Wednesday, December 15, 2010

- More Meanderings

Hey there, fellow sojourners! What's new? I have been carefully walking around, recuperating from my Happy Hysterectomy. 

This past Monday was treatment day. For those of you not quite up-to-speed on my fascinating cancer journey, I have finished my chemo & radiation but am still receiving an antibody called "Herceptin" until mid-February.

The nice thing about Herceptin is that there aren't many side effects, other than some joint swelling, a bit of fatigue, and the perpetual difficulty of losing weight. But we won't talk about THAT, now, will we!?!?!!?

Anyways, so George drove me to the hospital for noon this past Monday & schlepped around with me all afternoon. And I got to see my cutie-pie Oncologist, Dr. Victor Cohen...he's kinda shy, so he's not terribly fond of getting his picture taken. 

This pic above is the only one I have of him in my files. I did find another one on the Jewish General Hospital website, although it's not a very good one....

He has a beard & looks a little fershivelled here - oops, my spellcheck is telling me that's not the right spelling....anybody know how to spell fershivelled? I've just gone on Google & but neither of them recognize this word....I know I've heard it used..... help???

Anyhoo, he doesn't have a beard now, and his hair looks very nice these days. Gosh, he'd just die if he knew I was talking about him here on my blog. Oh, well. 

So he came into the examining room where we were waiting for him & he always looks stressed, because all he does all day is meet patient after patient after patient after patient with cancer...breast cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer, throat cancer....patients who will get better and go on to lead healthy, long lives; patients who will get better from this round of chemo, only to get their cancer back again, and patients who will not recover from their cancer and will eventually die.

Dr. Cohen is a wonderful Oncologist & he really cares about his patients, so I always feel bad for him when he comes in looking so stressed, which is, like, pretty much all the time. I like making him laugh, so when he came in looking so dog-tired, I said, "Hey! What's different about me?!?!?" 

He stopped in his tracks, looked at me carefully, and said, "You lost weight."

"Nope!" I said, wishing with all my might that this was true. 

"Uh....your hair has grown back," he guessed again. "Yes," I said, "but that's not it." He just stared at me, trying to figure it out.

"Give up??" I said. He nodded. 

"I don't have a uterus anymore!!!" Hahaha!! He'd forgotten I'd had my Happy Hysterectomy! 

"And I don't have my ovaries or my tubes, either!"He smiled & shook his head. I like it when caring, stressed-out doctors get to have a little chuckle in the middle of their sad, cancer-filled day. It's the least I can do to pay them back for all the wonderful care they give to me. 


Anyways, we chatted about the drugs I'll be on for the next 5 years to fight residual breast cancer cells that may still be floating around my body, my post-hysterectomy infection that's decided to hang out around the incision under my navel, and a few other fascinating details that I won't bore you with.

Yes, the incision under my navel (where they inserted the camera for my laparoscopic hysterectomy) was looking pretty angry & red, so after seeing Dr. Cohen, one of the Chemo nurses called a doc from Infectious Diseases to come look at it. Doesn't that sound exciting? Infectious Diseases! Like I'm a health risk or something!!

Actually, it's the best kind of doc to look at stuff like this, so he came to gaze at my navel (I thought we were supposed to gaze at our own navels???) and decided an abscess was forming, so he prescribed some antibiotics. Sure! The quickly-shrinking amount of cash in my anorexic bank account is just sitting there, so why not spend it on more drugs, for goodness sake!

Then, a half hour of Herceptin, some witty repartee with Dr. Brahms Silver, my favorite Colorectal Social Worker, a few jokes dispensed to busy, efficient nurses, and then my final quote for the day before leaving:

"Chaos, panic, pandemonium – my work here is done." Ha!!!


Well, of course, things are never simple with me, and this week was no different. After starting my antibiotics for the incision infection, one of my teeth started hurting. I mean, I'd just finished up a third and what-I-thought-was-final appointment last week with my nice dentist, Dr. Evange Destounis. I think the chemo must've done a number on my teeth, cuz I had all sorts of fillings and cracked enamels that needed fixing. 

