Saturday, July 31, 2010

Retail Therapy

So today our shopping adventure (I have been joined by my good pal Peggy) took us across two states! We got here to Edinburgh, Indiana, last night and started our little trip on a sour note by having a big problem with Travelocity (who we had used to book our hotel for two nights). To make a long story short, we booked a non-smoking room with two beds and the hotel offered us a smoking room with two beds or a non-smoking room with one bed -- and neither of those choices would work! I called Travelocity in the hotel lobby and after an hour and a half on the phone, we finally got some resolution -- Travelocity moved us to a hotel in Columbus, IN, about 9 miles away (apparently, there is a volleyball tourn. in town and all the hotels in the area are full). Even though we probably ended up in a better hotel by the end of this little debacle, I am still p.o'd at Travelocity for making me work so hard to get a resolution to THEIR mistake (I brought written proof that we reserved a non-smoking room with two beds!). After talking to the original customer service go over the phone, I had to insist on talking to the supervisor -- and I had lots of language issues because neither person spoke English very well and the hotel lobby was noisy to boot. BUT -- Travelocity finally came through after I reminded them that I thought the gnome had a guarentee. And, like I said, we probably ended up at a nicer hotel anyway!

We shopped at the Edinburgh Preminum Oulets for a few hours last night and then this morning we drive into KY so we could get to the Zappos Warehouse -- what a place! After getting lost, we finally walked into, what I will call, the "mothership"! Shoes everywhere! Everything under $100 was 50% off and things above that varied from 60-70%. We were there for hours; the place is a bit disorganized but that is because of the nature of the outlet business (people everywhere too!). I walked row and row with one of my shoes tucked in my bag because I was getting tired leaning over all the time, throwing shoes on and off (I wasn't the only person walking around with only one shoe on!). Toward the end, I froze because there were so many shoes in my "maybe" pile (including a pair for Jim -- see, I was thinking of him too!). And then I saw "the bag"! A Fossil leather bag (in red!) that was originally $300 -- after discounts, only $64. Let's just say that the bag is no longer hanging in the store (and quite possibly it now lives with me!).

We drove back to Edinburgh afterwards and hit more of the outlet shops that we missed yesterday. I didn't mean to buy more BUT ... things happen. In the Columbia store, I happened to run across (OK, maybe Peggy pointed it out to me) a green rain jacket (sort of like something from REI) that was originally $100 and now was $21. So what else would I consider the highlights of this trip?

* A $17 dress at Coldwater Creek that I would have never tried on without some prodding and ended up LOVING once I tried it on;
* A pair of white jeans from Ann Taylor that cost $11;
* Two more small leather bags from Wilson Leather that were both $14 each;
* 6 pairs of shoes from Zappos ... and that fabulous leather bag!

So do I feel just a wee bit guilty at how selfish (and let's face it, materialistic) I was today? Maybe. But I think I bought items that (1) replace items I already have that are getting to the point of maybe needing replacement, and (2) a few frivilous items that make me feel good. But I have made a personal promise to myself to not go this crazy again. I still feel incredibly guilty :D

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roadtrip Bound

I am leaving tomorrow morning for Edinburgh, Indiana, with my good pal Peggy. As much as I would like to say that we are up to academic endeavors this trip is 100% a shopping adventure! Edinburgh is the home of a large outlet mall (biggest in the midwest, I think!) and not too far from the outlet warehouse in KY. So shopping we go -- for the entire weekend! I really, really, really need a no-stress girls weekend so that is what I intend to pursue! I know the hotel has wi-fi so I should be able to update over the weekend! Cheers, Dianna

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit.

So here is where I test whether writing a blog is theraputic. At any rate, I am guessing this blog is cheaper than a shrink.

My appt with my GYN (Dr D) this morning was only supposed to be a short visit, I thought, to talk about birth control options now that I can no longer take birth control pills (because my form of breast cancer is estrogen driven/ sensitive). I started getting nervous after about 45 minutes because I was going to drive down to Carbondale as soon as the appt was over to see Dr M (fab professor!) so we could talk about disssertation writing and all that fun stuff. Finally, about an hour late, Dr D comes into the exam room apologizing for running late. I think because she was running late (and I think she picked up on the fact that I was now running late) we jumped into the conversation pretty quickly.

