Topless and tattooed.

So my scheduled 30 minute “let’s just talk” appointment ended 2 1/2 hours later with me naked from the waist up being fondled and tattooed.  If there had been drinks involved Image it would have been reminiscent of.. well… never mind.  I am now all set for 33 rounds of radiation.  25 to the breast and axilla and then an additional 8 just to the breast.  I do finally understand why I would need any radiation at all after all that chemo. Apparently cancer cells can be hanging out in the scar tissue from the surgery. Scar tissue has no blood supply so chemo is not delivered to the area as it is the rest of the body. Stupid scars.   Afterwards I was asked to meet with a very nice man from the American Cancer Society.  He had a lot of information but unfortunately, 8 months in, there was nothing I wasn’t already all too aware of. I’m not sure why this meeting happened now and not at the beginning of my journey, but it was a nice reminder of all that the ACS does.  I took the folder full of information I don’t need and thanked him. It will be a nice addition to the burn pile along with the endless pink themed booklets and pamphlets I was given at my very first visit to the interdisciplinary clinic.  

I mentioned in my last post about the lack of testing following treatment.  Interestingly enough, when I had surgery (at the same hospital, different building)  yesterday and was undergoing light sedation in the way of anesthesia I was told I would need to take a urine pregnancy test.  I declined and then asked what the thought process was here.. I just underwent 6 months and 16 rounds of chemotherapy and not once did anyone ask me to pee in a cup first.  They had no answer for me but did concede it was a good point.  Umm.. yea

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10 comments

  1. Laura Renegar · June 14, 2012

    I loved this post! I cannot remember if I responded yet or not (chemo head that I am)….I had the same exact experience with the American Cancer Society coming in (it was after my bilateral mastectomy) and I just wished I had had that information 9 months earlier when my battle began. I already volunteered for ACS as a team leader for the Making Strides walk, so I sat down with one of their employees and told them how that process didn’t work for people like me (chemo first then surgery) and I became the coordination for the Reach to Recovery program for ACS. We have now re-vamped the system to offer early support calls and meetings for women who want to have a survivor support them early on, we are in the hospitals for a visit after the mastecomy surgeries, and we volunteer in second opinion clinic. It is amazing how you can take an experience or situation out of this cancer fight and make it better for people coming through the process behind you ! Whoever says one person cannot make a big difference is extremely, and sadly, mistaken.

    Maybe tell your ACS people your feelings and they too can re-think their process…no matter what area you live in. If they don’t hear how the process doesn’t work for people, they cannot correct it ! They do lots of great things and spend tons of money on research so it’s helpful to let them know what they do right, and what needs some tweaking !

    Good luck with radiation. I hope you start feeling better each day and stronger too. 🙂

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · June 14, 2012

      Thanks! I do feel better already. It helps to have projects to focus on 🙂

      Like

      • Laura Renegar · June 14, 2012

        Yes ma’am – that certainly helps. Always good to focus on a project…out with old, in with the new !

        Like

  2. jelebelle · June 15, 2012

    they wouldn’t treat me at Sloan-Kettering unless i got pregnancy test…which i thought was funny after not havin had my cycle for almost 2 years and not even having that discussion at my current treatment center. sometimes it is funny the way things are done in this little cancer world. i am convinced more tests post baby/post mastectamoy would have caught my cancer way ahead of time. anyway, i like your idea of a burn pile. it would be great instead or along with of all of these races for the cure, we could arrange a big bonifre beach picnic to “burn your cancer bullshit paperwork” as a fundraiser.
    and also sending you good luck and healing thoughts for your radiation process.

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · June 15, 2012

      I love it! Burn the bullshit. As far as the pregnancy test, in my case it would be a geriatric pregnancy at the tail end of chemo. I wonder how many cases of that they see each year?

      Like

  3. judiththomasberg · June 17, 2012

    Thanks for the info on the Radiation, I haven’t been able to get so straight an answer to my question about why I would need if after chemo.
    I like the bonfire idea 🙂 Of course I won’t be done with all this crap for about another year but then that would fit nicely with a nice solstice bonfire – it’s a big tradition in Denmark where I come from, so very fitting 🙂

    Like

    • mainelyhopeful · June 17, 2012

      I’m not sure why they don’t just tell us this up front. I guess they like to dole out knowledge in small increments. Good luck with your treatments. It really does go by faster than you think possible 🙂

      Like

  4. Patricia Ouellette · June 26, 2012

    I didn’t understand the differnce between chemo & radiation until reading this. I’m learning a lot thru your journey & your blog. I also think it seems silly that they would wait this long to have someone come in to talk to you.

    Like

  5. Patricia Ouellette · June 26, 2012

    Just to clarify I knew what each were just not why one would need both. 🙂

    Like

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