Radiation Treatment #28
After my now-typical night, the radio came on when I was sleeping. I drug myself out of bed and got ready for the day. Daniel got up, too, to accompany me for "doctor day". I hoped the appointments went in a timely manner, as Steve the refrigerator guy is going to be here between 0930 and 1000.
We got over to the radiation center, and I changed into the gown. I chose an older, softer gown today, as my nipple is really sore, and during the night I was touching/rubbing the underarm incision and realized that it, too, was breaking down. Shoot.
I join Daniel in the waiting room; we are alone. Hm, where is everybody? And it's 8:40, my turn. Millie and Bruce come in, she goes in to change. We make small talk. I pick at the puzzle, and Elaine shows me where 5 or so pieces go. Fran and Paul come in. Hm. There's no activity in there, it's almost eerie. Then Ron calls me back at 0853. (Good, let's go, get this done. I've got a repair guy coming, and I have to see the doctor yet...) There's a new girl in there. I say hello, a new face. Ron introduces Halley. She smiled, didn't say much, and I didn't see her again. I get on the table, and ask what the accessory is called. An electron cylinder guide, I think he said. I said it several times so that I could tell you, but I kindof forgot. I'll ask again tomorrow. I told him I called it a snout. He laughed, and agreed. Adrienne lined me up, and they stepped out of the room.
Click, zzzzzz, whoa--it's not my imagination today. The nipple and areola are prickly and instinctually I want to wiggle away from the sensation. I hold still. Click. Done. Shew. 2 more treatments. I can do this.
Ron comes back in and moves the snout, and lets the table down. He instructs me that I need to tell "them" (the nurse and doctor) that I need discharge instructions and a follow up appointment scheduled. Ok, thanks. See you tomorrow.
I go back out to the waiting area, and Melissa calls us back; it's about 10 after 9. We go to the scales, 145#. Hm. Just watching it. We went into an exam room where Melissa talks to us about what to expect for end of treatment. I tell her Ron's instructions, and she nods her head. She looks at my breast. Oww, she said. Yeah, I said. The nipple and areola really hurt, and it's open under here, and it broke down over the axillary incision about 3 this morning. She listens and looks. Ok, she said. How about some silvadene cream?? And you know, let's do a hydrogen peroxide treatment, too. Ok? Sure. They're the experts. She soaks some gauze pads (sponges) into a half-strength H2O2 solution, squeezes it out until very wet and almost dripping, and lays the on my very reddened, skin sloughing breast. AHHH--That's cold! Why didn't we wait for a hot flash?? She laughed. She had padded me with a large blue pad, so that was absorbing the stuff. She left it on for about 10 minutes, and when she took it off, it did feel better, and a lot of the redness was gone, too. Hm, very good. She asked about the silvadene cream and I said sure. Whatever you need to do, you're the one familiar with this stuff....I lay there on the table, "air drying".
Melissa goes out to get supplies, and Dr. DeBiose comes in. He shakes hands with us, and looks at my breast. That looks good, he says. It held up pretty well. He basically just looked at me and told us that we've got 2 more treatments, that I'll have a follow up with him in 4-6 weeks, and if we have any questions, call. Alrighty then. We small talked for a minute, he shook hands again, and left the room.
Melissa came back in with several items in her hands. She set them on the counter, and proceeds to do her nursely things: opening packages, setting things out where she wanted them, and chattering all the while. She squeezed a bunch of silvadene cream onto a telfa pad and placed it under my breast. She squeezed silvadene cream and aquaphor onto a half of a telfa pad and placed it on my nipple. Then she squeezed some silvadene cream onto the end of another telfa pad and stuck it to the axillary incision. I'm holding these with my own hands, and she has a long piece of tubular netting, maybe 30 inches or so, which she has snipped and cut. She puts this over my head, then one arm at a time, pulling it down over my chest. She slips a dry gauze pad over my healthy nipple, and declares me good to go. And this is what I ended up with.
Even through the mesh, I can see the redness of the left breast. It looks full to me, too. Also, look how full it is above the axillary incision. (My shoulder is aching from the fluid.) I see Ike on Thursday to move the fluid away. Melissa helps me get my shirt on.
Melissa writes me a prescription for the silvadene cream, and offers pain medicine. I tell her we have some, but I'll look and see what we might need. She said they are a phone call away if I need anything. And to come in for a check if I have concerns about the areas of breakdown or if I want them to dress them again. Ok, thanks. I tell her I'll schedule my follow up appointment tomorrow, as I don't have my planner with me today. Ok, she says. See you tomorrow...
We leave, it's 9:35.
Just as we're at the drive-thru window at the pharmacy to drop off that prescription, Breon calls. The refrigerator guy is there, the job is done, and he is waiting to be paid. Ok, we'll be right there.
Another 5 minutes and we're home. Steve and Bre are chatting. I write a check, and Dan asks Steve about the repair. Steve said that GE appliances are usually pretty good, this part is the one that goes, and it's less costly than other manufacturers. Cool. So we've got a functioning refrigerator for $199.20. Much better than the $2000 that we found online to replace it. Thank you Steve. May you be blessed.
I call the hospital, and Dawn tells me that "whenever I get here is ok". Great, thanks. I put the items back into the freezer. Some of it is a little soft, some still frozen, and some finished thawing. I moved that stuff into the fridge side, and told Daniel that we either cook it or lose it, whichever he wanted to do, I had to go to work.
I get to Jackson, park 2 blocks away, and walk in. (Oh, we have a shuttle??) What warm greetings, smiles, and hugs. We had a great rest of the afternoon, and before long the night shift showed up. More hugs and smiles.
I drove home in the gray rain, perfect for growing. Daniel had a restful day. I asked him to help me out of the tube thing and removed the dressings. Yeowser. That nipple and areola are really sore. I gently removed the ointments, and put the half strength H2O2 soaks on. We visited a bit while I had the soaks on, he watched his golf stuff, and I caught up on email. When I took off the stuff, maybe about 20 minutes later, it did feel somewhat better, and looked less red. The nipple and areola are still very ouchy tonight. I gooped up the skin with the aloe vera and elta blend, then wrote here.
Tomorrow is radiation, then we see Dr. Amy Bolmer, the medical oncologist. I'm sure we'll talk about tamoxifen. I'm going to ask about the effexor for hot flashes, and also for a lab draw if she doesn't offer. I'm a bit anxious, but now that I'm very near the end of "the hard part", I'm ready to reclaim my life, to get strong, and clear these toxins from my body. I've got a victory party to plan....