It is more important to know where you are going, than how long it takes to get there.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Early, The Better...

On Tuesday I went to Molly's final Brownie meeting for the year. One of the moms sitting with me confessed that she has never had a mammogram. What?!

A mammogram takes less time than getting your teeth cleaned. And, depending on your flossing habit, it can be less painful. A mammogram takes less time than getting a pedicure. Granted it is not as relaxing, but it is better for your. A mammogram takes less time than driving all the way to Starbucks, waiting in line, and then waiting while they make your fancy coffee drink. As far as I know, very few people have died from from dirty teeth, ugly toes or lack of caffeine. However, too many women die from breast cancer every day.

You - ladies and gentlemen - need to ask your wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and others that you care about, "When did you have your last mammogram?" Breast cancer affects both young and old. It does not discriminate by age, and you are never out of the woods.

Yesterday I met my new medical oncologist and radiation oncologist, and learned that I caught my cancer fairly early. Would you believe that this is my fourth medical oncologist? First there was Dr. Ice Milk, then Dr. Vanilla Bean, then Dr. Hot Fudge, and now Dr. Banana Split. (Banana Splits are the complete package - fruit, ice cream and chocolate - doesn't get much better than that!) Dr. Banana Split told me that I only need 4 doses of chemotherapy! I will receive the chemotherapy every other week for 8 weeks. The reason I need only 4 doses is because I caught the cancer early. Even thought the tumor was huge, 5.2cm, there were only small amounts of the cancer in just one lymph node. I will start chemotherapy after July 8th. (My mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew are visiting July 1-8,) The moral of this story - the earlier you detect the tumor, the better the outcome, and the easier the treatments.

The radiation oncologist, Dr. Dad, said that I will have 6 1/2 weeks of radiation. Radiation is daily, Monday through Friday. I can pick a time between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. It will begin about a month after chemotherapy ends. Dr. Dad got his nickname because we spent a good amount of time talking about our kids. He has four children, with one the same age as Riley. We commiserated about having 15 year olds.

Every single doctor that I have met, and who is connected to Mass General, has asked me if I have children, their ages, gender, and how they are doing. It appears that Mass General doctors have a genuine interest in the whole family and not just the patient.

Back to lists. There is a pre-operation list that needs to be given to patients.
1. Slippers - The standard issue of the hospital is a pair of socks with rubber marks on the bottom. These socks are similar to the socks that toddlers wear with rubber on the bottom to keep the from slipping, except the hospital sock are a very dull khaki color. When your walk the corridors or go to the bathroom, it just feels a little better to walk in a nice new pair of slippers than in oversized toddler socks.
2. Bathrobe - Hellooooo, the back of the hospital gowns are open! When you walk the corridors, you don't want to be giving everyone a show at the same time. A nice bathrobe makes you feels a little better dressed when your wear it over the ultra-drab hospital gowns.
3. Nightgown - I brought a button front nightgown, but never changed into it. It seemed that it was much easier for the nurses to empty the drains by unsnapping the hospital gown at the shoulders, so I didn't bother with changing.
4. Remove all jewelry - I showed up for surgery with my wedding ring on my finger because my fingers were more swollen than a kielbasa sausage. The pre-op nurses had to cut my wedding ring off my finger! Yes, I had surgery before the surgery. I asked them to put it in an envelope, and had Chubba place it in his front pocket. He was going to just stuff it in his pocket with his loose change.

Anyway, back to getting a mammogram. The next time you pick up the phone to make an appointment for anything, also make that appointment for a mammogram. Cancer sucks. You don't want to find this out first hand.

Lecture over.

1 comment:

  1. I have friends who had the same cancer as me, but later stage - and ended up with SIXTEEN WEEKS of chemo. Four months. Later stage is really brutal.

    Anyway, 2 months of bi-weekly exposure to cytotoxic substances - in what other situation would you be thrilled to hear that it's only 2 months???