There was no lump -- a Breast Cancer blog

This blog is about my experience with Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
You can learn more about Inflammatory Breast Cancer at or

The names of my Doctors have been changed.



Contact me at Liane58 at gmail dot com
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Location: United States

Monday, September 27, 2004

Chemo 8 -- the last one!!

Definitely time to celebrate, having finished this stage of my treatment. The oncology nurses awarded me a Certificate of Completion of Chemotherapy, "having suffered in silence, with good blood counts, courage and determination." I'd been thinking about how all my experience and learning makes me feel like I'm earning a degree!

My final "Chemo party" was a festive one, lots of food, including cake, and me well enough to eat it all (although still dealing with thrush, which I can't seem to shake). The support of my friends has been so heartening.

I'm can't exactly say I'm "ready" for surgery, but I haven't been feeling the anxiety I had before my email exchange with my doctors. It does seem strange to me that we don't actually know how effective the Chemo has been. I have a lot of pre-op appointments: a CT scan today, so we can make sure there hasn't been any further spreading of the cancer, and on Friday a meeting with Dr. Jones to go over my MRIs and my diagnosis and to have her fully explain everything about the surgery.

My Mom has her plane ticket to come out; it will be great to see her and have her around while I am recovering.

One thing that has happened as a result of Chemo, is the onset of full-swing menopause. Most noticeable are the frequent hot flashes, resulting in my yanking off my hat and scarf and whatever other clothing I can dispense with. The likelihood of my returning to my previous peri-menopausal state is very small. So it's a big and abrupt change of metabolism.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Surgery Scheduled -- and my fears

My surgery (radical modified mastectomy of the right breast) is scheduled for Ocotober 13. I am worried about this, but am feeling much better after the email exchange below with my Doctors -- very reassuring.

Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones,

I'm feeling a lot of anxiety about my impending surgery. After seven chemo treatments, it seems a little silly to be in denial, but my diagnosis does seem kind of abstract to me. My right breast looks perfectly fine. Completely innocent. Apparently harmless. I wish there were some picture I could see of my cancer; after all, the dentist always shows me the problem on the X-ray before drilling. Is there anything from the mammogram, the ultra-sound, the MRI, that I could look at? If not a picture, details of results? Data? Documentation? Evidence?

I have the two one-page pathology reports, but there must be something more detailed than that - you must have big files on me, right? I don't claim my feelings are rational, but if I could see more information about my diagnosis, I think I'll feel better. Sorry to be labor intensive.

Signed, Sleepless in Somerville (Liane)

Dr. Jones (the surgeon) replied:
I understand your feelings Liane. As I remember,
> the MRI showed the problem
> most clearly. If you pick up all your films and
> bring them to your next
> visit with you, I will put everything up and go over
> it with you so you will
> feel more confident about the need to go forward
> with the surgery.
> All the best-


and Dr. Smith (the oncologist)wrote:
I agree with Dr. Jones - the MRI may put things in better perspective. I'd also be glad to go over your inital diagnosis, staging, and go over the data that supports this approach.
Never apologize for having questions about your treatment -
that's what we are here for.

SO, I will be meeting with both these Doctors and will get more information
-- more than I need, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Chemo 7

Pretty uneventful by this time, treatment seeming very routine. I felt fine, and had acupuncture. By today (Sunday) am feeling a little achy, and also tired.

But Friday, right after my treatment, I felt fine. I had my seventh chemo party, which was a little different from the others. I've been thinking a lot about my impending surgery, and trying to get ready psychologically. An artist friend proposed making a plaster cast of my breast. I thought about it for a while, and I thought it would feel nice to have a memento. I suggested that she do them both, so I would have "the set."

So, this was the "entertainment" at the 7th chemo party! It only took about an hour to make. She used plaster-infused strips of gauze, moistened in water. She smoothed them on, they hardened quickly and removed easily (I'd put some vasiline on my skin to protect it). We all had a lot of fun, and came up with ideas like painting it gold to make a breast-plate. I'll try to get some photos up on my other site.