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Thursday, May 5, 2016

A byway on the detour...

One appointment with the surgeon - two big pieces of info to absorb.

Her first words to us were, "Well, you split the tumor board." When you're looking for clarity, that's pretty much the opposite of what you want to hear. I was (naively!) hoping that all the tumor board members would be in agreement. But on the other hand, it does affirm that it was a good move for her to take my case to that smart group of cancer professionals.

Basically, it's impossible to say for sure, based on the imaging (mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs) that there is anything cancerous that can be surgically removed. So essentially one half of the group said, "Radiation is our tool to get rid of what we can't see, there are excellent success rates from that, so that's the course of action we recommend." The other half said, "You could go back in for diagnostic surgery to be sure." 

As I told the surgeon, my philosophy about is, "less is more." She agreed that there is such a thing as too much surgery. She also said it's good to think about for awhile - would I regret not doing the diagnostic surgery if cancer did recur? And she encouraged me to get a second opinion if I wanted. Jon and I are thinking it would be good to talk with our medical oncologist about it - see what his take is on it.

So that's one thing. The other is a hematoma, which is basically a collection of blood cells at the surgical site. It had seemed weird to me that the bruising and swelling hadn't changed for so long, and we had an appointment with her last week to see what was going on. She looked at it, said it was a hematoma, hopefully it would go down on its own and we'd look at it again in about a week (today). But after hearing about the dramatic "bloodletting" on Tuesday, and after checking it today, she scheduled me to come in early on Monday morning (moving all her other surgeries a half hour later) to just clean all that out and stitch me up again. It would eventually dissipate on its own, but would take a long time, and we need to get radiation treatments started. Also, she can't just aspirate it because though there are some "liquid" cells, there's some that are sort of jellied - blech!

So this isn't wildly scary - just not the norm (I'm special!) Dr. D explained how she always makes sure the site is "dry" before she starts stitching, by cauterizing all the incoming vessels, so it's hard to say why I have these blood cells that don't want to move along.

Whew! I'm sorta down about all this but I feel perfectly healthy in all other respects. You know what to do, prayer warriors! Thanks, thanks and ever thanks!

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