Two weeks since surgery
So much has happened this week, so this post might be rather long.
As I mentioned, my husband and I met with my radiation oncologist early this week. Besides being amazingly smart, Dr. Vic is also incredibly kind and explains things so well to me (but as usual, don't expect me to reiterate information with any kind of medical accuracy or flair!). He was so apologetic about the cancer being found in my brain. I was joking with him to lighten the mood, "Doctor Vic, this wasn't supposed to happen. I'm supposed to be all done with this stuff." (The Zoloft I'm taking actually is working quite well). There's no need to be all sad about it. Let's just figure out what to do about it. Apparently it's really good that I am so ignorant to all the medical stuff that's happening. It's my poor husband who for his own sanity could probably use a little less knowledge merely so he wouldn't worry so much.
The basic treatment they're going to do is whole brain radiation. Just like when I had radiation for breast cancer, I will go everyday for about 5 1/2 weeks, minus the weekends. The actual procedure doesn't last long...I think I get zapped for 10 to 15 minutes at the most, and it's completely painless. The side effects vary. I can certainly have brain damage...which I already have from the surgery, (still dealing with a lot of time and number issues) but the doctor doesn't anticipate anything major. When I get radiated, they put this hard plastic mesh mold snugly over my face and secure me to the table so that I can't move. It's quite creepy looking...and I'll have to post a picture at some point. I can get fatigued, which I experienced a little bit of when having radiation for breast cancer, but with brain radiation, I don't know how the fatigue will compare. I also will have some irritation of the head. And then here's the doozy...what I didn't want to hear, but what I knew was coming...I'm going to lose my hair. Oh well. I'm alive. So in search of some very sassy hats and scarves again. Because I'm just going to be vain with my new little motto 2cute4cancer!
As I posted yesterday, the MRI I had yesterday was a bit hellish. They wanted to look at my spine and my brain again. The doctors keep ordering these tests telling me that they don't intend on seeing anything. But don't ya know, a spot turns up on my spine. Now having a metastasis to the spine is really bad. It would involve more chemo and radiation I'm sure, and I'm not sure what the cure rate is for something like that. So my husband was really upset today about them finding something on the scan. But he was able to have a bunch of doctors read the scans and they are pretty confident that it is NOT cancer. They think that the spot they saw was a hemangioma. That's a blood tumor that is benign, and something I should not have to worry about. My doctor might order a bone scan, but probably not. They will continue to monitor the blood tumor, but for now, it is fine. Praise God for that.
Today I got to meet again the doctor who took out my tumor, Dr. Jerone Kennedy. So what in the world is the protocol for this? Send a Hallmark Card note, "Um, thanks for saving my life. Hope I can return the favor!" Seriously, how in the world can I express my gratitude? I am actually looking for ideas. Also, I still need to do/send something to the floor that took care of me while in the hospital as well. But I just don't want to send some thank you flowers or something...would like to send something more useful and meaningful if I can. I talked with Dr. Kennedy about some of the issues I've been having lately, mostly my very painful headaches. And basically, everything just needs to settle in and work itself out. I have a couple appointments with different doctors, including a neurologist, to deal with some of these issues. Glad I have some experts to refer to now.
Some people have asked me why I'm still having all these tests? Honestly, I am so ignorant to them. These past two weeks I have walked into offices and just basically have been at everyones mercy. I have so many different scans, I can't keep them all straight. I just go in, do what they tell me to do, and let my husband sort out all the details for me. I know it's bad. I really need to be on top of my own care. I really need to be more proactive about understanding things. But for right now, I can barely figure out what time I need to leave the house so that my son gets to his football game on time. Maybe I can have my husband be a guest medical blogger and explain the difference between and MRI and a PET scan and why some tests pick up cancer and others do not...maybe he'll do it for me.
I've also had some people ask me about how this will affect my reconstruction. My what? That's what I think to myself. My reconstruction is so far from my mind right now I can't even think about it. But I actually have to...at least the preventative mastectomy part of it. That still needs to be done, and I feel now more than ever. So I'll make the appointments for everything in February probably. Now whether or not I'll be able to follow through with all the procedures we'll just have to see.
Continued thank you for EVERYTHING!