March 22, 2014

Travels to Texas - It is always an adventure

What an interesting trip to Texas this has been. I speak often about going with the flow – just keep on moving; this theme reigns supreme, yet again. Let us begin with the delightful overnight flight. Curtis, Leslie, and I arrive at the airport and successfully navigated through security without a hitch; this is not always the case for me as I am an “opt-out” meaning I do not go through the body scanner machine. Rather I am the recipient of an up close and personal hands-on pat and slide security screen. “I am going to run my hand along your inner thigh until met with resistance,” states the airport security officer. That one always makes me laugh. As we look for our gate, we decide to grab a beverage and some chips and salsa. – The airport chips were double, perhaps triple flash fried and dripping with oil; we still ate them. Leslie and I dashed across the way to purchase a beverage and snack for the plane ride. In desperate need of some nasal spray, Leslie purchased a bottle of the coveted spray only to discover it cost over $10…she was none too pleased. We landed in Houston around 6:00am - the plane ride was uncomfortable, stuffy, and a dreaded overnight flight …no fun at all.

The first appointment of the day was with my cancer surgeon; it went as expected; he is very respectful, kind, and compassionate. I asked that the doctor take a second look at my swollen lymph node so that we could discuss the findings. I subsequently made the decision to have the lymph node removed in addition to the mass contained within my breast. Curtis, Leslie, and I next traveled to see my reconstructive surgeon. This appointment did not go as expected. Prior to traveling to Texas, I had several communications with the office of Dr. S to discuss the procedures he would be preforming; my interpretation was that everything was set and ready to go. Shortly after entering the exam room – it was clear this was not the case. Dr. S was refusing to perform any type of reconstructive surgery on the right breast and was only agreeable to preforming a minor augmentation to the left breast. When further inquiry was made into his gross deviation from the original plan, the doctor became defensive and threatened to not perform the surgery at all. Awe, this was a familiar spot…yet again, I was being required to create a space for an arrogant medical provider to feel validated appreciated, and as though they are the expert. I have to say it was quite nauseating at times. What made this visit amusing, in part, was the doctor’s attraction, complimentary comments, and divine infatuation with my left breast! He noted how the supple curvature was preferred. He encouraged me to enlarge the right breast (containing cancer) rather than reduce the left breast – “let’s just go bigger”, he said with a twinkle in his eye. When discussing symmetry, he noted how beautifully symmetric my breasts already were (more than most) and in a challenging tone, looked at Leslie and said, “Christina’s breasts are most likely more symmetric than yours – just look and see.” I was mildly disappointed Leslie did not take the doctor up on his challenge, producing her breasts! That would have been fantastically hilarious.

Surgery was a breeze and according to my support team – the doctors nearly fist bumped each other when recounting how well the surgery went. Let’s now discuss the dark-side of the surgery. The lymph node that was removed did contain cancer cells, the extent of which will not be known until early next week when pathology comes back. The surgeon expressed to my husband that there would need to be some tough decisions made, noting radiation is off the table because the cancer has moved beyond its origination site, meaning it has metastasized. My first thought was good; this is one less non-treatment treatment I would have to hear about from western doctors! It will be interesting to see what I am working with when pathology returns. My hope is that the cancer nugget in my breast was removed with clear margins and that the lymph node was simply inflamed.

Had a visit from a couple of my Texas kiddos. Carlos drove down from Austin for the day - it was great to see him. 

I am healing well, and ready to head home – Sunday morning to be exact. There is much more to tell, but will come at later time. 

                                                          Today, I am hopeful~

Please consider donating money to support travel expenses, surgical procedures, and medical expenses: Capture Courage Fundraiser