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The oncologist referred me on to the radiologist to see if further treatment was appropriate in my case. I travelled to Brisbane to consult with him this week.  He explained that new research showed benefit in trials of treatment in the case of women with fewer than 3 lymph nodes metasticising. There is clearly one metasticised node in my case with evidence of spore release in its formation. The surgery and chemotherapy may already have put paid to these rogue cells. There is no specific and tangible evidence at this stage in my case to radiate and no proof that the treatment will have been effective if undertaken. The area that would be radiated if proceeding with treatment is the quadrant in front of the left shoulder and under the sternum where spores have been known to settle. I tell him of the story I heard only  a few weeks back from the woman seated in the treatment chair beside me in the oncology unit at Bundaberg Base Hospital. She was five years out from surgery and had found a lump in the left hand quadrant in front of the shoulder and is now dealing with lung and bone cancer. My position on entering the dialogue had been that if I was diagnostically suited for treatment I would take the option. (I also asked him if he would advise his wife to proceed if she was in my place – he said  ‘yes)’. After physical examination and confirming that I had no heart problems and was not, nor had ever been, a smoker he explained the possible side effects: damage to the heart muscle that may take effect in 10-20 years time; possible whitening of the tip of the lung under the left shoulder causing coughing episodes and in rare circumstances the need to be on oxygen for life; a 3-5% increase in the risk of oedema in the left arm (as 17 lymph nodes have been removed there). Do I need to go away and think about it? No. I must do it as a further investment in my life chances. He makes the referral – it will mean 6 weeks on the Sunshine Coast at the Oceania facility for daily treatment. My sister Maureen has already had a spare key cut to her flat nearby and mum is looking forward to seeing more of me at her little unit in Buderim Gardens. Everyone I have spoken to who has been through it says it is fatigueing but fine – I am relieved to have made the decision and to see the shape of the year rolling out now. Another 10 days or so and some of the debilitating side effects of the last chemo I am dealing with should fade and bring me to a new and welcome place. At Easter – how appropriate!


About pipsky

A creative, generous 64 year old with a PhD in Performance Studies trying to grow old disgracefully while working like mad in regional Queensland, squeezing the juice out of every day & still trying to find the balance that will maintain the quiet mind that makes her useful to others and nice to live with.

2 responses »

  1. hey gorgeous one. i am sitting overlooking Mexico City, and reading your blog and smiling because you are such a soldier, or is it a warrior? You are an Amazon, and you are determined to get through this as quick as you can and as successfully as you can. i have nothing but admiration, and i send you bluebirds…
    much love




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