My Friend Found a Lump – Again!

April 3, 2010

My friend Elise, who had breast cancer more than 30 years ago, sends me an email. Back when she had her first breast cancer bout, she was a law student with two young children. She had a mastectomy. No implants. No chemo therapy. No radiation. Now she has discovered something in the breast she has […]

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A Red, Hot Breast: Radiation Damage Already?

March 21, 2010

Every day now the same routine: leave work for the hospital. Park curbside by the entrance and walk through the sliding glass doors into the main lobby. Take the elevator one floor down into the basement, turn a corner and – voila – radiation oncology. Change into the insane asylum robe, wait a few minutes […]

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Preparation for Radiation: Foam Bag and CAT Scan.

March 6, 2010

Finally, I am scheduled for radiation therapy or rather: Preparation for radiation. I meet with a technician to get my measurements set in a foam contour.  Actually, it turns out to be  nothing fancier than a plastic bag that she fills with warm liquid. I  then lie  down and my contours are set as the […]

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Truth Between Dr. Guru And Me.

February 18, 2010

Dr. Guru calls me at work with the pathology report.  “I just got it,” he stresses. (So he did read my  blistering email after my first surgery. Then I complained about him not sharing the pathology results until two weeks after he himself received them.) “Everything completely clear, just as we knew it would be. […]

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Re-Excision Day

February 6, 2010

Second time in OR, I feel like a pro, familiar with the routines of the ambulatory surgery unit.  The prep-nurse and I exchange recipes and talk adult children. While we chat,  Dr. Guru flies by the open drapery, grins,  and gives me a half baked wave. He looks a bit like the cat who ate […]

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Another Duel With My Surgeon Oncologist

January 28, 2010

This is the week Dr. Guru promised to do my re-excision.  But not a word from his office or from his assistant, Joy,  who  supposedly is “arranging the details.” No explanation. No apology. No  follow up. Meanwhile I am obsessed with my research, trying to figure out the dangers of putting off radiation. Everything I […]

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Dr. Guru Agrees to Re-Excision

January 22, 2010

Twenty minutes after Professor Oncology nixes chemo therapy, five minutes after Dr. Alpha, the radiation oncologist, calls to tell me that I need a re-excision to get clear margins (you are supposed to have 2 mm) I am sitting in my friend’s garden sipping tea from her bone china cup. I am “in the moment” […]

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Re-Excision After All

January 17, 2010

Three distinguished physicians, all cancer specialists,  seem lukewarm – or indifferent – to the merits of chemo therapy, in my case. I feel as light as a swallow, and just as fast, as I leave the Magnolia Cancer Center. I tip the valet $10, but before I can drive away, my cell phone buzzes. “Charlie […]

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Oncology: A Second Opinion.

January 10, 2010

The sign “Magnolia Cancer Center” does not look as surreal as it has during my previous visits. After all, I do have breast cancer and this center is for me. Although I do not yet have the hollow eyes, the waxy complexion, the bloated body, or the shuffling gate of so many of the other […]

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Dr. Alpha Can’t Radiate Me – Yet!

January 6, 2010

Dr. Alpha, my new radiation oncologist, flips back and forth  in my pathology report. He seems annoyed. Not with me, but with the report. He pushes the reading glasses back on top of his head. “I don’t understand this,” he says. His tone bristles, but he looks kindly at me as he stabs his finger […]

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