All posts tagged: postaday

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 …

Radiation of the breast can cause the tissue to become necrotic.

Radiation of the breast can cause the tissue to become necrotic. I learned this a couple of weeks ago when I developed a foul smelling lesion on my right breast six years after radiation for breast cancer. The breast cancer surgeon knew instantly what it was. I had dead, rotting tissue in my right breast. The formation of necrotic tissue following radiation is a common occurrence. I was sent to a wound clinic. A wound clinic manages wounds that are hard to heal. These nurses are the experts. They know everything there is to know about the care and healing of difficult wounds. My wound is about an inch in diameter and it is quite deep. Initially, it was foul smelling. It still is but not as bad. I was given the equipment to treat my own wound.  I irrigate the cavity with a blunt needled syringe loaded with  Dakin’s solution, an antiseptic liquid. Then I insert gauze dampened with the solution and laced with Santyl and cover the wound with a dressing. The Santyl …

Stage three thyroid cancer

My thyroid cancer was found quite by accident. I was having lung symptoms so my rheumatologist thought that I might be having problems with the methotrexate. She ordered a chest CT scan. It turned out that I wasn’t having lung problems I was having a different problem.  I had a mass growing on my thyroid. This was my first cancer and I was in total denial that I might possibly have cancer. My patient doctor explained that the next step was a biopsy. I put the procedure off as long as I could. I was a working woman and I needed to work. Finally, the day arrived. In the x-ray department I was given a local anesthetic. Guided by ultrasound and a long needle, my doctor captured a number of samples from my thyroid. When the results came back, it was definitely cancer. It turned out to be stage three papillary carcinoma. It is not an overly aggressive cancer and it  is slow growing. Lucky me. My thyroid labs had always been normal. There was …

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 …