Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Events as I Know Them

'As to diseases make a habit of two things - to help, or at least, to do no harm'
- Hippocrates, Greek Physician

Thank you to all that have taken the time to email, or get in touch regarding my test results. Your thoughtfulness is comforting... and very much appreciated.

After what felt like a very long wait I have now seen my absolutely brilliant oncologist. I like what I see even more the second time around. As Dr Andre Van sat at his desk reading the report he began to feel around my neck region. I, very bravely, asked him if it would make it easier for him if my clothing was removed. That done, he continued to probe... while reading. Initially he questioned his perspicacity in requesting the tests, however, as he went on he began to see the wisdom of his decision. It was only when the nurse entered the room that he became aware that we had not followed protocol by undressing behind the curtain.

What was thought to be a problem in the right lung is a collapsed lobe as a result of radiation damage; it could, in fact possibly be a small mass. That will be observed!

As thought, there appears to be a change, with suspicious nodal metastasis in the right axilla.

There is some confusion owing to the increasing size of several lobular masses in the area of the right supraclavicular region with associated bone destruction. Given that Dr Van was seeing me for only the second time, he impressed me with his willingness to seek information and answers. On reading previous reports, he suggested that a biopsy of the lesion in question had been performed. I felt ready to dispute that when he told me the date and location of the test. I quickly realised that, at that time, I was searching for answers; looking for a reason for the unbearable pain that had me screaming in agony each and every day. I have few memories of that time other than the pain. What I do remember is the first time I was given opiates and the sleep that came easily. Alleluia!

It seems there is one mass in particular that was positive prior to radiation. It was the very thing I thought the radiation was to address. To learn that it has been there the whole time, and has grown, came as a surprise as I have had no treatment for it. OK So I am grateful to this wonderful doctor who is giving me yet another chance, however, there have been several emotions processed to reach this point. It would seem the radiation has been of little, or no use, and may even have done more harm than good.

Dr Van did say I am not without options. He made a phone call to my Radiation Oncologist, followed by a call to Dr Logan who is an Oncological Surgeon. Miraculously, I have been given an appointment for a consultation with Dr Logan on 11 March.

I am going into this with an open mind, however, it  does appear that my options will be limited due to the build up of fluid in that region and the degree of damage from radiation.

In the meantime, my Femara has been replaced with Aromasin (exemestane.) I have been warned of the increasing susceptibility to joint swelling and pain with this new medication.

This entry has been done in record time for which I apologise. Do hope you can make sense of it. As one week has passed since my appointment you know it is not my 'usual' style to leave it this long to report. I am really trying to get my head arounds these facts!