Friday, June 18, 2010

I've Been Slack....

Okay it's well past time for an update. Apologies for my slackness, between staying at Mum's through the weekend, Doctors appointments and Nanna Naps, it's been hard to find the motivation....

Anyhoo, the news so far is good. My meeting with the Surgeon on Wednesday confirmed that the 4 lymph nodes collected during surgery were clear of any evidence of spread. They retrieved a 2.5cm tumour with clear margins and no additional surgery required. One of my bandages is completely off and the scar is very neat and clean. Pain is not too bad, though with my back and neck issues I am having a fair bit of referred pain in the right arm. My Back Doctor, along with some Valium, is taking care of that

Wednesday also involved meeting with the Breast Care Nurse, two Medical Oncologists (Chemo), the Radiation Oncologist (Radiotherapy), and a Cancer Care Specialist Nurse. Lots of information (again), more appointments, as far away as October, and more tests before further treatment starts.

So far I have in my calendar the following:

24/06 - Back Doctor
30/06 - Echocardiogram
08/07 - Chemotherapy (to be repeated every 21 days for a total of 6 treatments
19/07 - Look Good Feel Better program, makeup, turbans, scarves etc., to help you look and feel your best during and after Chemo.
12/10 - Appt with Radiation Oncologist to discuss timimg of Radiation Therapy

I also have to have a blood test just before each chemo session, and I have to decide whether or not I'd like to participate in a trial using acupuncture in conjunction with chemo, to see if it helps with nausea. I'm keen, but it involves extra hospital visits, so I haven't quite decided on that one. Apparently I also have "Chemo Brain" to look forward to. That means that instead of a half hour frantic searching for my car keys every morning, it will be more like an hour... basically I'm fkd!

Plenty of support and assistance along the way.... I have already received a free bra, specifically designed for post surgery.... ugly as sin, but blissfully comfortable. There is a package on it's way containing a voucher for wig purchase, a turban, turban making patterns, scarf tying instructions and other little goodies. The Look Good Feel Better Program will help me make the most of makeup, skin care etc., with heaps of free goodies thrown in. Apparently they will select makeups based on my colouring, skin tones and preferences (supplied via questionnaire), show me how best to use them to disguise the ravages of Chemo, then hand them over. Could be several hundred dollars worth of Estee Lauder, Clinique, and/or other expensive brands.

Meanwhile I return to work on Monday, with time off for various appointments until the first Chemo session on Thursday the 8th. On the 25th of June my parents take off for a week to 10 days on holidays in Northern NSW with my sister, her partner and the grandkids. On the 30th of June my man will arrive from Melbourne and leaves the day I start Chemo. Speaking of my sister, she had her Mammogram on Wednesday, and received a callback today for Ultrasound, which she will have on Monday. We are hopeful that they are being extra cautious due to my diagnosis, and that she will be fine. We are staying very calm.

That's probably about it for now. If any more news comes to hand I will check in. Again, if I have a particularly bad or especially good day, I will certainly try to check in and share, I suspect there will be more of those days once treatment begins in earnest.

As always, thanks for your messages of support and love.


Catty said...

This whole treatment program sounds like it's being run by people who know what it's like for the patients. This IS QLD health we're talking about, isn't it?

Oh, and I'd be happy to whip you up a beanie. What colour(s) do you want me to make it?

Quokka said...

Big hugs.
More from me when I'm not sleepy.
So pleased they got all the nasty bits out.
Phew, hey.

Madam Morgana said...

Great news about your clear lymph nodes, and it sounds like they've got everything else sewn up.

FABULOUS news about your cosmetics bonanza - enjoy!

Girl Clumsy said...

Hey - how wonderful is that Look Good program? It sounds fantastic. I had no idea Qld Health would offer something like that - but it must be so important. After all, you boobs and your hair are such obvious parts about being a woman - whether rightly or wrongly we do focus on how we look and so major physical challenges like cancer are bound to affect how we see ourselves.

I'm so pleased these things are considered and you get access to help in that way.

However, I think you would totally rock the shaved head look, Mayhem. Get some temporary tatts while you're at it. That'll keep the Brat on the straight and narrow! :)

NowhereBob said...

Mmm, morphine.

A bit unable to comment at this stage, with Dad in his chemo & surgery journey.
Sure seems to be a lot of it going around.

Blessings to you and the Brat & a big bunch of flowers to your mum. We'd be Fkd without 'em wouldn't we?

Mayhem said...

As always, thanks guys.

It is indeed fabulous news that the obvious nasties have been taken care of, and that chemo etc. should round up any strays and blast them to smithereens. I know there's a long road ahead yet, but I'm starting from the best possible position.

A lot of the support comes from people like Chicks in Pink, The Queensland Cancer Council etc. They band together to do a fantastic job, and I actually feel a little guilty that perhaps some other cancer sufferers don't receive the same level of assistance. There is nothing on this scale for e.g. for people with bowel cancer, prostate cancer etc.

Catty, I'm pretty sure a beanie isn't really me, same with the tatts GC, but that gave me a giggle. I did receive in the mail yesterday a turban, which surprised me by how well it suited me. Catty they were supposed to send me a pattern to make more turbans, but apparently forgot. If I find one, I'll send it to you, and I like jewel colours, emerald, ruby, royal blue, purple. Well you DID offer, and I'm makin it a habit to not say no to offers of assistance.

NBob, thanks so much for your good wishes and blessings. My thoughts are with you and your family too. And yes, as much as she drives me mad sometimes, I do love my Mum to bits, and can't imagine doing this without her.

Finally, some more good news, my younger sister who had a callback after her mammogram last week, has had the all clear. She has cysts, which are benign, but will be monitored all the same.

Mayhem said...

Oh, and I certainly don't mean to downplay the support of QLD Health. ALL of the Doctors, Breast Care Nurses, Cancer Care Specialist Nurses, and even the receptionist at the Mater Specialist Clinic (who I worked with years ago elsewhere), have been fabulous.

The staff at my Doctor's surgery have also been fantastic, even the Doc I saw tonight, (I have a small skin infection near the surgery site), whom I have never met before, was AWSM, they all take that little bit of extra time to ask me how I'm doing, and to remind me to let them know if I need the slightest thing. (They're also bulk billing me :))

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mayhem, obviously have much to catch up on. I get caught on fb or at cbg and forget to check peeps blogs often enough instead.

Look that's excellent news , no spread and looking positive :)

A friend had the same 5 yrs ago and she said she is careful that people don't knock her left breast as she finds it gets tender from the scar but yes, a good bra goes a a long way to help.
Anyway, off to read about your partner travelling, Abs :)