At first we did, indeed, talk about birth control options. But then she remarked that Dr L (the oncologist) had probably already talked to me about taking out my ovaries -- which was true. I guess I thought that this was something that would happen further down the road -- like maybe in a year or two. But Dr D said she thought this was something that we needed to talk about NOW because even though the chemo will take care of the systematic approach to what is in my body right now, we don't want excess hormones running around. She also said something about Tamoxofin (the hormone therapy drug I will be taking for 5 years post-chemo) having some sort of an effect on cervical cancer. She had me watch a film about all this stuff and then we talked about my particular case a little more .... But in a nutshell -- she highly encourages me to get a Laparoscopic Hysterectomy as soon as chemo is over. As in December 20 -- in fact, I am already booked now for the surgery (and I will have to stay in the hospital which does not make me happy!).

So that's is why I am pissed and stunned right now. The possibility of having children is now over. Nada. Not going to happen. Ever. And this makes me sad. It's not that Jim and I were exactly planning on having children but the thought that I will never hold an infant in my arms after giving birth makes me feel bad. And I won't even be able to experience a normal menapause -- instead, I will have one of those overnight surgical-induced ones so not only is cancer taking away my quality of life for the next few months, a chunk out of my right breast, and possibiliy my hair. But now chalk up my uterus. ovaries, and a normal menapause as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Free Scarf Can Lift One's Spirit!

So ... in the last few weeks, I have been reading on online breast cancer support forum on almost a daily basis -- The site has been tremendously helpful as a place to hear thoughts from other folks in the same boat. There is even a thread called "CMF" in which discussion focuses on the very kind of chemo that I will start getting next week. Anyhoo -- I was reading through some of the earlier parts of the discussion thread (goes back to something like 2006) and saw a conversation about head scarves. You see, patients who receive CMF therapy typically don't lose all their hair but more along the lines of 40-50% of their hair. If I had thick hair, I probably wouldn't even notice ... but mine is pretty thin. Painfully thin actually. Someone on the discussion board said that she found head scarves useful as a way of hiding her hair loss since she, too, had problems with thining hair. She even mentioned a web site where she was able to get a high-quality silk scarf for free. So I checked it out. Was the free scarf still available?

Why yes indeed! The web site is the home of a company called "France Luxe." [Click on name to read more about this great company!] These folks are fabulous! Most of the scarves start at $70 but a chemo patient can get one for free! (Check the picture out that accompanies this post!) The woman who started the company (in North Bend, WA, by the way -- my home state!) initiated the "Good Wishes" program when a long time customer went through chemo and then opened the program up to anyone. Is she not the coolest? She let me pick out any scarf that I wanted! And this was not an easy thing to do! But I finally narrowed it down the the Brown Paisely one since I figured this would match more of the clothes that I wear when I teach.

I ended up buying two cheaper scarves today from another company so I think I am good to go as far as any hair loss.

In other news -- I feel physically pretty good today! The surgery yesterday went pretty well though I apparently fought the anesthesia a bit. Originally I was supposed to be in "Twilight" (like the last surgery in June; this still means, by the way, that you are unconscious) but they wheeled me right into the operating room and I was still awake. I was sort of freaked out because (1) I have never seen an operating room and (2) was I supposed to be seeing the operating room?? Not too long after going in, though, I was under (later Jim said they had to put me under full anesthesia). Dr R, my brilliant surgeon, thinks she got the clear margins she needed and I took a shower this afternoon and there was only a little blood under the main bandage. All good! There is a little pain when I apply pressure (i.e. picking up our big ass cat from a place he wasn't supposed to be) but it's pretty minor. I took it easy today but I have a busy week ahead of me!

Tomorrow -- Doc appointment at my GYN in Clayton and then a quick trip to Carbondale to see the awesome Dr M and then a homeowner's meeting in our building here downtown. Whew!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rock Climbing Girl!

So I have a new hobby! I love, love, love, love rock climbing! Jim and I took a class last week (for his birthday!) and we went back this morning for a few hours. Yes, it is scary and hard and sweaty BUT I love it! And you know the best part??? It's one of the few times recently where I am not thinking about breast cancer! Nada. Not even for a minute! So what am I thinking about instead? How in the world do I get my ass up those damn walls?? (and the pic to the left shows you the inside of the Upper Limits gym, located right here in downtown St Louis!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Is that motivation peering around the corner?!

