Thursday, October 14, 2010

Couch Potato

I sort of got in trouble at the doctor's office yesterday.  She said that my activities should be extremely limited.  She granted me one daily outing to go out to eat, but otherwise I should be a couch potato.  She actually said I should sit around and do nothing, "like a potato".  So probably all the right armed activities I'd been doing weren't such a good idea.  I guess the problem is any activity that raises my heart rate, even a little bit, could cause fluid to build up in the area where my not so good friend Fred was...which could cause problems with putting in the balloon for the radiation treatment.  Oops.  But the good news is she did an ultra sound on my breast yesterday and thought everything looked good.  So maybe I wasn't so bad after all. 

The doctor shared the final pathology results with us.  I was officially confirmed stage 1 with ductal invasive carcinoma, estrogen and progesterone receptive and HER2 negative.  They also found a little DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) within in the tissue and doctor said that is common with this type of cancer.  The one odd thing is they found some other abnormal cells that they could not positively identify, however that does not change anything about the diagnosis. Fred ended up being 2 centimeters (a little smaller that previously thought) and there were "clear margins".  Meaning they took out tissue surrounding the tumor and all that tissue was negative for cancer, thus giving me clear margins.  They re-confirmed no cancer in the lymph nodes.  So essentially the cancer does not appear to have spread anywhere, which makes me a good candidate for the partial radiation procedure.  And the doctor pointed out that since Fred has been evicted I am technically cancer free!

As mentioned earlier Dr. K did an ultrasound to see how everything was looking to confirm if I could move forward with the partial balloon radiation.  The location of Fred was very close to the skin and there is now only a 4 mm margin of space between the cavern where Fred previously resided and the skin.  This is the minimum margin allowed for the procedure.  They like to see a little more clearance and before confirming I could move forward she had to get in touch with Dr. H, the radiation oncologist.  The doctors conferred later Wednesday afternoon and I received word that I have the thumbs up to move forward. 

So....between now and Monday morning I am doing my best potato impression.   Being a potato isn't as easy as you would think.  Do you know how much TV I've watched? 

Monday morning at 8:30 am I go back to Dr. K's office and she will insert the balloon catheter in her office (if you're interested in more details or want to see what one looks like click here).  Waiting until Monday gives a better chance of a little more clearance between the skin and the cavern.  As the skin heals it thickens.  Apparently there can be some minor pain involved so I have been instructed to drug up the morning of the procedure with a vicoden and a valium.  Yeesh!  The procedures takes about a half an hour from start to finish.  Once done I will walk over to Dr. H's office (just across the way) and they will do the "planning" for the radiation treatment.  Apparently they take several scans and do calculations based on my specific measurements to determine the exact right amount of radiation treatment.  I will get my first treatment sometime Monday morning and then 4-6 hours later I will return for the second treatment.  I will repeat with 2 treatments daily through the end of the week.  I'm not sure when the balloon device comes out....I'll put that on my list of questions for the doctor. 

Everything is moving forward as expected.  I am waiting for one more test result called an oncotype dx score. This score tells Dr. R, my medical oncologist, the likelihood of cancer to return and will help answer the question of chemo vs no chemo.  This test is in the process of being run and the results should be back sometime late next week.    I have an appointment with Dr. R on 10/25 to discuss the long term treatment plan to prevent recurrence of cancer and if chemo is needed.

I'm going to sign out and resume my spud like activities.  Don't be surprised if my next couple of blog posts detail the boredom of being couch bound.

Daytime TV here I come!   


  1. "So....between now and Monday morning I am doing my best potato impression."

    This line made me laugh out loud at work! I love you and I miss you and I hope everything is still going great! Good luck on the potato thing!

  2. Adios Fred! And Congrats, cancer-free Gloria!