Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I've Been Properly Poked and Squished

I'm so glad those two appointments are over.

Today, I got squished. OUCH!! The breast pain is sharp but mercifully short-lived. My shoulders, though, still hurt more than they had been before my mammogram. I had an Epsom Salts soak when I got home and that was a bit soothing. I have some swelling under my left arm, probably from just too much manipulating of that whole side of me.

The good news, as expected, is that my mammogram is clear - nothing to worry about. I asked about my breast density and the Radiologist said my breasts aren't dense at all. That means that the Arimidex and Tamoxifen have done the job of ridding my body of estrogen, thereby reducing the density of my breast tissue. Maybe if my hormones had been better balanced in the first place when I first started complaining of weight gain and fatigue, I might not have got breast cancer at all. High breast density is considered one of the main risk factors for breast cancer, probably because high breast density is caused by unchecked estrogen. I think there should be an awareness campaign to educate women about breast cancer risk factors, including breast density.

The Radiologist asked if I was having any trouble with my arm. I was surprised by his question and I told him about my frozen shoulders and the nerve damage effecting my elbow. His wife, he told me, had a mastectomy a couple of years ago and has considerable pain in her arm still. Even a light touch causes pain, he said. She doesn't have noticeable edema but she does find it makes a difference if she wears a compression sleeve on her arm when she flies. He seemed so sad when he was telling me about his wife. He warned me to be careful of my arm. He pointed out, in the digital images, where my scar tissue is and where there is thickening caused by the radiation.

It was so good to have Kevin there with me and to drive me. After my soak in the tub, I just stayed very still for a long while. I want to rest my left arm and, hopefully, the swelling will go down soon.

I am so over being poked and squished this week! I have my first massage on Friday. I hope that turns out to be a good thing and doesn't leave me aching all over.

I had a "cheery" call from the Champion Centre today. The Oncological nurse phoned to tell me that they are still unable to get me in to see an Oncologist but that they hope the same Oncologist I saw last time will visit again early in May to take on some of the world load. I might be able to see him then. She asked if I was back to work, and when I said I was, my impression from her was that she thought everything must be great in my world then! That annoyed me. I assured her that it wasn't and that I need to talk to an Oncologist about the problems I'm still experiencing with my joints, muscles and tendons, albeit not as badly as I was experiencing previously. She suggested, of course, that I see my family doctor. I told her that this is something I need to talk to an Oncologist about. She suggested I talk to my surgeon. I told her that I didn't think Arimidex and Tamoxifen would be in my surgeons area of specialization either. I am very certain my surgeon would be puzzled if I made an appointment to talk to him about the drugs I've been on.

I was very tired and cranky after that phone call. Her attitude bothered me more than anything. You get the feeling that they just want you NOT to be an "issue". Well, I wish I wasn't an "issue" either, but I am, so I wish there were the resources help me figure this out. I understand that they're overworked and overwhelmed but that's not my fault either. I worry, too, for the people just being diagnosed. I hope they're moving through the system without any delays.

Aren't I an absolute ray of sunshine today?!! I told you I was tired and cranky! I'm sure I'll be more myself tomorrow. I really don't like feeling this way.

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