Sunday, June 14, 2009

did receive news that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT MY CANCER HAS METASTASIZED OUTSIDE OF THE BREAST! I do NOT have Stage IV cancer. Now, that being said, there is a chance that I have what are called micrometastases, which are cancer cells that have spread in the blood stream, but with any luck, chemo and hormonal therapy will get all of them.

I think to make this simple, I'll just go in chronological order.
Tuesday - Don, Cassie, and I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed at 5 am to make it to our 8am appointment with a fertility specialist at Hershey. Why did we see a fertility specialist? Well, the chemo will probably shut down my ovaries for a time, and some women don't regain their cycle. Both my chemo doctor at Hershey, the fertility specialist and the chemo doctor I saw at Hopkins (we'll get to her on Wednesday) all think that I'll be fertile (like the Nile) after I finish chemo. However, soon afterwards, I start hormonal therapy, which typically last for 5 years and also precludes pregnancy. So, Don and I wanted to see what our options are. It turns out all of the options are a) experimental, b) would delay chemo, c) expensive, and d) don't have great success rates. Don and I decided that we'd save our money for either trying after hormonal treatment or adopting. Since neither of us have ever been 100% sure that we want kids, we're completely okay with this.

At this point, Don peeled off to return to work and Cassie was my partner in crime for the rest of the week. Also, at this point, Tuesday gets a little crazy. Originally, I was just scheduled for a bone scan and a CT scan, but the clinical trial that I'm a part of requires some additional breast biopsies, some blood work, and of course, a bunch of consent forms. So Cass and I are running around trying to fit all of this in. First, we go to radiology, where they give me an IV and inject me with contrast. Usually, you get to wait around for a few hours and relax before they scan you. I, on the other hand, run across the medical capus with an IV tube hanging out of my arm, to give blood at the cancer center, thinking, at least they can take it out of the IV. Only they can't. So, I leave the cancer center with an IV in one arm and pressure bandage on the other to go the breast center. There, they take not 1, not 2, but 5 tissue samples. So, when I finally return to radiology, I not only have the IV and the pressure bandage, but also ice stuffed into my bra. I was a hot mess.

I would also like to take this opportunity to suggest an additional reform to the health care legislation, called the "If it requires lidocaine, I get a vicodin" measure. When someone takes 5 chunks of your boob out (I was starting to worry that there would be no tumor left), and then hands you two tylenol, you feel a little shafted. Then, when you're sitting in the bone scanner (I have no idea what the real name for this machine is) and you start to feel like the machine is going to pick up the throbbing from your now holey breast, you really start to feel like a narcotic is not an unreasonable request. We'll return to this rant when we discuss the port insertion.

The rest of the day was uneventful. My bones got scanned, which was cool because you could see my internal organs on the monitor, and then they did a CT scan of my chest. I will say that I was required to stop eating at 10:15, even though my CT scan wasn't until 3:30, and this was a brilliant move on the hospital's part. I was so hungry by the time I had to drink my contrast, that it tasted delicious. Once these tests were over, Cassie and I drove down to D.C. to stay with a friend of mine before going to see some additional doctors at Hopkins.

Next up...Wednesday at Hopkins


  1. They are so worried about addiction that they let people suffer, even though regular patients don't turn into rabid addicts overnight and most addocts are ..well.. already like that! Tylenol sucks!

  2. I so agree. It's ridiculous.