The Stacey Report

September 22, 2006: Lumpectapalooza

Posted in Uncategorized by ohthatdeb on September 22, 2006

Stacey’s surgery is complete and everything went beautifully.  TFDC reported to Michael that everything looked great: she couldn’t see anything but some scarring (the result of the Great Cancer-Cell Massacre!) and had originally thought that she would have to make two incisions but ended up only having to make one.

There will be two drains (eew) one for her breast and one for her arm.   TFDC said that along with not seeing anything suspicious in the breast tissue, she also did not see anything suspicious in the lymph nodes she removed. 

(By the way, apparently they used to go after these like they were ripping up weeds, but now there is a lot more information about which are most likely to be affected by metasteses in which order, so the surgeon is able to be a lot more selective and reduce not only the recovery time but also the risk of later lymphedema (serious swelling caused by interruptions and blockages in the lymphatic system, like, say, the removal of a really lot of your lymph nodes.)) 

Anyway, although the surgeon didn’t see anything (which is good!) she did caution that she still has to send everything to the lab (which is simply normal, no more, no less) to see what turns up under the microscope. As of our last update from Michael, Stacey was still in recovery, but only because Newton Wellesley had a full house and they were trying to find a room for her, not because she needed to be in recovery for any extended period of time.  She will be staying overnight at NW and we’ll check in with her tomorrow to see how everything is going.  There is no information yet about when the lab results will come in or what they might mean either way, but we’ll keep you posted.

(I don’t know who this “we” is that I keep talking about, what, me and… Durga maybe?) In the meantime, we have This Week In Review by Stacey herself!

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It’s been a very busy few days:

Monday: Went to the Breast Center (which is at the hospital) for the mammogram and breast ultrasound. Mammogram first, lots of fun, of course. Then the ultrasound, during which the Radiologist decided to “put a clip”. He could see what he thought might be scar tissue, though it might have a few cancer cells as well. Whatever it was, it was hard to find, so he wanted to mark the site to make it easier to find later. They do this by putting a small piece of titanium INTO the breast. Fun! He numbed up the area (not as well as he should have at first; I could feel it at first and he had to do more numbing) then put a big needle into my breast, guided by ultrasound, and into the former lump. There was an “inductor” involved, but I couldn’t tell if it was the needle itself, or if there was something else involved. In any case, he had a hard time getting it into the tissue, so I guess the tissue was kinda firm. He really had to put some energy into it! Then, when it was in, he pulled the trigger and the little clip was injected. After that they needed to get another mammogram to get a shot of the clip in the breast. After that they sent me back to the waiting room, where I waited and waited and waited, only to be told that they didn’t get a digital shot, which is what they needed, so they had to do it AGAIN! Because there’s nothing a woman wants more than THREE mammograms in one day. Oh, lucky me. Total time at hospital: 3 hours.

Tuesday: Treatment day. TFDB told me that we could do a triple dose of herceptin every third week instead of the double dose every two weeks. This might or might not have been a good idea, as we’ll soon see. Anyway, she also told me that she had been doing some testing of tumor markers ( http://www.breastcancer.org/testing_blood_test.html), which I didn’t know about. She said that for the CEA test normal is 2.5 and below. My original test was 45.something, but my current level is .8, so that’s pretty good. It doesn’t mean I’m cancer free by any means, but it’s indicative of things going in the right direction. So, after I met with her I got my herceptin and also Zometa. Total time in office: 4 hours.

Wednesday: Here’s where things get interesting. I had a Pre-Op appointment at the hospital. After checking in I met with a nurse who went over some medical history stuff, then checked my blood pressure. Said blood pressure was…200-something over 140. Yikes! She brought another nurse in to do it, so that she had another opinion, but she got the same thing. They sent me back to a waiting room to wiat to meet with the Anesthesiologist. After a few minutes the nurse came back to tell me that she spoke wiht the Anesthesiologist and that he wanted me to go to my doctor. They had called my doctor and I was to go right over there (she’s in one of the medical office buildings attached to the hospital), which I did. They took my BP there and it was a bit lower, but still 200+. They did an EKG, which TFDJ compared to the one they did in Aug when I had the second echocardiogram. The EKG was pretty much normal, so that was good. We also discussed the medications I’d gotten the day before. She didn’t seem to think so, but I’m pretty sure the bump in BP had to do with the triple dose of Herceptin, or maybe that along with the Zometa. My BP was normal the day before, so what else could have spiked it in just one day? Anyway, TFDJ decided that I should go on some meds to regulate the BP (because if we didn’t get it under control I wouldn’t be able to get the surgery on Friday). So, we went into her office and she tried to get some meds from the pharmacy for me. She wanted me to take them there and then and not have to drive to CVS in Sudbury. The NWH pharmacy wasn’t cooperative, though. She was going to ask some group of cardiologists if they had samples, but then thought to look through her own samples and found what she was looking for, so I was drugged right there in her office. She called the Anesthesiologist and asked him what meds he suggested (she was going to put me on two, but he said that one of them I would have to stop before the surgery, so there wouldn’t have even been time to start) and also what was the target BP he was looking for (160/100). So, when I was done at her office she sent me to the lab for some blood work, then back to the Pre-Op testing office to finish up there. I still had to meet with the Anesthesiologist. This was the same guy TFDJ was speaking to, so he knew the whole deal when I got back there. He had me sign some consents and told me some of what to expect on Friday. Time in hospital: 3 1/2 hours.

Funny thing: everyone kept asking me if I didn’t have a headache and were surprised to hear that I didn’t. I guess that if you have BP that high you usually feel it. TFDJ said that I was probably used to having high BP, so it didn’t really affect me. I don’t know; it’s never been that high before, so what’s to get used to? Anyway. At the end of the day I went back to see TFDJ to check to see if the BP was going down, but it wasn’t. Boo!

Thursday: I took the BP medicine Wed night and Thurs am. When I woke up I had a bit of a headache and it just blossomed over the day. I had an appointment to see TFDCh (The Fabulous Doctor Chang), who was covering for TFDJ (who was at a wedding), just to do a BP check. I asked her about the migraine and she said that usually the beta blockers do double duty and get rid of migraines. Well, that didn’t help much, because I did have one. To make it worse, I couldn’t take any Excedrine Migraine, which is what I would normally do, because it contains aspirin and you can’t take that in advance of surgery. I took some Tylenol later in the day, followed up by acupuncture, and felt better after that. But most importantly, the BP was down to 150/100. This is still considered high, but within range for the surgery. We’ll address the long term BP issues in a few weeks. So, it’s 11:46 right now and I just had a last snack because I can’t eat after midnight. I can’t drink anything after 5:30, so I have to be up on time in order to take my BP meds in the morning. I have to be at the hospital at 7:15. After I check in I’ll go over to the Breast Center where the wires will be put in, then I’ll go back to the Surgical Center and be surgerized. I have to stay over Friday night, so I’ll try to send an update on Saturday. By the way, I was writing this with only half a brain, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t paste this whole hog. I’d be embarassed! 

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Well, I decided that after three mammograms in one day, Stacey’s threshold for embarassment would be pretty dang high, so there you have it!  

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