gaylejackson2 wrote: ↑
Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:08 pm
Gayle's Cancer Update #21
Dear Family & Friends,
I figure that I had better send out an email to you all before I forget all the information that I have learned over the past two days, and also to keep it fresh in my mind too. I'm also adding in extra information for me, as I've been using these emails as a kind of journal--because physically writing about my cancer journey is frustrating and causes me some anger.
First though, today is August 6. This date may not be significant to you, but it is to me, as on this day, one year ago in 2019, I received a phone call telling me that I had Breast Cancer. I have had mixed emotions today, but mainly I have been thinking that a year ago I was hoping that I would be finished with everything necessary for my cancer journey, and I am not yet. However, the end comes ever closer.
To that point, two days ago on August 4th, I had a morning appointment at University [of Utah] Hospital in with Dr Goodwin's PA Masha Mulcock. She told us about the Abdominal CT Scan (done 6/30/20), and said that Dr Goodwin could see no reason for why my belly was bulged rather prominently to the left side--side note, it no longer is that way. Then we discussed surgery for my 2nd phase breast reconstruction, which she thought could happen as soon as two weeks away, but that as it is a short or "little" surgery, it would be tacked on wherever there was a three hour window of time, and that it would be an outpatient surgery. She said Dr Goodwin does surgery at the main Huntsman Cancer Institute facility, Farmington HCI, or at University Hospital on Tuesdays. Then she said that Dr Goodwin would like to meet with me prior to the surgery, so the surgery scheduling secretary would pick a Tuesday that had an open previous Friday clinic time. I would also need to come early enough before my appointment to get a COVID19 test at one of the Huntsman facilities or at the Park City IHC hospital. (They do Covid testing M-F 7am to 1:30pm.) She closed our visit saying that the scheduling secretary would be in touch with me either that day or the next.
Later, on August 4th at the newer Sugar House HCI facility, I spent a copious amount waiting for my appointment with Dr Cindy Matsen--about 2-1/2 hours before I finally got to see her. She sent in a 3rd year medical student to go over my post-chemo symptoms, then she arrived. She performed a thorough exam of my reconstructed breasts, telling me as she did so that she was feeling for any potential new masses or lumps, that even though I had a double mastectomy last fall, there was still a small amount of original breast tissue where tumors could form and they would be felt. As I had the mastectomies done, and with the partial reconstruction formed from my belly tissue, this was the only way that Doctors can tell if my cancer had come back or a new one had formed--other than me feeling unusual pain. Next we discussed my recent hysterectomy, and I mentioned my curiosity about if hormone replacement therapy wold work for me--she said that as my cancer was Not estrogen-fed, that yes replacement hormones would work for me, but that she recommends that I do low-dose only, and to discuss that with Dr Ward and his PA Rosemary (Dr Ward is my Chemotherapy Oncologist). Dr Matsen said that in her opinion I was doing well, that I was healing on schedule, and that from now on I would need to see her only once a year (or even never if I wanted). I agreed to the once a year visit, and she said that she would have her nurse send me a letter in 9 months to remind me to schedule a visit with her. [Then I headed out to the parking lot where my patient husband had waited over 3 hours for me because they wouldn't let him come into the building as I'd forgotten to get permission ahead of time for him to come to the appointment with me.]
The next morning, on August 5th, as hubby and I were driving to Roosevelt UT for another Dr appointment, I received a phone call from the Plastic Surgery scheduler. They could fit me in on Friday Sept 4th for a visit with Dr Goodwin, and I would have surgery on the following Tuesday Sept 8th. Well okay, just two weeks after school starts for our children!
We were going to Roosevelt to UBMC so I could see Dr Wally Snihurowych (aka Dr Wally), who comes to Roosevelt each Wednesday from Price UT. Dr Wally is a Urologist, and I was to see him because of the two UTIs and one kidney infection that I've had in the past 1-1/2 months before and after my hysterectomy. We got there to find that someone had cancelled my appointment, but after waiting an hour, he saw me anyhow. We had made certain that copies of the results of both my June 30th CT Scan and Bone Scan were given to him--these are both significant because they both mention and talk about my right kidney, the same kidney that has been giving me considerable pain for nearly two months. I have also been having lower back pain, below my kidneys. The wording of the scans' findings told Dr Wally that the "funnel" that goes from the kidney to the uretha has been widened, not the normal narrow funnel that it should be, and all of the infections hint at a blockage. Also that especially on the CT scan there was a possible congenital defect that has Dr Wally concerned to where he wants to run a scope "up the channel to your kidney and see what is going on." He says if there is the congenital defect, it can only really be found by going into the kidney itself, then he would know how to treat it/me. Also that if there is "congenital damage," then my kidney would be 'obviously thin walled' once he was inside. Then he said, "Come to Price Hospital next Tuesday morning on August 11th, and I'll check you out to see what is really going on." (He also said that if I hadn't come to see him, I would have continued to have UTIs and kidney infections and eventually my kidney would have failed.) So that is how my next week is going to start.
I do not know if eventually I would have had more UTIs and kidney infections if I had not had Chemotherapy, but I rather think that the Chemo nudged this latest discovery along. However, while I am NOT anxious for next Tuesday's scope, I admit that I Would Like To Know just what is going on. I'm hopeful for a cessation of kidney & lower back pain too, as those are wearing on a person.
I would like to thank you all for the prayers you've uttered in my behalf over the past year, and well wishes & thoughts too. If you would be willing to continue those, especially on next Tuesday August 11th and Sept 8th, I would be most appreciative.
With love & gratitude to you all,