Sunday, June 29, 2008

Some things about breast cancer you probably didn't know....

Warning, some of this may be TMI -- so, if you are squemish, look away....
  • Edited to add -- they tell me that I am more than likely to lose my hair --- which will be a new experience.... and that when your hair comes back, it is often different than the hair you had before... So, I'm hoping that it will be straight and blond.
  • Getting a complete cancer diagnosis takes a long time and many, many tests. The first test came back as cancer May 22, and the oncologist finally gave me my level on June 25 .
  • In case you are interested, I'm a level IIb, which means that my lump was larger than 2 CM total (lump and arms...) and I had one lymph node involved, but nothing metastitcized.
  • When you lose a breast, it is actually concave where your breast was.
  • From now on I can only have IVs and blood pressure taken on my right side.
  • Mamograms don't really hurt --- but bone scans involving your head are very claustrophobic.
  • If you get at all motion sick, make sure you tell your anesthesiologist, they can give you things to help with nausea.
  • Bring your own pajama pants to wear in the hospital -- it prevents all kinds of embarrassing gown gaps.
  • Bring your ipod if you have to stay overnight -- because you won't sleep and the hospital only has 6 TV stations.
  • Some radiological scans and radiology treatments also earn you a card to show to the Airport Security guys.... because their equipment will pick up your radioactivity and they'll think you have a dirty bomb on your person.

6 comments:

Meansomething said...

Not squeamish enough not to ask why the IV and b/p thing. Inquiring minds want to know!

Just spent a night at a house with DirecTV and there was STILL nothing on I wanted to watch, so I feel you on the six channels thing. :-)

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

They told me that I need to avoid putting pressure on the arm - because they took lymph nodes, so that tends to upset the flow of fluid in my arm. The real concern is that I get what they call lymphodemia, which is permanent swelling in the arm.

I'm also not supposed to wear tight jewelery, get manicures or a whole bunch of other things that could increase the risk of infection or change circulation...

Seeking Solace said...

Yeah like the lady with the cancer scars is a huge terrorist threat!

Sounds like you're doing great!

Psych Post Doc said...

At least you're learning alot from this experience.

(Looking on the bright side)

julie said...

MAY 22?!?!! You are a good secret-keeper. I'm going to remember that.

Debbie said...

If you need to wear a compression sleeve, either temporarily or longer-term, there is fashion hope: http://www.lymphedivas.com/catalog/.

Sadly, I've become kind of a font of fun mastectomy fashion advice thanks to the experiences of too many friends who've had surgery in the past year :(

And straight blonde hair sounds like fun - you should experiment with a wig if you do lose yours. My Other Half has always been entertained by the idea of me as a blonde; perhaps Hubby could also enjoy a little excursion into fantasy?