25 August 2011

A Day for Doctor's Appointments - progress update

Yesterday was my Doctor's appointment day.  I took the day off work to schedule all my appointments in one day and get them over with.  There were some glitches with insurance authorization, and wrong coding, but I made it through.  It was exhausting.  Here's the update on my health both with my breast cancer and general health and weight loss. 

Appointment 1:  Genetic Testing for the BRCA gene.  My insurance approved me for genetic testing after my second time with Breast Cancer and given that I had also had colon cancer.  The test is very important because it determines if you are a carrier of the breast cancer gene or if your cancer was just some random fluke.  The test is nothing more than a blood test, but they test down to your DNA so the lab work up is quite extensive.  I will post the results as soon as I'm made aware, but I don't know who will contact me with them.  My primary doctor or my oncologist. 

Appointment 2:  Consultation with the surgeon for post op check and to discuss part 2 of the breast reconstruction.  Everything went well.  Doctor B was really happy with my progress.  I have been feeling "thicker" around the waist/rib area.  He said this was a natural byproduct of the tram flap procedure but said as far as results go, I was doing really well.  We discussed the reconstruction.  I have an area of scar tissue (near the right outer side of the reconstructed breast), and I have an area of necrosis (less circulation of blood flow so causes a hardened area) on the right inner portion.  During the time of the reconstruction, he will cut around the old incision site (areola) and reshape the necrotic area.  The scar tissue will remain.  And then he will create a nipple.  This is all going to happen some time in October, which is good for me.  I'll be done with the Avon Walk, and it's before the holidays.  It's an outpatient procedure and will require 2-3 days out of work.  I asked about drains.  Will I have to have drains?  (Hate those!), but he said it was doubtful, but not an impossibility.  So I'm keeping my fingers cross.  He will dictate the report and we'll wait for insurance approval.

Appointment 3:  My regular doctor.  Check up. I wanted to talk to her about my weight.  I have been working very hard for almost 2 years now on weight loss.  I had lost 92 pounds...and then once I had my tram flap surgery, I couldn't exercise, bend, etc.   Basically all I did was sit around recuperating....and, well, eating.  And the pounds started creeping back.  So I'm 18 pounds heavier than I was.  Despite all the walking in training that I'm doing, eating right, etc...the pounds are just at a standstill.  So I wanted her input.   I love Dr. M.  She said I may have been thinner back in February, but I was also at that weight because I had been sick with gallbladder issues etc...and to not be so hard to myself.  She was very happy with my progress and the fact that I had been maintaining (I wish I were as happy).  We decided that I would need to be more disciplined, and write down everything I ate.  She asked, "Could it be that you're taking more than you think?"  Anything is possible.  :::shrug:::   I'm walking a lot...so the exercise is not a factor.  But she suggested that I ask Dr. B if it's okay to go back to my yoga class or to the gym.  Anyways, the plan is to write it all down and try to cut back 200 calories daily...and then reassess in 4 weeks' time.  I also have general fatigue from everything.  I get tired more readily just doing what I used to do normally. She said this was due to having 3 major surgeries in 6 months.  Okay.  I get it.

After three appointments (and no coffee in the morning), I was exhausted.  Special thanks to my daughter Ani for coming with me.  She always makes the worst situations better.

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