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!


Kaz said...

Chez so glad you got this new doctor and seems it will do what he needs to do to help you.Thank god you have saved your life many times. Chez always keep you in my prayers and wrapping my arms around you.

Love Kaz.xo

Chez said...

Kaz, Dr Van is lovely and I believe, so too, is the surgeon. Dr Van assured me I will like him.
Thankfully, I have now been given another chance.
I feel truly blessed my friend. xo

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

All this information must be so devastating even if it was delivered by someone you trust.So there is a plan in place to deal with cancer?I wish you the best.

Anonymous said...

Chez, it sounds like you are in very good hands - I am grateful for that. I truly hope that you will find some relief in the resulting processes. My thoughts and prayers are with you always lovely friend.

Diane Rodgers said...

Hi my dear friend,

This news today has me feeling so sad that you once again have to face this horrible cancer. So thankful you have a great doctor who really cares and will do his best to help you.

I will be praying for the options to be good ones heal you and stop this disease from progressing. Praying for your physical and emotional well being my precious friend....

Your Dream Team is gathered around you Cheryl... ready to fight with you and praying to keep you protected from the effects of this struggle you are facing. We will lift you up before God and He will carry you through this.

With love as always,

rama said...

I am really glad that you found a doctor you can trust. Amidst such pain we must thank god for putting you in good hands. I always feel in such times God sends us to the right person, maybe somewhere we have done some good deeds, which is helping us.
Never forget that you are always in our mind, and the combined good will of so many people would surely show its effect in the most positive way.

Diana Doyle said...

Sending love and a hug Chez.

Fighting cancer is such a must feel exhausted some days.

I can't help but think of my beautiful mum and what she must've felt when I read what you are going like her, have such a positive outlook on life, which is half the battle!

I will keep you in my thoughts,

with love
Diana x

Starry said...

As much as we have all been waiting for you to share this news, it has probably benefited from you taking the time to 'process' your thoughts and feelings. I'm sure you still have lots of processing to do! Now its our turn to process. One thing for certain, we are all ready to cheer you on, pray, hope, and believe.

love you, xoxox Starry

nancyspoint said...

Chez, Don't feel bad about taking time to report in. You definitely needed time to process all this latest stuff. I'm glad you have a doctor you feel comfortable with and who seems to respect you as a person, that means a lot. I hope you are presented with good options on the 11th. Will be waiting to here. Good luck.

diane b said...

It must be hard to get your head around these facts. I feel so sorry for you. I hope Dr Logan has the answers.

Chez said...

Sue, it does seem to be very much the 'unknown' in my case. There is very little knowledge to call on with the way my Ca has spread.
I rely a lot on the friendship and support of my 'blog buddies' and the Grace of God to give me strength.
My thanks to you..

Chez said...

Sweet Audrey although I knew there was a 'something' there, this threw me into a downward spiral for some time.
Picked myself up again, just as we do.
Sending all my love and gratitude my dear friend xo

Chez said...

Di, once again, I have found strength and comfort in your words. You have done that successfuly for me on many occasions.
I know that there is no need to ask, however, I ask that you continue to hold me up in prayer wshile we wsait for the miracle to occur.
Sending all my love and gratitude to you my friend. Chez xo

Chez said...

Rama, my thanks for your words which serve to remind me of the very things I tend to forget in troubled times.
'The combined good will of so many' is very powerful.
As I mentioned to Sue, I gather strength from my 'Dream Team' understanding the huge difference it makes!
Today, and every day, I give thanks to each and every one of you, known and unknown.
May your lives be blessed. Love and friendship Chez xo

Chez said...

Diana, I feel sure there must be reminders for you wherever you look. The battle your Mum bravely faced would surely have left her exhausted and yet I also know that she would have gained strength from the love and support of family and friends always putting on a 'brave face.'
It is nice to know that you have me in your thoughts. I feel truly blessed.
Love Chez xo

Chez said...

Starry, you are so right on all counts. I know, and understand, the strength gained from taking the time to 'process' information, and then to know, and understand, the benefits of 'the combined good will' of my 'Dream Team.'
My sweet friend I am so very grateful to you for the gift of your friendship. Love Chez xo

Chez said...

Nancy, I feel sure you understand 'exactly' how necessary it is to 'process' information at times.
I am not sure why this time felt so 'different' as I knew there was a 'something' in that region. It simply surprised me that it had gone 'under the radar' for so long.
However, today I give thanks that we are, once again, back on track.
Thanks for your presence in my life. Love Chez

Chez said...

There must be something 'good' out there somewhere Diane B. Haydn and I could certainly do with a 'break.' In the meantime, we are grateful to have the opportunity to see Dr Logan so quickly.

nollyposh said...

You are doing great Chez... One day at a time... One step at a time... One breath at a time... and remember (as i endeavor always to too) ...that illness is always a journey with Mind, Body, and Spirit... Faith that the right Docs will be sent your way, Faith that the money you need will arrive when you need it and Faith in Yourself that *You* are the Shipmaster here who guides the ship... Trust those instincts for they come from the Deep where your Heart resides with God <3

Chez said...

Thank you Nolly for the reminder of the importance of friends. I believe friends remind us of what we know deep in our heart to be true. However, sometimes under stress, we forget. Thank you for the gift you have given..Chez xo

Beth L. Gainer said...


Thank you for sharing this important information. The fact that you have a great doctor is going to be very helpful.

I was on Aromasin, too.

We in your blogging network are thinking about you.

Diane Rodgers said...

Love you Cheryl, and I am praying continually for you and your well being to get through this.... yet again...... God is with you ...always...and so am I....xoxox

Carole said...

Dear Chez,

I am so glad you've managed to find a doctor that you have faith in, it makes such a difference.

Hope you get good options on the 11th March.

I wrote a while back now about Radiotherapy and the after damage it can cause (according to my Oncologist).
It's a treatment we sometimes need to sort something out - but it doesn't always work (as in my case) and it can *sometimes* cause additional problems - however, when it does work, it works well...
Tough call eh :-(

Hugs Chez as always xxxx

Ronni Gordon said...

Hi there,
Sorry to hear of this latest development, but as you and your friends have observed, there is always something to do. These doctors have a deep bag of tricks! Glad you have one that you like and trust. I'm sure it will help once you have a plan instead of dealing with all this uncertainty as you are now.

Anonymous said...

Dear Chez
I have only just read some of your story and I do hope you are coming through the treatment OK and that it works for you. I have had one (fortunately) episode/encounter with breast cancer and received some wonderful treatment by dedicated people at the Wesley in Brisbane, and still do with my checkups. I cannot speak highly enough of the staff who travel this road with us.

I can understand just a little of your journey though your's has been far longer than mine and I do hope you get a good result this time.

I will hold you in my prayers tonight for God's love and light and healing. May peace and joy be your's and your family's.

With love Barb

Rose Mary Saraiva said...

Chez, know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, take care.
Love Rose Mary

gillian said...

Hope it's going ok. Why haven't you posted for a while? Best of luck.

Beth L. Gainer said...


Thank goodness for this wonderful oncologist. My hopes and prayers are with you. I'm so sorry about the pain.

By the way, I was on Aromasin for awhile....