So what did I do on this strange night of storms and thunder here in St Louis? I FINALLY finished tallying the end-of-the-semester surveys that the 101 students completed in May at the end of the semester. I promise to talk more about this later but I was surprized by some of the responses, esp. the ones from a student I will call AB. I knew he and student L were close friends (maybe dating?) but I didn't realize how much he hated the class until this evening (he was never as vocal about it in class as Student L was; she pretty much hated me by the end of the semester). AB used caps when responding to a question I asked about if there were anything he would change about the course: "I HATE RACE STUFF! I feel like we dwelled [too much] on the issue." Later, when I asked if the course theme of race was distracting, he said "Yes, because let's face it. We couldn't write about anything real. That's just not how it worked so instead we wrote a handful of papers about blah, blah, blah." He later said that "the more you think about the idea of race, it becomes more stupid and ... talking about it is a waste of time." Whew! Quite the emotional response -- and not what I was expecting from AB. But his comment about "not writing anything real" has stuck out for me. There's sonmething interesting there since (1) that was not my intent for putting the whole course together and (2) was he resisting having "real" conversations on paper?

Not sure where else to go at the moment but there are a few tibits like this throughout the survey results so I think I have something to start writing about now. And the comments I got from the WPA list serve (asking about themed based coureses) were amazing and I haven't quite had the chance to analyze them all yet (and I have uncovered some fabulous new sources).

So .... I may have bumped into motivation! Finally!

Monday is the day of the next surgery -- still kind of nervous though this should be much easier that the lumpectomy (since this is just a re-incision). I hope to be up and around by Wed (I have a doc appt with my GYN to discuss birth control options that do not include the birth control pills I can never take again) and by Friday, I am off with my pal Peggy on a road trip to an Indiana outlet mall! And then ... chemo starts on August 3.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Found: A Somewhat Productive Day

So the most exciting news of the day is that I actually did something productive in terms of my dissertation :D As I was sifting through all my notes and articles the other day, I slowly began to realize that I hadn't yet taken a solid look at what research has actually been done on "themed" FYC courses -- how long have comp teachers used this kind of approach? Is it something taken on by more "liberal" teachers? Is there any solid research that has been done on whether themed courses work? WWhat is the "subject" of a FYC course anyway? Anyway -- I finally got brave and posted a question on the WPA list serve (lots of smart people and famous rhet/comp types)asking for any advice .... and I got tons of responses! So I spent a few hours tracking down some of the sources and now I have lots of good stuff to read! :D

But I came home to a small panic attack (I had been at my office at SWIC when I posted the question and started researching). Twice this afternoon the surgery center had called with messages about bringing a certain dollar amount to the surgical procedure next week (Shouldn't this go through insurance first?) -- and, of course, they haven't returned my calls. I had to make a huge payment to SIUC for tuition (and that always makes me stressed!), and then I came home to two more medical bills in the mail. And then it was storming and I hate, hate, hate lightening and thunder. Jim was his usual calming self but I proceeded to have a mini-breakdown.

But at least I had a productive morning, eh?!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I don't have much to report today because I haven't really done anything. For some reason, I am just so exhausted which doesn't make a lot of sense because I am not in the midst of the treatments coming up ahead (i.e. radiation and chemo). But I was reading someone's comments online at and she felt the same way; folks responded by saying that our bodies know we are under attack (i.e. cancer) long before we know and maybe my body is just revolting due to limited resources (though in theory, most of my BC was taken out with the lumpectomy). I'm not sure if this is true for me, but I know I am having trouble concentrating for more than a few minutes at a time.

Or maybe I am tired just because I am tired.

Monday, July 19, 2010

"I Ain't Down Yet"

The title of today's entry comes from a song from the musical, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" -- words that my absolutely fabulous dissertation director Dr L brought to my attention (both she and Dr D, another fabulous professor, have articulated words and thoughts that have been so useful to me during the last two days). I think the last few days I have sort of been in a daze -- luckily, it was Jim's birthday weekend so my mind was on more important matters but I was shocked at how often my head kept going in the direction of "Oh My God, I have to do chemo." Jim and I talked a few times but now I am worried that I might be talking about it TOO much. As of right now, I have mostly only talked with Jim about it (since he knows me better than anyone) but I don't want to drive him crazy either. I think the only time this past weekend that I really forgot about it was when we went rock climbing -- I loved the physical challenge that kept my head focused on trying to get my butt up the damn wall. Maybe I can talk Jim into going next weekend, too?

