy and wanted to call me himself. And this is the part that makes you want to say "Grrrr..." because I'm not sure that I really know anything. Apparently the surgeon took out 4 lymph nodes, not 2 (Keith fired for not remembering that detail). Biopsy shows that 1 of the 4 lymph nodes shows cancer cells...but this isn't bad because apparently cancer cells in this case don't necessarily equal cancer (it's not enough of them? Cells not organized?). Don't really know, because silly me for thinking cancer actually equals cancer, and we were hoping to avoid the lymph nodes, but he seemed to think this was a positive result. (Of course, I should have asked what his scale of positive was). However, the lumpectomy site still showed cancer, with margins that were not "good" so he thinks the surgeon will want to go back in AGAIN and scrape out more. GRRRRR!

And I still don't know what this means for further treatment because the surgeon is out of town and she drives the next step. But apparently there is a Breast Cancer Meeting every Tuesday where they discuss current cases, so I'll be discussed by the entire department tomorrow. (And I guess Keith really was paying attention in all those doctor visits, and perhaps shouldn't be fired, because he's the one who said, "I guess they'll be talking about you at the Tuesday meeting" before I told him. And I didn't remember that detail).

Wish I knew more. Treatment? When, where, and how? These would be nice details, especially as I'm trying to plan that trip to Hawaii.

But what I really want to know at this point is, do I get a frequent flier discount??? Because right now, without having the bill from the original mammogram/ultrasound (hoping it's lost or was free since I passed out) or the anesthesiologist or this second go-round of surgeries, we're already looking at over $1,200 in co-pays...which is KILLING us! Will keep you updated on the grand total when all is said and done.


  1. Continuing to send good thoughts your way. Can I bring you anything?

  2. More surgery and a 3 " incision in your pits (I wonder how that will be next time you get to shave)? Grrr indeed!

    Glad the bandage is off though. Wished for less news about additional scoopage though. :( Damn cancer.