By Patty Wilber
We have had a wet winter with above average snow fall, and now Spring is leaking in, wetly as well.
We came home from Arizona last Saturday to the remains of rain followed by nearly a foot of snow. The snow melted pretty fast and even started dry up, so I got to ride on Sunday on the dirt roads and in my squishy but not slippery sand and crusher fines arena.
Then it snowed a few more inches Sunday night.
It snowed Monday morning then rained all Monday afternoon. Ugh the mud.
The sun peeked out Tuesday afternoon and I got to ride three horses! (In my muck boots, since just getting to the barn was a water crossing event.)
The horses I did not ride were (still are) muddy, especially the old man (26!) Cometa, so I used the metal curry to scrape off the crust. He is shedding enough to fill in some of the puddles! At least he does not have Cushings, a metabolic disorder of the pitutary gland that is common in older horses and whose symptoms include lack of shedding.
One good thing is that all this moisture should ensure that we have spring grass. We will also have mustard weed early and Kochia going crazy soon after, if the moisture keeps up.
It snowed and rained another quarter inch on Thursday!
Now, a little cold front is pushing in and the next week looks drier, but they keep saying that, and it keeps precipitating. Regardless, I will be popping pain pills and recovering from surgery. I am already mad that I am not on a horse!
Breast Cancer Update.
Monday: Blood drawn to make sure I don’t have any bleeding issues. Then I got a massage.
Tuesday: Acupuncture. No idea if it is really helping but it is weirdly super relaxing to be stuck full of needles and sleep for an a hour on my back without moving!
Wednesday: Lymphoscintigraphy. I became radioactive. I had four injections of a radioactive isotope under the nipple. The needle stick was not too bad. The radioactive stuff burned with a weird buzzing feeling, and I am glad it was just four injections. I felt like crying, but more from overall stress, I guess, than too much pain.
This isotope will be removed from the breast via the lymph system and will allow the surgeon to identify the lymph nodes that drain the breast. These are called the sentinel nodes. She will excise them and they will be analyzed by a pathologist to make sure the cancer has not spread to the lymph system. I tried to talk them out of this procedure since the MRIs have never shown cancer beyond the two original spots in the breast and the last MRI showed no cancer at all, but, noooo.
Thursday: I went in first for a “needle localization”. This occurs with the help of an ultrasound or a mammogram. Lucky winner here (not). I got the mammogram. This was because there is no more tumor (yay!!) so they needed the increased precision of the mammogram to correctly place the wire. I got to sit in a chair while they squished my boob at least! I got a lidocaine injection, then they took a picture with the mammography machine and mapped coordinates. I already had a marker in there, called a clip, from when I had the biopsy. It is shaped like the pink breast cancer ribbon symbol–bet we know where the symbol came from! After the lidocaine, a needle with a thin wire was inserted just under the clip, You can see the clip and the wire below.
The needle was removed, leaving the wire and they took another picture to verify the placement and then adjusted the wire. The wire is there to guide the surgeon to make sure she removes all the formerly cancerous tissue during the lumpectomy. The excised tissue will be sent to a pathologist for analysis.
When they were done I had a long wire sticking out of me, so now I had a radioactive boob with an antenna! In case I got lost between the office and hospital, I could be tracked. Haha. Obviously, not really. They taped me up and Jim drove me to the hospital where the surgery was to occur.
I had to keep my arm still so as not disturb the wire, but it was painless. The surgeon, Dr. Nicole Hill, was ahead of schedule so I got in and got going as soon as I arrived. She is a horse person so we bored Jim by chatting about horses for a bit! The anesthesiologist is also a horse person, so more horse talk!
The surgery took about one and a half hours and two lymph nodes were removed as well as the tumor scar bed. The removal of the previously affected tissue is because if cancer returns it is very often from that area. The lymph nodes were examined in real time and showed NO CANCER. That was expected, but is still exciting verification!
I got some extra pain meds IV, right after surgery, and came home, bound up with an ace bandage. The bandage will keep pressure on the surgery site to prevent swelling and will remain in place for 48 hours. I will also be icing for the next two days, After that, I can shower and start wearing a compressive bra 24/7 for weeks. I have two or three that should work so I can wash them!
I took one oxycodone as directed to stay ahead of future pain and fell asleep. I woke up feeling like the room might start spinning at any moment. Fortunately, it did not, but that is the end of oxycodone for me! On to Tylenol. I consulted with the on call doc and with some of my major surgery survivor friends. Only one had good experiences with oxycodone. (The doc was one that did not enjoy oxycodone.) The anti-oxycodone crowd switched to Tylenol, and so am I!
I assume I may feel the pain more intensely on days two and three, but then I should start feeling better and can start my arm therapy to prevent the muscles under my arm pit, where the lymph nodes were removed, from freezing up. I can probably ride after a week, BUT I can’t lift anything over 10 pounds for THREE weeks. Hmph. My saddles weigh a bit more than 10 pounds, just saying. Also, not sure if I can ride with any speed, although I do have one horse on walk only therapy, so he might be my only ride for a few weeks. Jim volunteered saddle for me!
I meet with the surgeon the 29th and the oncologist the 3rd of April, I am hoping to be all done by October, since so far all the test results are saying the cancer is gone!
Thank goodness for my wonderful friends, co-workers, family and especially Jim who picks up all slack I am leaving and takes time to understand me when I am fogged out on drugs and cannot think!
Glad to be into this stage and getting ready for the final stretch of radiation and maintenance chemo!
Whoop!! It‘s type 3 fun. Interesting, but don’t want to do it again, ever.