But when I woke up today (a little grumpy actually as Jim can attest!), I thought that today I was going to try and have as "normal" a day as possible. So I went to the gym (18.50 miles on the bike!), cleaned the house (even the corners!), wrote out some cards I had been meaning to mail, found a library book (that I knew I had misplaced somewhere), cleaned off my desk to find stuff I need to write, and then ... started writing. The first thing I need to do is something that I promised Dr L that I would do right away -- talk about my personal take on how I think the Spring semester of fieldwork went. I managed a few paragraphs which is more than I have written in ages. It's not a lot but it's a start.

I know that I have little chance of dying from this "thing." So I am not sure what paralyzes me so much -- maybe cancer complicates the whole "I don't think I am good enough to write a dissertation" feeling that I already had by the time Spring semester finished. I know that deep down I still want to be finished by next Spring. For that to happen, I need to get out of this fog and focus. I have only about a month before the new semester starts and so here is my plan of action (and writing here makes me more determined to do what I say!):

1. Get through the re-incision lumpectomy next Monday (July 26) without, hopefully, picking up an infection;
2. Write a personal narrative of what happened during the Spring semester;
3. Make sure that my prospectus is approved ASAP at SIU;
4. Get all my syllabi ready to go for Fall semester at SWIC;
5. Buy over-the-counter meds that women on have suggested for folks going through CMF chemo (August 3);
6. Buy a cute hat just in case (though I am thinking I have a few chemo treatments if anything even happens at all);
7. Relax 100% while on outlet mall/ Zappos warehouse road trip next weekend;
8. Read some example dissertations to get more ideas for organization.

OK -- so eight simple tasks. I can do it! :D

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not the News I Was Hoping For

I'm angry. I'm pissed. I'm scared. And I guess I am also in shock. Yesterday I met Dr L, my oncologist (also with the St Louis Breast and Cancer Institute). She talked about the findings of my Oncotype DX test (done on the tumor the surgeon took out of me). I'm not sure that I understand everything but basically at first, the news sounded good! Out of the four categories of tumors("Best," "Good," Interm" and "Worst"), mine was only in the second category -- "good." My tumor was only 1.2 centimeters and was grade II. I am ER+, PR+ and Her 2-. Again, not sure what all that means but the Oncotype determines what risk you have of getting breast cancer again -- my Oncotype number was "22" which puts me at about 14-15%. From what I understand from reading online, doctors will suggest chemo for anyone who has an Oncotype number greater than 11.

You know, it's hard to make a decision about what you are going to do when you have no idea what entails a "good decision." But the moment that Dr L said, "If I had a daughter, I would suggest ..." it's hard to think about doing anything else. So she suggested something called CMF chemotherapy (which stands fot the three-drug cocktail you get -- cyclophasphamide, methotrexate, and 5-fluorouracil). I will receive this via injection into the vein 6 times, every three weeks (so this will be happening for 18 weeks). Somewhere along the line, Dr L also said that we can begin radiation treatments so at least we can get the second part of the treatment started. And my first chemo will be on August 3, just after coming back from a road trip to the Zappos outlet in KY the weekend before.

I think I am still a bit numb about the whole thing. This was not the plan -- it was supposed to be just radiation. I was accepting of that, but not chemo. How am I supposed to work on my dissertation? How am I going to teach while going through all this? What happens if I do lose my hair? (apparently, I only have a small chance of this with CMF). And what about the marathon I will be running on Oct 17? How is this going to impact my training? How is all this going to affect my marriage?

So lots of questions.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dianna = Not Happy

Shit. Just came back from the all-clear by my surgeon Dr R (that's the good part) but the soonest she can do the next surgery is Monday, July 26. Apparently, radiation treatments can start 2-3 weeks after surgery which means that I will be starting this last phase just as the new academic semester starts. Crap.

I meet the oncologist, Dr L, on Thursday morning. Hope she has only good news to share.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Super Quick Update

Well, I thought maybe the "bathroom issues" had stopped (or slowed) after a bathroom-less afternoon yesterday. Nope. The doc gave me Metronidazole (Flagyl) to help balance my colon. After collecting a sample last night (I know, eek), I started with the new prescription but I haven't noticed too much of a difference today. I felt much better this morning (and even managed to work at the super cool women's clinic where I volunteer) but as the afternoon wore on, so did the diarrhea. And that has been the story all afternoon and evening. Hopefully, the Flagyl kicks in by tomorrow. Seriously getting tired of this. And I would love to eat real food (read: not yogurt) without fear of cramps and hasty bathroom visits.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday Night

Just a quick update. Saw Dr R again this morning -- she said I was dehydrated because of the "bathroom problems" so she immediately hooked me up to an IV. Not fun but I did feel better afterwards! :D She doesn't want to schedule the new surgery until I am 100% so I am hoping that when I see her next Tuesday that we can get this whole next step figured out. The sooner I finish up with the next surgery, the sooner I can start radiation treatments. I also meet with Dr L, the oncologist, on Wed (I think). She has the last word on whether I will need chemo or not but I am pretty sure we are just looking at radiation.

