Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Porta Cath (photo warning)

This morning I had a little operation where a porta cath was inserted below my left collarbone. They put the little mechanism under your skin and then there's a little tube that comes from it and goes into a big old vein (which they found from an incision OVER my collarbone).

They'll use this to give me my chemotherapy treatments rather than poking me every time or giving me a pic line (which the kids could yank at). When it isn't being used, it'll just be a lump under my skin, but when it is, they stick the iv needle through the skin and into the porta cath and then feed it in with a tube.

In my photo, it's got the iv in it already because I'll be having my first chemo a week from tomorrow so it'll be all ready for me to get in there. Also, all the hot pink you see is just what they used to clean me before the operation.


Here's a photo of it all healed

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So I'm getting a lot of emails and texts from everyone and I really appreciate all of them, but it's going to be tricky to write back to everyone without putting a bit of a damper on things since I'd be constantly writing about what's going on. So I'll set this up for updates and hopefully it answers everyone's questions. If not, feel free to email or text message Ian and he can let you know what's up.

So late August/early September I found a lump in my boob. Since I was still breastfeeding Rosie, it was a bit before it bothered me. I saw my doctor in Arnprior mid September and she figured it was the same thing but said if it lasted too long and was still freaking me out, to go for an ultrasound. I went on September 27th and 2 hours later my doctor called me to come back to Arnprior, and told me to bring someone with me so I'd understand what she was going to talk to me about. Needless to say, we didn't have a very good sleep that night. The next day we went and she said it didn't look good. It looked like a 2cm mass where I had felt it and a new one a few inches over. On top of that, she was worried that something had shown up in my lymph nodes as well. She sent out urgent requests for an MRI and biopsy and gave me a bunch of pills for sleep and anxiety.

My information was lost twice, but finally, after 2 or 3 weeks, I had a biopsy. It came back positive and I was diagnosed October 20th (I think?). We met with a surgeon days later and he said he would have to remove the whole breast and that I would have to have chemo afterwards. The MRI came another couple days later and when I went back for my last meeting with the surgeon, he told me that it was bigger than he thought (the MRI said about 6 cm on the main lump) and that the best choice would be chemo first. It threw me for a bit of a loop because I had already taken a class on how to take care of myself after surgery and what to expect and stuff. I had put chemo out of my head so that I could just focus on one thing at a time.

I had to leave the Civic and the care of my lovely surgeon, amazing nurse and fantastic social worker for a new team that sucks in comparison. My oncologist measured again and said it was actually 7cm by 5cm. The general is yucky. It's grey and cold and nobody is overly nice or caring. But I don't need to get into that. The point is, it has to happen there, so I'm going to suck it up and do it there.

They have to insert this thing below my collar bone that I think goes directly into a vein so that when I get chemo, they don't have to poke me all the time, and it's a lot more helpful apparently for people with young kids. I will be having 8 rounds of chemo, one every 3 weeks (based on good blood work beforehand) and will go for 24 weeks. The first 4 treatments will be an hour long and the last four will be a bit longer because they will be including a HER2 block (it's a hormone that makes this particular cancer grow). After chemo finishes, I will continue to go to have the HER2 thing for 14 months. Or I guess 13ish by then. But 4 weeks after my last chemotherapy, I will go ahead with the surgery and have mastectomy with lymph node removal as well. Radiation will happen some time after that.

Anyways, hopefully that's enough info for everybody. It's all I know for now. Thanks for all the support and well-wishes.