Oh, well, so off I went to see Evange & his wacky sidekick, MJ. We had lots of fun together & I managed to do a photo shoot while they were working on me. It's easy - you just hold your cell phone on your lap, and while they're working on you, you take some pics. Fun, eh?

Yes, a good time was definitely had by all - that's for sure.

Well, I guess that's it for now. Tomorrow, I'm off to the hospital again to show my surgeon, Dr. Tulandi, my interesting-looking incision, to see what he says about that. 

Ta ta for now!! xox

Love, Wendy

Oh, and here's a little video for ya, from a Girls' Night Out I did in Brockville, Ontario, Canada last month - hope you get a chuckle!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

- My Happy Hysterectomy!

Yes, it's all over with and I am minus my plumbing. I had my Happy Hysterectomy on November 30, 2010 at 9 am. 

Just before we went into the Operating Room, I told my surgeon, cutie-pie Dr. Tulandi, that I was hoping I'd weigh less after the operation.

He just laughed (I think he thought I was serious - and I was, kinda) and said, "It only weighs a few ounces!! Ha ha ha!!" Yeah, I figured that. Oh, well, a girl can always dream....

Ya, so this is Dr. Togas Tulandi, my favorite gynecologist in the whole world. He's super-nice, always in a good mood, never snobby, and he has a great reputation. 

He's the one who removed my left ovary (it was pretty beat up from too much endometriosis) around 10 years ago, so I figured he should be the one to finish the job & get the complete set.

I also like him because he laughs at my jokes, which is an important factor in choosing a doctor. For me, anyways. And would you believe, he CALLED ME AT HOME the night after the surgery to see how I was doing!!! How's THAT for a doctor, huh?!?? What a cutie-pie!!

Ya, so this was my FIFTH surgery since this whole breast cancer saga began in August 2009. And the weird thing is, every one of those five surgeries has been done in "ODS", or One Day Surgery, something I never would have imagined. 

I mean, it's not like I was getting a wart removed or something. These are major surgeries they're doing! But at the end of the day, home we go! (Well, they did keep me overnight for the bilateral mastectomy, which was very kind of them).

So I've had, in order of appearance:
1) a bilateral mastectomy in September 2009
2) lymph node removals in October 2009
3) my Port-A-Cath installation in I-don't-remember-when
4) my Port-A-Cath removal & re-installation of another Port-A-Cath that actually worked properly in September 2010, and 
5) a hysterectomy in November 2010. 

I think that's enough, already!

Of course, I'm good buddies with the ODS - One Day Surgery - staff by now....I mean, we're practically family, don't you know! This is Elizabeth, the receptionist in ODS. She's SO much fun and we always have lots of laughs when I'm there.

So this surgery was what they call a prophylactic hysterectomy. That means I had it done for preventative purposes. 

I figure if I can get every major organ removed from my body between now and, say, 2014, why, I'll be SO much more at peace because the cancer won't have anywhere to hang out if it did come back, right?

Except I draw the line at them removing my brain. I need my brain. And my heart. I need that, too. 

But I figure everything else is expendable, so I'm getting it cut out. Ha!

The oral medication they put you on for five years, following an episode with breast cancer, actually stimulates the lining of the uterus, which can cause cancer! Sheesh!

So I figured it was safer to get a hysterectomy. If I don't have a uterus, I can't get cancer of the uterus. A no-brainer, right? 

Dr. Cohen - my cutie-pie Oncologist - and Dr. Tulandi, my gynie, agreed with me. I like it when my doctors agree with me. See? I make their jobs so much easier for them! I tell them what I want, and they, like, do it! It's like I'm diagnosing myself - what fun!

So that's all....I'm still kinda tired from Monday's surgery so I should get back to bed, now. But I knew you'd want to be brought up-to-speed on my fascinating life, so I felt I had a moral duty to post this before completely relaxing & taking it easy.

Till next time! Bye bye!

Love, Meeee xoxo