Anyway, I ate almost an entire bowl of Broccoli Cheddar soup from St Louis Bread Company tonight -- and it hasn't come back up at either end so I think that's a good thing! :D

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Radiation Consultation

I am working on developing stats right now for those end-of-the-semester surveys -- so, yes, I am working on my dissertation!

This morning, with Jim in tow, we visited with Dr B who will be the person in charge of my radiation treatments. As I mentioned yesterday I was disappointed that this was just a consultation and not the actual start of the radiation treatments. And now with another surgery in the near future, those treatments have been pushed back even further (so it's pretty clear that this cancer mess will spill over into the Fall semester). Dr B said that when I am ready for radiation, I will have an intial appointment that will be a "simulation" -- they do some sort of body imaging that individualizes the radiation as it hits my (right) breast. And then basically I visit them everyday for about 15 minutes a day M-F for something like 6 weeks. She went over a bunch of side effects but I think the only one that might be a possibility for me is the fatigue. But, luckily, that doesn't even come into effect (if it even does) for something like three weeks into the treatment. Knowing my body, though, I suspect I will be fine. I am already kind of tired all the time anyway -- so whatever I pick up from radiation will just blend in with my overall tiredness!

My stomach is still cramping and I still have diarrhea but I have taken the advice of both my doctor and friends (esp. Marie -- thanks!) and taking some pro-biodics in the form of yogurt and some acidophilus. Hopefully something here will let me (1) eat solid foods comfortably and (2) not run off to the bathroom every 20 minutes! But I have lost 4 pounds in the past week! (a little bit of a silver lining, right?!)

In dissertation work, I am pleased that the surveys are relfecting some interesting trends -- maybe the themed class did work! More on that as soon as the stats are all finished! Cheers, Dianna

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Complications ... Yuck

I saw Dr. R today, my fabulous surgeon. This was the first time I saw her since my surgery on June 24th because she has been on vacation and then the July 4th holidays got in there. Anyway, she was concerned about the infection from last week but was happy to see that the breast looks great and those flu-like symtoms have disappeared. EXCEPT, as some friends know, I have experienced a killer case of diarrhea since yesterday morning (along with a headache that seems immune to Tylenol). Well, as it turns out, the diarrhea is related to the antibodics that I am taking for the infection. But I have to keep taking the antibodics no matter what (esp. since I am allergic to so many other antibodics). So she suggeste taking Imodium and sticking to yogurt. So after eating yogurt all last week, I guess I am back to it again this week.

Dr R and I then went over my pathology report. Good news -- as we know, no sign of cancer in the lymph nodes. My tumor turned out to be just under two centimeters (small but it still freaks me out a little to know that was there and I didn't feel it!). I am having a (very expensive) test done right now called "OcotypeDX"; here is the actual description:

"The Oncotype DX breast cancer test is the only multigene expression test commercially available that has clinical evidence validating its ability to predict the likelihood of chemotherapy benefit as well as recurrence in early-stage breast cancer. The Oncotype DX gene expression assay is intended to be used by women with early-stage (stage I or II), node-negative, estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) invasive breast cancer who will be treated with hormone therapy."

So, in other words, there is still a chance that I might need chemo, though all signs are indicating radiation treatments. I thought that my radiation treatments started tomorrow since I have the radiation consultation tomorrow BUT Dr R said that this is just a consultation, nothing else. I can't start treatment, she said, until I meet Dr L, my oncologist. I don't meet with Oncologist Dr L until July 20. And now I am super-stressed because I wanted to have the bulk of radiation done BEFORE school started in mid-August. She said she would try to move my appt up -- it's just that Dr L is apparently very good and what she does and she books up fast.

Two more things. Dr R could not take the drain out of my breast because bad stuff is still coming out. I really wanted this off because it's itchy and uncomfortable. And the second thing -- and this is a big one -- I will need surgery again in just a few weeks. During surgery, the doctors take out the tumor and the "margins" around it. Pathology results show that three of my margin sites look great; the one closest to my chest cavity does not. And that means that Dr R needs to go in again. If she doesn't get all the bad stuff out, it will (in all probability) grow again. Maybe I am being overdramatic but this is depressing news. I desperately want to get back to running (and my normal life) but now I have another bump to cross. Not fun.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Quick, quick update!

