Tuesday, December 24, 2013

LUMPECTOMY - THE SEQUEL . . . Radiation Day 6, Monday: Speaking up

I read some old material on American College of Surgeons site about standard of care for breast cancer -- nothing new.

Couldn't find any helpful info on itch or pain medicine for breast.  What my friend had been given actually has itching as a side effect!  My oncologist put up a red flag in my mind last week by asking if I had any itching.

Got brave; called cancer center; told them I needed to see the on-duty radiological oncologist -  (My head still doesn't like the idea of  "oncologist" and I had to think before I typed it here.)

When I got there, I told the nurse that I need an emergency number for when they are closed.  She pointed out the microscopic number on my schedule.  When she gave me the number printed bigger, there were very specific instructions (which aren't on the schedule)  on how to leave a message.  I believe every patient should have a way to contact her oncologist in emergency after hours.

Dr. Kaiser was friendly and encouraging.  He had a real conversation with me as a person.  I told him about my unpredictable dermatitis including under my arms, and how badly it itches.  I need something on hand in case the breast itches a lot.

 He told me I could use the same cortisone on any breast itching that I use on my underarm dermatitis--that he has at times  prescribed cortisone for breast irritation.  Also gave examples of how often women's breast skin doesn't react to radiation the way it would to a beach sunburn.  Best of all he told me I may not get any itching.

I went off for my treatment armed with some samples of their lotion, which he said is like the Eucerin I'm already using.  I felt so much more secure.  

All afternoon I had trouble with my right leg again.  Thought that was all over --that I would have no more setbacks.  The way the spine physical therapists taught me to get up does not work on the very narrow treatment table -- the radiation therapists have to sort of half pull me up and support me.   All I can do is work consistently on my posture after I leave there.

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