I was so grateful that I slept well last night. I didn't stay up all night worrying, that was a blessing in and of it's self. But when the alarm went off, I felt my heart racing and the realization of my appointment was already having an effect on me. I tried to go to my HAPPY PLACE, but I am sorry to report that I didn't actually arrive there. I was going to go by myself but when Jeff said he could meet me there, I just had to take him up on his offer. I remember an earlier post that I wrote about how to prepare yourself as a cancer survivor for these type of return appointments. One of the things that was written in the article that I read was... to make sure to bring someone with you for MORAL SUPPORT, it is more important than you might think. So I was grateful when Jeff came through that door this morning.
My surgeon was very nice and as always seemed to be willing to take whatever time that was needed to answer our questions and explain things. Basically as she looked at my chest wall and the area under my arm, she said that the edema is probably from radiation effects and should go down. She also mentioned that many times after surgery things might not ever quite look the same again. Especially because of how your body handles the treatments and surgery, plus just our different body types. Some of us are much leaner than others. She suggested that I keep my weight stable and exercise each day and then hopefully we will see this go down over time.
I did however ask her about the way I should check for a reoccurrence and explained that it is hard to know what to look and feel for, when you have always had a breast on there before. Her explanation was just to look for anything out of the normal from now on. That I should get to know what normal ( normal for now) looks and feels like and if I had a lump of anything hard like that under my skin to have it checked out. She also mentioned that if cancer returned in your skin that it would look more red and inflamed (that is what my oncologist was talking about).
She checked my nodes and said that everything felt fine. She then said that she didn't think that I needed to have a mammogram until my year mark (which is November). But that I also would or should have MRI's every year, so that they can check that chest was area out and all the nodes too. I didn't know that, no one mentioned an MRI at all.
Some times what is confusing to me as a survivor is... that each DR will tell you a different thing. She mentioned that edema is sore and painful because of the swelling. She also mentioned that there isn't any information that she knows that is written about edema in the chest wall and arm pit, even though she has seen it before.
Yes knowledge is power, but the hard part is to figure out which knowledge to trust and follow. That is hard for me to have such conflicting explanations, but I did feel that what she said made sense and that I didn't have to worry as much.
So tonight I will leave you with a few quotes that I related to today. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, no matter what anyone says... remember that they are very needed and powerful.
I am grateful that I didn't have to stop life and once again fight cancer, I just learned some more guidelines to help me be healthier. GUIDELINES..."Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines." ~ Robert Schuller
Sometimes I wonder how many more storms I can handle in my life, but then I have to remember the strength that I have received during them. STORMS..."The greater the difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests." ~ Epictetus
I need to remember that sometimes the polishing is what hurts the most. GEMS..."The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." ~Chinese Proverb
I hope that each time it will get a bit easier, I am actually trying to live each day to the fullest, and I am planning and looking forward to the future. I was a bit disappointed in my self today, that I couldn't get my head around going in and checking this out. I wish I hadn't got so upset and nervous. But I have to remember that, I am doing things today that 5-6 months ago I couldn't even comprehend that I would ever be able to do again. So I will try to be more patient with myself and remember this is just part of the journey with cancer. PATIENCE..."Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them -- every day begin the task anew." ~Saint Francis de Sales