28
Oct
07

October 28, 2007

Well, Halloween is coming up, and today I’m feeling like I am already wearing a horrifying costume. I’m tired, I’m in pain, and I just want this to be over.

Saw the surgeon on Thursday, and now the word he used for the ongoing edema around the incisions is “unusual”. Also, the skin around the incisions is a little bit red – he said he wasn’t concerned yet, but that he wouldn’t want them to get any more red. I’ve developed a patch of skin under the left breast that is red and bumpy, which could be a patch of yeast or perhaps some kind of fungus – we’re treating it as yeast, and it seems to be responding.

Also, I’ve scheduled a second-opinion appointment with a new oncologist. I’m not unhappy with the doctor I’ve seen, however, I’m extremely displeased with her staff. I’ve left several messages that haven’t been returned, and I am not able to get to either the doctor or nurse practitioner directly, or their voicemails, even. I’m trying to find out about the test to determine my future treatment, which the insurance company won’t commit to paying for without a pre-determination, and just getting no response from the doctor’s office. When I called to make the appointment with the new doctor, I explained that it was a second-opinion appointment, with an extremely high likelihood that I would be changing doctors, and I also told them that it was because of my frustrations with the first doctor’s staff. When I explained about the predetermination issue, the woman I was speaking to told me that the company who does the test is the one who needs to submit the paperwork, but they need a letter of necessity from the oncologist. That was more information in one phone call than I’d gotten from two conversations with the original doctor’s assistants, and a week of unanswered messages left on their voicemail.

I am slowly regaining some of my ability to focus, so I’ve been able to read more, which is wonderful! I have read “A Murder in Belmont”, by Sebastian Junger (author of “The Perfect Storm:), which is about a murder that he believes might have been committed by the Boston Strangler, not the man that was tried and convicted for it. Also, I read “In the Heart of the Sea”, which is the story of the whaling ship Essex, rammed by a whale, and the attempt of her crew to get back to land in lifeboats from the middle of the Pacific Ocean (some made it; and yes, this sounds like “Moby Dick” – in fact, it is in part the story that Moby Dick was based on). And I just finished “Into the Wild”, the book on which the movie is based. I’m trying to decide next if I want to read a book about the pirates Jean and Pierre Laffite, or re-read the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Phillip Pullman (the movie of the first book, “The Golden Compass” is due out this fall).

Thursday I also had my ‘flu shot, and it hit me hard – I was totally wiped out for at least 24 hours. That made it really hit home about how hard this surgery has been on my body – I’ve been annoyed at how long I am taking to recover, but I see women in my support group who had surgery two weeks before I did, and they’re only a little farther along than I am. The doctor keeps reminding me I have to take things very easy, and not push my body too hard – that’s hard advice to take. I guess I’m not a very good patient (or at least not a patient patient!). Being able to read more is helping, though.

I’ve been able to knit a little longer at a time before I get too sore; and typing is getting a little easier, too. Sometimes just walking up the stairs is enough to exhaust me, but I’m able to move my arms higher than before, so I am definitely making progress.

I still haven’t done any driving yet – since I am having more pain with my left arm movements, driving a manual transmission will just exacerbate the pain. Unfortunately, both our cars are manuals. I’m planning on trying a quick trip to the store with Brian sometime in the next few days to pick up a couple things (I started grocery shopping online at New Seasons Market for the duration, but only for big deliveries – a quart of half and half isn’t worth the delivery charge . . .). That way, if it doesn’t work out, I’m not stuck at the store and Brian can drive home.

What I really miss is getting (and giving!) hugs.

Julie

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