It’s been a busy time in the medical realm since our last episode. I’ve seen the plastic surgeon, dermatologist, prosthetics guy, Minute Clinic, oncologist, and my primary care doctor and a new partner in the practice – former Army, trained at Walter, and his wife still works there. Here’s the short version:
- Plastic surgeon – final surgery is scheduled!
- Dermatologist – It’s impossible to escape without something being removed
- Prosthetics guy – would have gotten my new socket, but lost weight again #Womp
- Minute Clinic – do I have pneumonia again?
- Oncologist – OK, so I didn’t actually see the oncologist, but I had my ~last herceptin infusion~ woooooo!
- Primary care doctor and new partner – “hey come listen to her lungs when she leans to the left! Yeah, we couldn’t read your chest x-ray. You need a CT.”
- And by phone later – “There are new or converging scars in some parts of your lungs and gross stuff* in multiple lobes. We don’t know if it’s infected.”
So that’s a lot.. still aiming for brevity, but additional details are below.
Final reconstruction surgery! Tuesday, October 3… because I figure, if the government might shut down October 1, this way I wouldn’t have to use as much sick leave. Errrrrmmmm… right. Moving on. So after the surgery I’m getting a tattoo! I’m such a bad ass… the plastic surgeon nearly choked laughing when I observed what a rebel I am, pierced AND tattoed – rebel is obviously the first word he thinks of when it comes to me.
Dermatologists are a bunch of cutters. There’s just no other way to say it. Has anyone ever left the dermatologist without something needing to be biopsied or removed? Exactly. And I’m covered in moles, so inevitably one of them will be “suspicious.” Still, she’s a lovely person. Impossible last name, but lovely regardless.
I’ve never quite recovered from the nonsense that came on during vacation. As it often does, that led to me dropping weight. *sigh* So now the new socket for my prosthesis that was cast after I regained the weight lost due to the last pneumonia and chemo is too big. This is a big challenge for me, and why I try so hard to maintain a constant weight: if I gain or lose, my leg doesn’t fit properly. The goal now is to regain the weight and hope I regain it the same way I lost it so the new socket, which was cast based on my pre-vacation weight distribution, still fits. And to do so by the end of the calendar year because anything related to prosthetics is expensiiiiiiiiive… and through the end of the year insurance is covering all allowable expenses at 100%.
I went from the prosthetics clinic to the Minute Clinic. The nurse practitioner was understandably and reasonably alarmed by what she heard in my lungs, particularly since she doesn’t know what my baseline sounds like. She sent me home with the standard first-line antibiotic and instructions to see my primary care doctor ASAP. It was helpful having that direction, as I otherwise would probably not have been able to get an appointment so soon. Me on the phone with the scheduling service: “Blah blah blah Minute Clinic etc. etc. pneumonia.”
I checked with the oncologist’s office that it was still OK to get my last dose of herceptin with a possible pneumonia diagnosis, and they said yes. So that happened the next day. I would have thought that last dose would have been a HUGE and momentous occasion, but NOOOO, leave it to possible pneumonia to ruin even that! I blame Fungus United… you didn’t just ruin that opportunity for celebration, but the whole weekend! I was supposed to hang out with my favorite one-year old MoCo resident that night, but the Minute Clinic nurse practioner advised against it. Then I was supposed to host my first boro friend for the weekend, but had to cancel that too. CURSE YOU, FUNGUS UNITED!!
OK, no, I don’t know for sure that F.U. is behind this mess, but I have strong and credible suspicions.
I saw my primary care doctor and one of the practice’s new partners yesterday morning. They shot an x-ray, but weren’t able to pull up my old x-rays for comparison, rendering the new x-ray basically useless. My lungs sounded relatively clear, until I offered to lean to the left. My primary care doctor seemed so startled by what she heard that she called the new guy over so he too could listen. They put in an order for a chest CT, and the hospital worked me in yesterday afternoon. New Guy called me with the results as Polly and I were leaving the vet (she was due for her allergy shot!): there are some either new or converging scars, and there’s stuff in multiple lobes hanging about. We can’t tell if it’s infected. I talked to your pulmonary doctor, and we’d like to put you on a stronger antibiotic and a steroid, then come back and see us in a week. I asked if I should postpone the surgery (booo!), currently just over a month away, and he suggested we revisit that in a week. If I’m not significantly better by then, it’s probably a good idea to postpone. Also, I am to take it super easy, working from home to the extent possible and limiting physical exertion, not even walking Polly – extreme relaxation, if you will.
So there we have it. Just as I circled back to the surgery in conclusion here, so too does F.U. seem to be trying to conclude my breast cancer fiasco under similar circumstances as those under which it began: with pneumonia. Well, SCREW YOUR POETIC LICENSE, F.U.! I’m the only one of us cleared to employ such tactics! Now BACK OFF!
But not you, friends… I’m essentially in isolation at home for the next week, as Polly is now visiting her grand-paw-ents. So don’t back off, friends – feel free to call, text, and wander by!