Saturday, September 04, 2004
Final Plans for Treatment
It is a beautiful thing to hear someone pronounce my last name as it was meant to be said. I do not expect people on a daily basis to pronounce my name with melodic Italian notes; however, when it comes naturally off the tongue of a native speaker, it is music to my ears. When I met my surgeon, Dr. G, a man whose accent does little to hide his Italian heritage, his pronunciation of my name brought a smile to my face. His charm and confidence also helped put me at ease and feel comfortable as we discussed plans for the final chapter of my treatment.

I had been waiting eagerly for the consultation at Loma Linda University Medical Center, the facility for my final surgery. I have been anxious to know what procedures would be done and whether or not I would be able to stick with my personal plan of getting everything completed before Christmas. Loma Linda was also a "foreign" place to me with doctors I had never met and I wanted to be sure I would feel comfortable there as well. It's reputation is stellar and the work that is completed there is amazing. I never once doubted the facility or it's medical team, I just wanted to be sure it was a good fit for me -- somewhere I would be comfortable having such a major procedure done.

After meeting the Breast Health Center's coordinator, having an affirming and uplifting discussion with the counseling intern, a thorough exam and medical history evaluation with the nurse practitioner, and finally a consultation with the doctor, I have every confidence in this team. Their approach to addressing the needs of the whole person, not just addressing the cancer, inspires hope and aids in healing body, mind, and spirit.

And now I know how the story ends. The first week of December, my surgery is scheduled. Once I meet with the plastic surgeon, I will have the final details regarding procedure and recovery time. As long as my chemo schedule stays on course (which relies on me rebounding at the same rate after each treatment with no further complications), I should complete all treatments by November 4th, have a month to recuperate and get my levels back up, surgery in December, and by New Year's Day I'll be somewhere fabulous.

In the meantime, the doctor also noticed that I have a case of cellulitis in my right breast ( a slight skin infection), so I have another round of antibiotics to complete. While I noticed a very faint redness and warmth in the skin last Friday, I wasn't alarmed because it didn't get any worse, I had no fever, and the darn thing just hasn't been the same since my first surgery and subsequent hematoma. With my challenged immune system due to the chemo, getting infections, and other complications is relatively normal. And maybe having an infection explains why I've been dragging a bit more this week. At least I know I am on the road to recovery and even had a peek at the last page of the story.
Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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