I received several calls yesterday from both the plastic surgeon's and the regular surgeon's office. The surgery date is November 16. I guess I go in at 6:30am, they inject the radioactive stuff in my breast around 8 or 8:30am, surgery is at 10:30am. I think Dr. Faddis (the regular surgeon) estimated surgery to be about 4 hours. They say I'll be in the hospital two nights, which means I go home on November 18. I have my pre-op appointment with Dr. Faddis on the 12th, where he'll go over the whole process with me. Last time, I didn't ask for this pre-op appointment with Dr. Hudson and when I went into the hospital, I was not only anxious because of the impending surgery, but also because I didn't know what to expect or the sequence of events.
The radioactive stuff is to try to map my lymphatic system so that Dr. Faddis can try to get a new sentinel lymph node, if there is one. This will help determine whether or not I go on Herceptin. It's interesting - I've talked to a couple of colleagues here and they say that they've known folks who went out of the state of Alaska for breast cancer treatment - one woman went to Maine (or was it Massachusetts) where her family was and another woman went to St. Louis. They were a bit surprised when I said I could have surgery in my home town, which then brings up the questions about whether or not the surgeons I'm working with are "good enough". I feel pretty comfortable with the two surgeons (Dr. Faddis the surgeon and Dr. Havard the plastic surgeon) and one of my friends, who is a surgical nurse, said that both are good. I'm fortunate, in other words, that I can stay home to have surgery, and not have to go elsewhere. On the other hand, if there is a breast surgeon specialist in town, that means that there must be a demand for it, which might mean that there's something going on in town or the Willamette Valley that causes breast cancer. My colleague Sunil Khanna says that there is a higher incidence of breast cancer in the Willamette Valley than elsewhere in the state and that they are looking into possible reasons why.
Well, we head home today from Fairbanks. It was a good trip, overall. I spent most of yesterday afternoon catching up with folks I know at the Carlson Center (where AFN is held) and then met with colleagues and was fortunate to spend time with my cousins. My cousin Cindy's son, Ethan, watched Eddie for awhile so I could meet with Tom Thornton and Rosita Worl and company. It was fun and apparently Eddie had fun with Ethan. Anyway, I better go . . . we're meeting Teddy and Larry and Matt for breakfast.
Thursday, October 25, 2007