Thursday, May 5, 2011


I know, I know, it feels like we just *got* here... however, this was set up in haste, and people are having problems with the site, being able to post comments or follow the blog - so we're moving.

You can continue the story over here:


Yah! I get to keep my breast! altered and proud.... :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

no results today

this sucks.

I''m going to try to use this:

for making life easier.  If you want to help out, and you're not on the  list, send me your email addy before the 11th and I'll add you in. After the 11th, you'll have to check in with someone else for a while.You can pick and choose what you want to do and avoid unpleasant tasks or the ones that don't fit in your life... I'm hoping it will work out well for everyone.

And, if not, we'll scrap it, k?

Another quick note

I want a better place to blog - this site seems somewhat limited as to options. Could be I'm just stupid & stressed, but I've definitely seen better.

Suggestions welcome... I'd just move it on over.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A quick note about 'going public'

Why ever not? Don't my friends deserve to know that something major is going on with me? Shouldn't most folks know that if I'm cranky or crabby or distracted or weepy or simply needing (a lot) more help for a while, that if I skip obligations or fail at keeping promises, that there's very good reason and it has *nothing* to do with them?

There's no shame in this, any more than there is in having the flu. For nine bloody months, if I'm *very* lucky.

And I'm going to need help, and lots of it; I'm going to be crabby and cranky and a terrible patient, because I always *am*; I'm going to be weepy and distracted; I'm not going to be able to do half of what I'd planned to do this year; I'm going to forget important things that I should remember; I'm going to forget my manners; and for as long as this goes on, I'm going to be hideously self centered. I'm going to be on drugs.

Take the worse case of ManFlu ever, and I might match it.*

There's a reason for it. Trust me, this is not the reality I want, this is not who I want to be, and breast cancer is not the sole defining facet of who I am - but for the next period of time, it will be the defining factor in my life. There's no point in keeping that a secret.

The more people in my life who know, the more support I'm likely to garner - and can I just say, people have almost uniformly been amazing so far -  and the easier it will be for everyone.

And let me apologize in advance for my behavior in the months ahead, because I *know* I'm going to need to; let me thank you in advance for putting up with me, and for helping me out even when I'm being ridiculous and frustrating and whiny and needy beyond belief. For dealing with this with me, and helping me deal with it on my own terms as much as possible. It's a mitzvah.... just  think of the brownie points you're earning!

And you are all beloved in my life.

*let's hope NOT!

The Day After

Doesn't suck as bad, and I've finally been able to wear a bra an entire day without it giving me utter fantods - sometimes a little compression is a *good* thing.

Met with oncologist and radiation therapist today... a different radiation therapist than the one for mom, as it turns out, but she seems very good. I suppose it's one way to get tattoos - I'll get three; one on each flank and one dead center to help with alignment for the treatment. That's months off yet, though... it seems the order will be surgery, chemo (and everyone's assuming chemo at this point, though it will depend on the pathology report), radiation, and adjuvant therapy. If I choose the last.

Lots of folks who knew me from when I was in with mom, which was both good and strange. Deja vu all over again...

Pathology results are expected back tomorrow. That's my self set deadline for telling the parents as well, the return of the pathology report - if it's bad news, I want the chance to freak out by myself first; if it's "good", or what passes for that these days, I'll be in a better frame of mind to break it to them.

I'm trying to get things done while I still can. Setting up a care schedule online - currently using 'CareRunner' as a test, but if anyone knows of any other good (better!) programs for managing care,  please let me know. My hope is to find something I can set up with tasks I might need done (laundry, trash, mowing, mail, meals, rides, etc), and let people pick off the whatever fits their schedule, interests, and abilities. The ideal would have automatic weekly/daily/monthly settings, so I could set a task to repeat every 'X' number of days.

Suggestions or volunteers to test out the CareRunner site are welcome.... I'm curious as to how it will work in reality, and I've a limited time to get my act together.

Monday, May 2, 2011

I promise not to flinch

Semi back now, it being a Darvocet sort of night here. This was different than the other biopsy, and it's a lot more painful, a much bigger shock to the system - even before the Lidocaine wore off, my head was blown, that strong shocky feeling rattling my bones down.  I've spent most of the day clutching an ice pack to my chest like a child with a teddy bear, shivers of pain running down my side and arm, the arm itself held tight to my side. Bird with a broken wing...

I didn't get half the stuff on my list done, I couldn't. It is still yelping at me through the darvocet fog, further away and muffled, but present, tracking my movements...

"You will lie face down on a moveable exam table and the affected breast or breasts will be positioned through an opening in the table.

The table is then raised and the procedure is then performed beneath it. 
The breast is compressed and held in position throughout the procedure.
A local anesthetic will be injected into the breast to numb it.
Several stereotactic pairs of x-ray images are taken.
A very small nick is made in the skin at the site where the biopsy needle is to be inserted.
The radiologist then inserts the needle and advances it to the location of the abnormality using the x-ray and computer generated coordinates. X-ray images are again obtained to confirm that the needle tip is actually within the lesion.
Tissue samples are then removed using one of two methods.
  • In a core needle biopsy, the automated mechanism is activated, moving the needle forward and filling the needle trough, or shallow receptacle, with 'cores' of breast tissue. The outer sheath instantly moves forward to cut the tissue and keep it in the trough. This process is repeated three to six times.
  • With a vacuum-assisted device (VAD), vacuum pressure is used to pull tissue from the breast through the needle into the sampling chamber. Without withdrawing and reinserting the needle, it rotates positions and collects additional samples. Typically, eight to 10 samples of tissue are collected from around the lesion.
After the sampling, the needle will be removed.
A final set of images will be taken.
A small marker may be placed at the site so that it can be located in the future if necessary.
Once the biopsy is complete, pressure will be applied to stop any bleeding and the opening in the skin is covered with a dressing. No sutures are needed.
A mammogram may be performed to confirm that the marker is in the proper position.
This procedure is usually completed within an hour."
The needle is the size of a pencil, the vacuum hisses, there was blood on my gown. Take a picture in black and white, confirm the site, the needle waiting in my breast. Compression, steri strips and mammograms; gauze and ice packs; the samples on their styrofoam tray. My head blown. Tagged and released, pain running down my arm. Raw and shocky.

'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'