Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Go Cut Me A Switch -- I Mean Which Size Port Do You Want?

Not that my mother or father ever asked me to do such a thing, but I have heard the threat -- "go cut me a switch."  Cut a switch? Are you kidding me?  But I guess, in a way, I know exactly how that child feels -- the very painful dilemma.  

The surgeon's nurse, during my consultation yesterday, showed me two chemotherapy ports.  Which one would you prefer, the big one or the little one?  As if I had a clue.  As if I wanted one in the first place.  As if I wanted yet another surgery.  As if I wanted to take chemo at all.  I didn't want to have breast cancer in the first place.  But here I am, living proof that breast cancer can happen to someone who thought they were doing everything right.  I get to take my licks anyway.

My breast cancer is low risk; 90% chance of no re-occurrance, which I thought, mistakenly, meant that after a double mastectomy, I would be done.  Apparently not.  My breast surgeon/oncologist gently told me that, no, I would defiantly have to take some sort of systemic medical oncology treatment after surgery.  What kind? I asked.  She never ventured as guess.  She just said that my sentinel lymph node test results would be sent to my oncologist, and that he would suggest a treatment plan.  My results were also sent to a place called Genomic health for an oncotypeDX breast cancer assay, which gives a recurrence score and prognosis for  node negative estrogen receptor (ER)  positive patients.  My score was 15, which means that I have a 10% average rate of distant recurrence.  For the first time in my life, I was rejoicing, celebrating a low test score.  Apparently I thought that meant I would not need to take chemotherapy.  Apparently, I was mistaken.

Dwain's sister, Carolyn, gave me a book for Christmas by Suzanne Sumers -- Knockout.  Right on the front sleeve it says:  Interviews with doctors who are curing cancer and how to prevent getting it in the first place.  It's a gripping book, by the way.  Once I'm through reading it, I'm sending the book to my daughter, Shaynan, in Tacoma, WA because (a) she'd be the one daughter most likely to read it and (b) she's all about Suzanne Somer's philosophy of no chemicals in your body unless it's absolutely necessary.  Me? I have a lot of give and take on that.  I'm not a big fan of pain. I'll take anything that works.

When I first told Shaynan about how the oncologist suggested chemo treatments, she had a fit.  Why didn't I get more information, enlist a study group, do anything but this?  Because, for one thing, I have a full-time job and don't have time to do lots of research.  And a study group? We live in a little-bitty town in Arkansas and are surrounded by more little bitty towns.  We don't have an astonishing number of universities with study groups.  But I'd give anything if she'd do one, if for no other reason than for future reference.  Suzanne Somers is all about study groups and long-term natural-type help for such things as cancer. Can't fault her for that.

For those of us who are about to embark on a dark and scary journey of chemotherapy (thank goodness I don't have to have radiation) Knockout is a very enlightening book   I don't like all the negative things Suzanne Somers has to say about chemo -- not one bit, mostly because I'm about to start that journey myself. That said, I will have to say, the doctors and nutritionists she interviewed, and there are several, are well worth the read. I don't happen to agree with everyone's points of view, but I can read and weigh their words and see if they make sense to me or not.  I'm extremely interested in the nutrition parts because I do believe that nutrition is huge in not only preventing cancer, but keeping it bay after.  I think nutrition is key during chemo as well, to keep energy and immune systems strengthened.  I'm definitely going to become a label reader.  Gotta watch out for soy products (ER cancers love soy) and MSG (or any chemical preservative).

Any day someone shines a light down my dark path is a good day for me, so this has been a good day.  I still don't know what size port I'll be getting, but at least I know what it looks like and that someday (after 6 chemo treatments), I can have it removed.  That will be a good, good day.

1 comment:

  1. Keep up the fight. You've got lots of friends covering your back.