All posts tagged: cancer stories

When you have had enough treatment

I have had three entirely different cancers and three different  radiation treatments all within four and a half years. I had to count that twice on my fingers to actually believe it. My first set of radiation treatments was for breast cancer. It was this set of treatments that came back to haunt me this winter. But that is not my focus now. My treatments were at Kaseman’s MD Anderson. I went every day for three weeks at double dose instead of the usual six weeks. I had been  reassured that the results were the same. I had to drive across town. It was like a field trip. I knew that once I got there, I could have a good cup of coffee. They had a Keurig coffee machine. It was a carrot for me, and it worked. I would sign in. Change into a gown. Lock up my wallet. Then I would sit with other patients to wait my turn. This is the part that sticks with me. It was in this room that …

Complications from Breast cancer treatment continues

I am recovering. Surgery was done  on 13 December. It was a surgery to debride an abscess caused by necrotic breast tissue due to radiation. As I said before, it was day surgery at Presbyterian Rust Hospital in Rio Rancho. I have had several surgeries there and always feel safe and well cared for. There was not much in the way of post op pain, so the start of my recovery was good. The scary part, especially with breast surgery, is when you take off the bandage for the first time to see what you have left. It is not like it is  in the movies where you are seen lying in your hospital bed and the doctor gently removes your bandages. He looks at your wound in a reassuring manner and you feel that you will be okay. You are home. Alone. In your bathroom. You have a blue binder holding you in. You also have the addition of a drain that must be managed. The drain is called a Jackson Pratt. It is …

Cancer and more surgery

My surgery will be coming up soon. When I learned I would need it, I felt depressed. I had been going to the wound clinic once a week and I was irrigating and packing the wound twice a day for several weeks now. I thought these measures were working. They weren’t. I remember the doctor saying if I needed surgery that there would be little left. Another dip into depression. So, I continue the care and await the upcoming surgery. I had breast cancer in October 2013. I had surgery and then a series of radiation treatments in 2014. The radiated tissue has become necrotic. A common occurrence that I didn’t know about. The dead tissue needs to be removed. This surgery is considered a ‘day surgery’. I will go home the same day of the surgery. My son becomes the nurse. The cost of a nurse or nurses is eliminated when patients are sent home the same day of surgery. It is a big improvement on their profit. I am fine. My body is …

Breast cancer complications

I have survived three cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and a hip replacement.  I expected that I would eventually have another cancer. The disease seemed to be written in my stars. However, I wasn’t expecting another complication from my breast cancer treatment. My first complication was a rare uterine cancer called uterine papillary serous cancer. It is a side effect of being on tamoxifen.  This cancer is aggressive and behaves similarly to ovarian cancer in that it is aggressive and can be deadly. It is never caught early. I was fortunate because it was picked up by my rheumatologist on a lower back MRI. So, I spent the entire 2018 with a biopsy, then major robotic surgery, followed by a summer of chemo, finished off with vaginal radiation for the holidays. My complication was a breast abscess formed in necrotic fat tissue as a result of radiation for breast cancer. Any surgery or radiation will cause scarring in the healthy tissue. I had a hard lump in my breast after surgery and radiation. I understood it to …

Mary Mann Cancer Journal

Fireplace, quail block and cancer

November 8, 2019 Cancer Journal A grey fog has settled over the city. I can’t see the mountains. I can only see the neighborhood. The temperature is supposed to hit the sixties here in Albuquerque, but I doubt it. We need the sun to warm us up. Winter seems to have hit us suddenly. We turned from green to dull winter brown almost overnight. The quail block outside my bedroom window has been very busy. Lots of birds. Fat quail families making their regular visits. The squirrels have left the old tomato plant and are happily munching the quail block with the birds. I haven’t seen the chipmunks lately. Life in the backyard. I enjoy winter here in Albuquerque. I enjoy my fireplace. Yesterday I had my afternoon coffee in a comfortable chair by the fire. I read another chapter or two from my current library book on my kindle. I am reading Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth. It is a seven hundred page book. The story draws you in and you feel the …

Uterine papillary serous cancer 2018

I became suspicious that there was more to my D&C and biopsy than I was expecting. My GYN Doc called me in to her office a week early to discuss my biopsy results. It was also her day for surgery.  She came up from the OR suite just to talk to me. Bad signs. I like her. She is a petite woman of Asian heritage. Friendly. Personable. Professional. She quickly arrived carrying pictures she had taken during the D&C and a copy of the pathology report. She handed it to me. I read serous cancer. Reconfirmed. No doubt about it. She said she wasn’t familiar with this type of cancer, but I suspect she was playing the discussion forward to the next doctor. I have an appointment with an experienced GYN oncology surgeon on Monday. Uterine papillary serous cancer, UPSC for short, is also called uterine serous cancer and uterine serous adenocarcinoma. Docs and Google will understand if you just say serous cancer. It is a rare subset of endometrial cancer. It is relentlessly aggressive …

I am officially Cancer Girl New Mexico

As I was recovering from my hip replacement, my RA doc thought it might be time to try the biologic Actemra. It worked for me before hip issue. It was time to do it again. But, she said, first we needed to check out the change in my uterus that was noted on my hip MRI. She ordered an ultrasound of my uterus that included a vaginal probe (didn’t know they could do it.) Actually, she handed me the probe and told me to put it in. I did it. Results showed a thickened uterus consistent with tamoxifen use. It also showed a mass. Next stop was the GYN doc who thought it was a polyp not cancer since there was no bleeding. Next stop was outpatient surgery of a D&C and biopsy. She was optimistic. The results weren’t good. It is sometimes called Uterine Serous carcinoma, or uterine papillary serous carcinoma (UPSC), or serous adenocarcinoma. It is easily googled just writing serous cancer.My doc said she didn’t know much about this cancer. She referred …