Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oncologist Follow-Up

Today, I had my follow-up with Dr. Heyer so he could examine the tumor progress.

This past week our entire household fell victim to the flu bug. While Camilla and Christian experienced 24-48 hours of symptons, I was lucky enough to have at least one sympton for 6 straight days. Needless to say, the past week totally sucked; However, I was finally 100% today which was a GLORIOUS feeling.

I told the nurse about the flu as I wanted to have my bloodwork done. Although, it turns out I don't think it would have affected my bloodwork, anyhow. Needless to say, she obliged to just make me happy - I guess (and make another "cuckoo" notation on my file). As he suspected, bloodwork great :)

The Appointment -

Dr Heyer entered the room smiling and asked how I was since he heard I had the flu. I think he was primarily concerned this was in fact the flu and not the chemo. Once he heard everyone in the house experienced it he then breathed a sigh of relief and said "Thank goodness, I didn't cause any of that". I assured him he didn't, but if I suspected chemo was the culprit then we would need to have a heart-to-heart.

He was excited to tell me that he took the liberty to go ahead and talk to my breast surgeon, Dr. Chiantella. Due to the response in only 2 treatments of chemotherapy (At this point, he has yet to examine me), they both agreed a PET scan should be ordered prior to Chemo #5. I got a little giddy with him and then he was like..."Well....I want to check you first to see if there is progress". It depends..." He kept flip-flopping. So, I told him that I think there has been progress and he needs to just check me because if I press very hard from the front and smush it in a hard manner then I still can barely feel anything, but I don't know what I am feeling at this point (You can only imagine the look I received from him, but rest assured it is completely safe to man handle myself like this - he said it was ok, MOM and KWIATEK. I am not hurting anything).

Dr. Heyer felt my lymph nodes in my neck first (which I still don't understand this, but am sure there is a reason) and then asked me to lay down. Thinking back, I think I actually throw my gown open and let the girls show in all their glory. I don't think this is proper dr/patient protocol, but I don't care (I actually am chuckling to myself wondering what goes through this guys head when I do something probably considered extremely inappropriate in many people's minds). Needless to say, I am not there to waste anymore time than need be. I want his opinion - STAT :O

He examined both breasts this time then up and around the armpit area (I had no enlarged lymph nodes or tumor in that area), then up the breast where the tumor could be felt, and close to my sternum. He also took out his stethescope and listened to something (What - I have no idea what he could hear by listening to "the girls", but again I know there is a reason). He then smiled and said "I need to be honest here. If I had no idea what this felt like before then whatever I feel right now..I would say it's a cyst" and he shakes his head. I ask him "Is it the tumor you feel or a cyst?". He replies "I could never answer that. This is why we need a PET scan to tell me if there are any active cancer cells left".

He proceeds to tell me he is certainly ordering a PET scan for April 30th. The Monday prior to my next chemo, May 2nd. He should have the results by then and I need to call Dr. Chiantella to schedule an appointment with her soon. The purpose of the PET scan is to re-evaluate everything. There is a drastic difference and it appears Dr. Chaintella needs a new scan at this point to review lymph nodes and chest wall involvement. They both want to be sure if any active cancer exists at this point then for surgery purposes, she can be sure to target those specific areas. I suppose that after 2 more rounds of chemo the odds may be slimmer any active cancer cells exist and she wouldn't have a more focused plan of attack for surgery purposes.  Also, she may order a MRI for more details on the lymph nodes and depth perception (I guess the tumor and chest wall area). He concluded " I will not be the least bit surprised this PET scan comes back and reflects zero negative. Wouldn't that be great news?" I smiled and told him that would be the greatest news ever.

I have to share another awesome quote from today. I called my Grandmother to share the news. For those of you who have the pleasure of knowing her - she is quite an unforgettable woman who certainly has no problem sharing her opinions or outlooks on life. Simply she can be quite a tough lil' lady on all levels. Grandma's quote of the day "Jennifer, you and I aren't normal. You understand me? We just aren't. So, this really doesn't surprise me one bit".


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