Wednesday, 4/25/18

GP APPOINTMENT FOR CLEARANCE

Went to see my GP, Dr. Stephanie Mundy, today for a full clearance for surgery. She reviewed all my test results and discussed what I should expect going forward. Dr. Mundy is a terrific doctor with compassion for ages. She will provide clearance to the surgeons today.

Tuesday, 4/17/18

STRESS TEST

I was so worried about this damn thing. I’m out of shape and tired as hell. I thought I’d have some weird fainting episode or worse. I went by myself because Ken is out of town. I ended up doing such a great job and stayed on that thing for the entire time, minus 15 seconds. I swear it made me feel like I could train for a marathon. Not only that, Dr. Awar said the test was negative and my heart is good to go for the surgery. I really just can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have this out of the way. Dr. Awar did discuss a certain medication that is given beyond surgery during cancer treatment and the effects of this medication on me would have to be closely monitored. He said that if I had a complication called ejection fraction that the medication would have to be discontinued immediately but that the condition reverses itself. I’m glad he told me and we will cross that bridge later if necessary. My cardiologist is simply wonderful and I’m so glad I have him on my side. What a great support beyond just clinical banter.

Monday, 4/16/18

DECISION

I spent the weekend feeling really heavy. I wish it wasn’t my decision, but it is. The doctors have given me the information and, instinctively, I feel like I understand what they think would be right for me. Thankfully, my next door neighbor is a long-time GP here in Houston and knows several of the doctors and the hospital system here quite well. She told me if it were her she would do the double mastectomy. Thankfully, I had already pretty much made my decision by then and my discussion with her was validating. I called Dr. Spiegel’s office. It’s done. Decision made. Not an easy one and I’m somewhat sick to my stomach. I’m a bit of a wreck.

Friday, 4/13/18

RETURN TO DR. LIM

My final meeting with Dr. Sherry Lim. We reviewed the information, specifically her feeling about the 6:00 mass. She made sure that I understood her suspicion about it and that, although I still had a choice, a lumpectomy would, undoubtedly, lead to a future mastectomy. She also explained that prior to surgery I would need to come in for a shot in my left breast to insert a dye that would help her find the lymph node(s) that connect and receive fluids/cells from that breast. She will remove at least one lymph node during the surgery. She gave me the weekend to make my decision and I was to call the office on Monday so they could schedule the surgery and get things moving.

Thursday, 4/12/18

RETURN TO SPIEGEL

One last visit to finalize information and discuss my options. No one will tell me what to do, only my options with pros and cons. It seems the answer is double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction. The lumpectomy seems to be out completely because of the “highly suspicious” nature of the 6:00 mass and the chances of going back in for a mastectomy beyond this is high. It seems my options are single or double mastectomy. I have calcification in the right breast as well, but no cancer is suspected there. However, the term, “mistake,” has been used quite often. The context is that my breast tissue is making mistakes, two mistakes at this point in time, which means, it will continue making mistakes. Because of my preexisting conditions (AFib and Lupus), continual surgeries would be best avoided. If my breast tissue makes another mistake five or ten years down the road, or further, my body will have been living with these conditions that much longer and I will be weaker than I am now due to age. Another major surgery and/or treatment while I work with AFib and Lupus at say, age 70, would be less than ideal. I will see Dr. Lim again and the decision will have to be made beyond that.

Tuesday, 4/3/18

IMG_3920APPOINTMENT WITH RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON

Dr. Lim referred me to Dr. Aldona Spiegel, a reconstructive surgeon specializing in mastectomy reconstruction and who works closely with Dr. Lim. She discussed the options for reconstruction but seemed to firmly move in the direction of immediate implants as opposed to tissue expanders. She explained that her office would act as the “lead” in defining surgical scheduling, process and recovery. The timeframe would be roughly seven hours of surgery from mastectomy to reconstruction happening consecutively. She will want to see me one more time before the surgery and has requested a stress test with my cardiologist, clearance from him as well as the rheumatologist or GP, and, finally, a full clearance workup by the anesthesia/pre-op department. She is my favorite doctor so far. She is reassuring, positive and has a tremendous reputation in the breast cancer community. Although, Dr. Lim is a very close second. My cardiologist called her “famous” because of her reputation in the medical community. So far, I feel I’m in good hands. But, I will not say that I am truly okay with any of this, really. In another thought, I am still completely in shock how I went from trouble-shooting Lupus to breast cancer. I still find myself saying, “Wait, what?” Moving along.