next steps

I finally got my pathology results late afternoon yesterday, but wanted to wait for additional information before updating all of you.

First of all, my margins are excellent. This refers to the area around the tumor and is important in determining whether I am a good candidate for the balloon catheter radiation. The lymph nodes came back negative which means there is no metastasis.  What wonderful news to get. I was so happy I cried.

Along with the pathology results I learned that my radiation treatment is going to be moved up. Originally it was tentatively scheduled for the end of November, but now I will be having radiation the week of October 29th through November 2nd. I will be reporting to Abington Hospital daily for two treatments per day with a span of 6 hours between treatments. I guess I’ll be making that trip with my eyes closed by the end of the week!

I’m scheduled for a follow-up with the radiation oncologist, Dr. Patel, on Monday, the 22nd and a “sim” appointment on Friday the 26th at Abington, also with Dr. Patel. I’m not sure what a “sim” is, but I am guessing it is a simulation so that I know what to expect when I start treatments on Monday the 29th. I will see Dr. DuPree on Thursday, the 25th for my post-op follow-up, and she will insert the balloon catheter in the office at that time.

Along with all these results and appointments, I also was told that my tumor is hormone driven. It was strongly estrogen and progesterone positive. I wonder if that’s why I’m still getting “power surges” (my description of hot flashes) twelve years post menopause?! Because of this, there is a good chance that I may need to take an anti estrogen – aromatase inhibitor drug.  I asked if that would be Tamoxifen, and Dr. DuPree said that Tamoxifen is used with breast cancer patients who are PRE-menopausal. She feels that this drug is less invasive and has fewer side-effects.

I spoke with a friend who has had the balloon catheter method of radiation. She said the catheter was not painful, but that it is a bit uncomfortable and a nuisance trying to get into a comfortable sleep position. No showers permitted while the catheter is in place. She said she managed to get into the bathtub and wash without getting the bandages wet. Because tub access is difficult for me with my fused ankle, I guess I will be a little on the stinky side during radiation! Just kidding — I’ll be restricted to standing sink baths to control the stink!

. . . and so it is

6 thoughts on “next steps

  1. Malou Walther says:

    You are going to become very adept at medical terminology Debbie. Just processing all this information is daunting. This is very good news, and also a relief, I would think, to have the radiation moved up. Less time to spend in worry. If you would like a driver to Abington on Tuesday October 30, my day is free.

    All my best – Malou

  2. Loretta Shatt says:

    Very, very good news!
    There is also waterless soap (used in hospitals) but I strongly recommend good old soap & water. Don’t think being a little “stinky” is going to worry anyone.

    Love ya,

  3. Fran says:

    Sooo happy for you. All good news & worthy of tears of happiness! Please let me know if you need ANYTHING. XO Fran

  4. Kathy Winters says:

    Thank you for the invitation to read your blog, Debbie. I am so happy to learn that the news is good. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers and knowing that all is well…..and so it is! (a phrase that I know well from Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind. )

  5. Margot says:

    Very good news! Things are moving along thank goodness! Prayers of thanksgiving….

  6. Bille Jean says:

    Even with the great news, my heart hurts for all this stuff you’re going through, but on the other hand — how truly lucky you are. You made me call for a mamy check up, should have done it in July, it is so easy not to do it. Take care Deb.

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