Friday, October 15, 2010

Plastic Surgery Is in My Future

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I thought the plan with the wound in my armpit was to allow the chemo to kill the cancer, so then the good healthy tissue could start rebuilding new tissue in my armpit. And, when chemo kills more of the cancer, the surgeon would debride the dead tissue away, making it a better environment for new tissue growth.

Well, I guess that's not the case. The surgeon, Dr. F, didn't want to resect (remove) the dead tissue surgically because it was attached to too many other structures (muscles, etc.). But today, after he took a look at the wound, there was a lot more dead tissue. He feels that I'm responding to the chemotherapy treatment rather well. He removed a lot more dead tissue. And, now the whole area in the armpit is "loose", meaning that it's not attached to the structures underneath. This means it will be easier to resect. The whole area is about 6" x 8" big.

Dr. F asked how long my course of chemo would be. Dr. K planned for me to have two months worth (3 weeks on, one week off). Dr. F felt that at that point, there would be enough cancer/tissue death for surgery to remove all the dead tissue. But since the area is so large, we would need to use a "lat flap" (tissue from my shoulder blade area) to replace the tissue in my armpit. That tissue will probably never come back on its own. That was something I guess I didn't understand before.

(My red blood cell counts were rather low and they were talking about doing a blood transfusion, but I guess it isn't low enough, so no transfusion. I also haven't had many side effects yet from Abraxane - just fatigue. My stomach gurgled a bit last night. Some constipation from the anti-nausea meds. But it's doable. We'll see next week what happens with my hair.)

So, sometime before Christmas, after two rounds of Abraxane and a couple of weeks to get my blood counts up, I will probably have tumor resection in my armpit, followed by plastic surgery to replace that tissue. I hope at the same time that Dr. H (the plastic surgeon) will be able to make my boobs level again (i.e., probably lower the left implant a bit) and take the corner off the scar at my belt line.

I am getting used to the idea of this surgery - Dr. F mentioned it last week, but at that point, it was hypothetical. But now it looks like it's reality.

I kinda wondered in the back of my mind about the amount of tissue death and if my body would be able to repair such a huge hole. So, I guess I know now.

I'm kinda relieved, to tell you the truth. I'm supposed to go to a workshop in Hawaii in February. This means that I will be able to go into the ocean! Because I won't have an open wound!!! This means I may only have an open wound for two more months!!! Even better!!!!


Joanna said...

This sounds like it will close the chapter on Exudate. Congratulations on plans that will kick him to the curb.


Dee said...

Exactly, Joanna! Kick that damn deadbeat to the curb! Ha ha ha! That was a great chuckle! : )