Archive for February, 2008

The rest of the pathology

Got the full pathology and hormone receptor report today.  Didn’t get the drains out though.  Darn it.  So the only info I didn’t know for the last pathology post was that I had heaps of precancerous stuff going on the left breast.  Had I waited or not found stupid lump this whole experience could’ve been much much worse.  So once again we all shout “Yay Mastectomy!”  The cancerous lymph nodes mean radiation as well as chemo but I will find out more on Thursday.   The hormone receptor thing is interesting.  During my first visit with the surgeon, she sort of glossed over hormone therapy because it’s apparently very rare that cancer in a young woman has those receptors.  So here’s the bittersweet: stupid lump and all it’s family members are actually positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors.  This is good news.  It means that the cancer can be fought, sort of like a battle is, on different fronts.  The bad news is this means I have to go into menopause and all the lovely things that goes with that.  It also may mean no more kids.  I’m a little annoyed at this, mostly because I don’t like being forced into decisions, but DH and I have two wonderful children and the receptor thing gives me a better chance at beating this.  It’d be a lot different if I were 20, you know?  But I’m not.  And I’m ok.  🙂  Still have my drains.  Darn it. But ok.


So what’s a girl to do?

After countless hours in waiting rooms, hospital rooms and and living room gliders, what’s a girl to do to pass the time?  Knit!  Knit like the wind!  🙂  So far I’ve made:

Gaiter for BIL out of leftover Giunco

Pink Banana Republic Knock Off for me out of Bernat Softee Chunky

Ribbed hat for SIL out of Bernat Softee Chunky

Cabled hat for sister out of Bernat Softee Chunky (it was a big skein…)

Hand warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts for sister for her birthday (she already saw them so no secret) out of leftover Cascade 220

Hand Warmers

And I just started a toque from One Skein Wonders but the lace is kicking my butt.  I’ve had to tink at least 3 times.  I HATE tinking lace.  Bleah.

So let’s see.  What else?  Things I’ve learned this week.

The little pillows that the volunteers give you to take home from the hospital are awesome.  I’ve been walking around with them under my arm for 5 days now and I’m loathe to give them up anytime soon.  Sometimes it feels like there’s been a cave in on my left side and the pillows keep my arm from “falling in the hole”.

Oxycodone is lovely.

Oxycodone is also evil.  Made me SO sick the first few days.  Now I’m mostly on ibuprofen, but again, I’m loathe to give up the drugs quite yet.

5 pounds is practically nothing in the weight world.  I can’t even lift the milk jug, much less anything else. 

I’m going to miss my parents and my husband being home with me next week.  Kind of freaking me out.  Maybe I can go all Misery on them and imprison them in the house with me.  Heck, I’ve already got the flannel.

Well here goes.

Pathology is back.  It’s a good thing we did the mastectomy because the other suspicious areas of cancer were cancer.  All in all there were 3 tumors, a 3.2 cm, 1.3 cm, and a 1.7 cm, all of which are grade III.  The margins look good which means they got it all out.  As for the lymph nodes, she took out a total of 14 nodes, 4 of which were cancerous.  I know this looks alarming, but it really just means that we need to do aggressive chemotherapy, which we knew already.  So the treatment hasn’t really changed too much.  Mostly it just reiterates that we did the right thing.  I won’t have the hormone receptor info until later this week.  🙂

As for recovery, I’m doing OK.  Percoset is both my best friend and my worst enemy.  And unfortunately there’s not a lot they can do about the nerve pain that is left from surgery on the lymph nodes.  So far that’s been the worst.  At first I thought it was something pulling on my drains (which are now hanging from a crocheted belt I made because the fanny pack hit me right where the drains attach.)  I’m so crafty.  Heh.

There’s no place like home…

Got home this afternoon so now I sit at the computer, wearing my sexy vintage flannel (the holey oversized one I’ve had since college when I thought it made me look waifish.  Note to readers, I was never waifish.  Heh.), my 3 dollar Walmart Slippers and my two plastic hand grenade shaped drains.   The surgery went well my surgeon tells me.  It looks pretty much like a breast that’s caved in, concave even.  The Percoset makes me nauseous but it does the trick for pain management.  As Kristi reported, one of the sentinel nodes came back positive so the surgeon ended up taking the common section of nodes out.  Both the tumor and the nodes are now being studied in the pathology lab so that the next step can be planned.  Mostly I’m amazed at how good (relatively) I feel. 

Dang.  I just emptied my drains and it was so heavy it ripped a hole in my flannel.   So now I’m wearing the OTHER sexy 3 dollar Walmart flannel with the fanny pack.  Yes.  A fanny pack.  Sigh.

It’s over! (At least the surgery is!)

So I’m new here.  I’m Nicole’s sister and she has asked me to be a “guest blogger” for the night. 🙂 

I just talked to my mom and Nicole is doing well and is in recovery.  The first lymph node (the one near/under the armpit) was cancerous so they removed it.  The others were fine- no sign of the “C” word.  YEAH!!!  The surgeon said that Nicole did great. 

I also want to say a great big THANK YOU to all of you- for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words of encouragement for my sister!  It means so much to all of us to know that she has this great support around her.


Surgery Schedule

Hey guys, I’m about ready to go.

 They put the radioactive dye in at 1pm and the surgery/sentinel node biopsy is at 3.  I should be home Tuesday evening.  🙂

See you on the flip side!

Are you ready…

for the rocker chick hair?  I had been going back and forth about chopping off my hair.  You know the argument, money wasted on hair that is going to fall out in a month.  My sister’s boss and friend, after finding out about my cancer, wanted to give me this.  As it turns out, she’d had cancer as a teen and said that watching her long hair fall out was a horrid experience and that shorter hair would lessen the blow.  I’m so glad and grateful to her for this.  I love my haircut.  I feel like for the first time in a LOOOOOONG time I look like the person I am inside.  The haircut experience was pretty funny too.  She sent me to Natalia, or as she calls her, “The Russian”.  When I arrived, she sat me down and said, “You look through pictures, find haircut.”  So I looked through the book and found one I thought might work and picked up my knitting.  About 5 minutes later, as she was doing an exquisite updo on her previous customer, she peeked over at me and said, “You keep looking!”  I mentioned that most of the models had long hair…  She said, “One minute,” grabbed a short hairstyle mag and handed it to me.  I looked through it as well and found some I thought might work.  When it was my turn, she asked what I wanted, and I told her I needed short and messy and showed her a picture.  She looked me over and said, “No.”  “This is no good.”  She quickly flipped through the magazine and found a haircut that I secretly loved but thought would never work with my face.  “This will be excellent,” she said.  Next thing I knew hair was flying and I had this awesome rocker chick haircut.  I think it actually makes my face looks thinner.  If I’d known that was going to happen I would’ve cut it off sooner.  So anyway, this rocker chick ‘do is brought to you by Chris Baer, a great lady who truly made the day of someone who she barely knows.  I know I look tired in the picture, but give me a break.  I’m having surgery tomorrow.  🙂

 Rocker Chick ‘Do