Good news -- Since Friday afternoon, I have been coding the final surveys that I had the students take the last day of class -- so, yes, I can officially say that I am working on my dissertation without feeling the least bit guilty!

Today I did 18 miles on the bike in the gym, followed by another 24 this evening with Jim and our fab friends, Laura, Bill, and Conrad the dog (wearing his doggles!). We rode from our building in downtown St Louis to the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The wind was a killer but the weather was fabulous!

My breast drain is still in (probably until Wed when I see my surgeon). My underarm and right arm are still a little numb and I am hoping that goes away soon. I meet the folks behind my upcoming radiation treatments on Thursday morning and I guess that will be the start of THAT adventure.

Must dash to bed. I'm pooped and tomorrow morning I need to work at SWIC. Fun times!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Yeah! Finally -- a Work Out!

I just have time for a quick update but I finally met one goal for this week -- I managed to get in about 18.50 miles on a stationary bike downstairs in the gym (in about 60 minutes). The bike seems to be the best exercise tool at the moment as it translates into little jiggling of the breast. My breast is not 100% today because the doctor decided to leave the drain in yesterday :< I HATE the drain! It's sort of like having a long "whisker" hanging off your breast -- and the whisker has yechy bits that come out every now and then (I have to keep changes the gauze around it but, thankfully, as long as I keep using sports bras I don't need to use tape -- which I seem to be slightly allergic to -- and instead can just use the sports bra as leverage to keep the qauze in place). Anyway, even on the bike I have to grit my teeth sometimes because I can feel the breast moving around and the stupid drain. Not fun. But - I got to sweat a bit and that part I liked! (though I am thinking the bike sort of kicked my butt -- I was having a tough time). But I am on two different medications which seem to be helping with any residual pain -- one the doc said will help keep any other infections away so that's good stuff (and this is coming from someone who usually hates to even take an aspirin!)

Yesterday was my last IV treatment for the infection (I had to stay hooked up for 2+ hours!) but afterwards my pal Peggy introduced me a cool second hand store called the "Scholarshop" (I think there are a few in the area) -- it's been around a long time but I had never heard of it before (specializes in selling brand items like Ann Taylor, Talbots, etc)-- l bought a cool jacket and a brand-new skirt for less than $10 -- will definitely need to go back there when I need a boost in the coming weeks!

So what is up next? Next week I have a post-op appointment with Dr Radford (my surgeon) and then I meet the folks (on Wed) who will get me started on my radiation therapy (as soon as possible, I hope!). I also need to look at the Fleet Feet Sports Running Calendar and identify some short runs to focus on (to help me find some motivation). Tomorrow I will also sit here on the computer and try to figure out a schedule to help me with dissertation writing).

Friday, July 2, 2010

So That's Why I Felt Like Crap!

So the good news is that my pathology report came back and my lymph nodes are looking great -- no sign of cancer sooooooooo ..... no chemo! Yipeeee! But, I did see the doc yesterday because I have been feeling like I have the flu for the last three days or so (joint pain, headache, not hungry, etc). It turns out that I actually had a pretty serious infection in my breast (which was red and pretty swollen). Neither Jim or I picked up on these symptoms as signs of an infection because neither of us have ever had surgery. So the doc drained my breast (and you don't even want to know about the yechy, brown stuff she took out -- there was a lot!) and installed a drain that is still there today (I get it out later this morning). She also took out my stiches from last week so now you can see the scar from the lymph node procedure under my armpit. My surgeon is actually on vacation this week so this was her medical partner -- she used the term "Stage One" with me which my regular doc hadn't used with me before. Those words really make me feel like I have cancer -- which scares me -- but I guess I also feel lucky that it's only stage one and not something worse.

To help with the flu-like symptoms, she had me go to infusion services and they hooked me up to an IV that gave me -- directly -- some sort of antibiodics (along with Benedryl). I had to sit there for an hour and half and during that period at first I felt dizzy but after a while, I felt great! I go again today for the same procedure but it looks like the infection debacle is behind me!

My other goal for today is to actually pull out my research and write something -- anything. I guess this blog post was a start! Anyway -- off to the St Louis Cancer and Breast Institute first! .....