Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Third "Boob"

After my son's birthday party, I grimaced or something and Eddie asked me what was wrong. So I told him that I had a lot of pain under my armpit, then I let him feel it. His response, "That feels like a boob." which I found kinda amusing because I had been thinking to myself that I could start calling it my third boob.

You see, ya gotta keep a sense of humor when it comes to cancer!

Anyway, I had a visit with my oncologist, Dr. K., today. I told him about the increased pain and doubling my pain pills as well as how my trip to Alaska went in terms of balancing the nausea against the pain. I also called the nurse with the UW clinical trial about what they might suggest. The nurse talked to one of their doctors and the answer was to do a biopsy. The UW nurse was concerned about the purple coloring that covers almost half of swollen area.

My acupuncturist says that Chinese medicine would say the purple is stagnant blood. This supports my theory that my increased pain, which started up a few days after my last Herceptin treatment, might be due to Herceptin getting stuck in my armpit.

Dr. K. said that the purple might be caused by the creation of new blood vessels, so the cancer is creating it's own blood supply.

Either way, this is not an optimal situation.

In the end, Dr. K. Decided to do a skin punch biopsy, so he did the procedure in the exam room. I let one of his newer nurses observe the procedure. When you get to this point, you lose any modesty in medical settings. I figure people need to learn the ropes, too.

Anyway, Dr. K. also brought in Dr. McG., my radiation oncologist, to look over the site. The bottom line is that Dr. K. thinks that the cancer is in my skin there. That kinda accounts for the red streaks that are moving up toward my collar bone. Hence, the biopsy. And the reason to bring in the radiation oncologist. I may be in for radiation again.

But I may have to wait until November, after I end my participation in the clinical trial. I will know more after we get the biopsy results. And Dr. K. will confer with the UW docs.

So, hopefully, sometime in the next few months, I will no longer have a third boob!


Joanna said...

Hi Dee,

I am sorry to hear your update. I had IBC so I have experienced the purple skin that you have. Is it possible to circumvent the research study that you are in? I don't think it is feasible to wait for November to treat skin mets, if this is what it is. It seems like it would be unethical to make you wait if the cancer is progressing...

Joanna Moore

Dee said...

Hi Joanna, yes I think that UW would allow treatment if the cancer was progressing. I actually didn't know that IBC could present as purple skin. That makes more sense, now, that Dr. K brought in the radiation oncologist to figure out how to treat it. So, we wait until we get the biopsy results to figure out the next step . . .