The next step

Last Thursday, I met with the oncologist and the radiologist. Dr. Li’s visit was really just a check-up. I had gotten blood drawn the day before so he could check my levels. Everything was back to normal – no anemia, liver enzymes were back within expected ranges, and even my iron levels were good. We did talk briefly about whether or not I would benefit from taking hormone therapy (something like Tamoxifin). The tissue from my lymph nodes was weakly positive for progesterone, which means I’ll get a minor benefit from the drug. We decided to try it (after radiation is done) and see how well I tolerate the drug. If the side effects are too bothersome, I can stop taking the drug.

The big meeting was with Dr. Figura so we could discuss what radiation would entail. Once again, the particulars of my case are causing difficulties. The normal sequence of treatment for breast cancer is surgery, chemo, radiation, and during chemo you do all the reconstruction. Having already done chemo, I don’t have that window of time to fill the expander and apparently, skin doesn’t stretch as well after radiation. Once I start radiation, I can’t make any changes to the size of the expander either since it changes the geometry of the area being irradiated.

I didn’t realize it would be such a problem. I know Dr. Engel had mentioned that reconstruction would be difficult after radiation, but I will admit I kind of ignored him. Dr. Figura and Dr. Kang talked about the case and were able to come up with a viable plan that wouldn’t push back the start of radiation too much. For once I’m happy I’ve got a small chest size since that means I won’t need too many fill sessions. In fact, with the first fill the very next day, I’ll be done in two weeks with two more 100cc fills. I’ll be carrying a giant boulder around on my chest while undergoing radiation, but at least we can get it done beforehand.

And to close, another gown pattern to add to my collection:

A particularly hideous gown pattern

A particularly hideous gown pattern

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2 thoughts on “The next step

  1. Nat,
    I’ve been following on and off and I’m extremely proud and envious of your courage. You and your family are in our prayers often. Keep smiling when you can 🙂

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