Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Chronicles of Breast Cancer--Part 3--If I Get a Balloon, Does It Mean There's a Party?

I had my lumpectomy on Tuesday and my lymph glands came back clear. That means no chemo (yay!), so I have just one more thing to get through: radiation therapy.

As I mentioned in my last post on this topic, there are three types of radiation therapies, lasting 5 days, 21 days and 5-8 weeks, respectively.

How to choose among them?

When I was 5 or 6, I got caught playing down at the neighbor's house without notifying my parents I was leaving the yard. They had an appointment to close on a house (my dad sold real estate) and they searched high and low for me, making themselves late for the closing in the process. My dad was pretty mad, and promised me a spanking when he got home.

I spent that entire day sick with worry about that upcoming beating. But when they got home, my dad, who was nothing if not mercurial, was in such a good mood from the nice, fat check he'd just received that he forgot all about the planned punishment.

A common-sense takeaway from that event would have been: don't worry about bad stuff because it may not even happen. My takewaway was, "Go ahead and take your beating. Once it's over, you don't have to worry about it anymore."

In keeping with that life lesson, I decided to go with the 5-day radiation treatment.

Tomorrow, my doctor will insert a device that looks like this into the cavity where my lump was.

Then, twice a day, six hours apart, they will load radioactive material into those lumens sticking out at the end. The lumens will ferry isotopes into my breast, where they'll destroy the ability of any remaining cancer cells to reproduce. They will do the same thing to any nearby healthy cells, too.

Here's the tricky part:If you picture my breast as a clock, my tumor was at 1 o'clock. This gadget, as I understand it, will be inserted from the 7 o'clock position.

Which kind of means they're going to have to shove it all the way through my breast to get it into place.

I'm pretty sure there's a bunch of meat in the way. (Okay, "a bunch" may be overstating the case, but there's definitely tissue blocking the path between 7 and 1.)

So that's gonna smart. And I understand that yanking it out kind of smarts, too, but I'm sure they'll numb the area. For afterwards, they gave me good drugs and I'm not afraid to use them. (Okay, a little afraid. Hydrocodone is pretty addictive.)

The good news is, a week from tomorrow, this beating will be over.


  1. You can do this and we should definitely have a party when you are done!!! ❤

  2. You and Bill and Anne and everyone else are in my prayers. I know it will be hardest for you but it will be hard for all your family and friends, too.

  3. Ouch!

    Hopefully the pain won't last too long.

  4. Eat prunes, and drink water cause those pain meds will stop all pooping but hey then you will be focused on that instead of a balloon in your boob. I hope the insertion went well, I suppose you are miserable, I am sending good vibes your way.
    they load them twice a day...I suppose you have to go into the clinic for that or are you in the hospital being waited on hand and foot?
    Take good care of you! You can do this...I am so glad no chemo is on your horizon :)


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