Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The fine print (ie a few boring details)

Saw oncologist Dr M this morning and he reiterated the good news that breast cancer surgeon Mr Tit-man had given me last week - that I am cancer free. He was slightly more reticent though, because I did not do the usual course, ie I did not have the full lymph node dissection. However, he did say that since my tumour had reacted very well to the chemotherapy, the lymph nodes should have done the same; and besides, they are a much smaller mass. Also, five lymph nodes were initially taken out; and only one was infected. The chances of having an infected one far away from the initial sentinel dissection are very rare: he compared it to finding teeth on a hen. So big phew then...

We then discussed the drug that I am to take daily for the next five years - a drug called Tamoxifen. Since my breast cancer was hormone positive, this drug basically blocks the growth of oestrogen in my body. Side-effects are an increased chance of ovarian cancer and blood clots - these are very rare though - again, the hen's teeth analogy. Other side effects are menopause symptoms, such as hot flushes and the like. Tamoxifen's success in preventing breast cancer recurrence though outweighs the possible risks and side-effects, so I will start taking the medication in two weeks' time.

Radiotherapy came next: we talked about whether or not I should have radiotherapy done to the lymph node area. Mr T had told me that he felt that it was not necessary because of the reasons mentioned above, and doing so would only negate what I had avoided by not having the full dissection: the risk of lymphedema. Apparently, radiotherapy can cause this as much as a full dissection. Dr M went through all my paperwork and he agreed with Mr T - so radiotherapy will only be focused on the breast area. I need to have eighteen sessions, everyday for a month - except weekends. Luckily, girlfriend and neighbour S who was diagnosed a month or so after me (what's wrong with the water where we live then?) will be doing the radiotheraphy with me. This should keep boredom at bay and we can also share the driving. Sadly, the radiotherapy will not be done at our local hospital. What a pain. Luckily, it's not too far from a shopping mall. What a relief.

Dr M checked my breast after surgery and he seems to be very happy with the results. Very neat apparently, and smoother than most (which is a good thing). Why the heck does he always have cold hands though???

So again, onwards and upwards!


  1. Great news!

    Also relieved to know that I'm not the only Tit-Man around.

    (Hehe. Sorry sis. Couldn't resist.)

  2. All good. Really delighted for you Chinot and all your wonderful family.
    Lito,I think we both must belong to the "League of Extraordinary Tit Men", an ancient order apparently dating back to the crusades...or at least the '80s or '90's....LH is a Grand Wizards Sleeve in his local Order you know...

  3. Your courage and optimism is enviable in the face of such a dreadful affliction. I myself am a survivor. But, tho I am fine now, I'm still often beset by unbearable depression and a sense of loss. I do miss my one testicle. I envy your sense of humor and eloquence with which you defy this disease, while I and many, if not most others are overwhelmed by both the fear of death and the ravages we put our bodies through in order to prevent it. Truly, I pray for such courage, if not now, in my next incarnation.
    And by the way, I totally agree about the cold hands. I felt the same way about my own doctor, who was very professional, and yet, a not too shabby 40-something, whom I will call Ms. D, (as in M.D.). At some point I found myself actually looking forward to the next check-up and feeling free, albeit momentarily, from all fear and anxiety. Yes, it is the little joys that get you through, in the end.

  4. Love it Kenny. And I especially love your name...!

  5. Marc, Lito. I just want to remind you that this is a public blog and therefore not a forum on which to discuss the inner workings and rituals of the LoETM. As a Grand Wizards Sleeve I caution you that I have the power within the order to submit you to the Trial of the Pencil Test and ultimately to the Ordeal of the Radio Tuning Nipple Tweak. Please keep the Sacred Counsel of the Padded Bra, return to Chapel of Heavenly Cleavage and say your 12 Prayers for Pertness. Your in "put your head in between them and go "blubbablubbablubba"", LH (GWS 1st Order Distinction and Nipple Ring).