Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More History....Chemo or Surgery or what?

I was totally unravelled by now. Stress is not my strong suit and I try not to get into stressful situations because I worry. Health is a worry. Luckily up until now I had never been seriously ill or even sick with the flu more than once. Colds even were minor things. Wow, Cancer! Chemo. Numbness and nerve pain.

I got a referral to a pain management/Neurologist who ran a bunch of nerve conduction tests with needles and there seemed to be OK signals running. He did MRI's of everything and meanwhile gave me prescription for Neurontin, gabapentin and tramadol for the pain. Oh I previously been prescripted Lyrica for the nerve pain and low back pain. I called it my stupid drug because it really knocked me on my butt mentally and hardly touched the nerve pain. I really felt loopy and ended up stopping it after a week. That made the nerve pain come back twice as strong. So I decided to go with the new drugs, and even though the Neurontin was the older version of Lyrica, this crazy Neuro thought it was a good choice. Tramadol he told me was non addictive too. Also I could continue to take Xanax to settle me down. At this point I really didn't care about getting possibly dependent on Xanax as the pain was excruciating, and making me very anxious. The combo helped a bit, rendering the pain bearable, but the Neurontin made me almost as loopy and lethargic as Lyrica and made my ankles swell some. The Xanax, all of 2 daily doses of a whopping .125 MG really helped me hold onto my sanity. So now I was a druggie after all my life of avoiding drugs like the plague they are. ARRGGHH! I truly felt like a failure by comprising my beliefs.

I decided to go over my choices with my great Naturopathic Doctor. Dr. Bob. Glad I did too. Knowing my pesticide history as he did after helping me get through a bout of chronic fatigue a while back, he advised me to skip the chemo and just have the surgery. Like what does one do when there is a bad spot on an apple? Why cut it out, of course. That did it for me.

I recalled the skeptical look on the surgeon's face when he heard the Anderson people wanted to do 24 weeks of chemo prior to surgery. So I called and scheduled an appointment and went in to talk to him about doing the surgery without the chemo. He felt the tumor again and said why sure, why not? I asked if he thought he could get it all out with clean margins and he said he was very sure he could do that too. I liked his attitude and his confidence. I asked to be scheduled the next day. He laughed. Right.... I did get on the schedule three weeks hence which would have been about a year ago on Sept 15th 2008.

Oh and I figured since there was in situ's in the left side as well that I get a double mastectomy while I was at it. I always wanted a breast reduction and this was my ultimate chance. I had studied my options and it looked like the best for me. No more mammograms, no more chance of the breast cancer popping up later. I wanted the cancer behind me. No reconstruction either. Why? One, I was a smoker and the implant guy probably would not deal with me. Was I going to quit under this pressure. HELL NO! The other options included moving tissue from either my back or my abdomen up to my chest and that would require a second surgery. No thank you to that! Also the double option meant I could have whatever side breasts I wanted when i wanted them. A's for sports and motorcycle riding (those big dudes flop around something wicked on the bumps! and get in the way of tennis or golf swings) B's for everyday wear and D's or Double D's for the sexy going out wear. I liked the idea of the flexibility of the prostheses. ( I still do a year later. Good decision!)

Well, hurricane Ike derailed the plans. Sept 13 and all hell broke loose here in Houston. We stayed home this time since the storm was predicted to exceed a cat 3. Monday morning, surgery day, there was no power and the hospital was totally damaged so no surgery. We ended spent a powerless week living in the RV on generator power in the garage. Luckily the weather was gorgeous after the storm and not hot at all because the wait was horribly stressful and my numb hands and feet were just getting worse.

Finally Monday the 29th of September arrived and surgery happened.... that's the next story.

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