Monday, November 06, 2006
But what is it?
Thank you to everyone who emailed me or left a comment (Thanks, Keri!) asking about the biopsy results. The biopsy came back as not cancer and not a drug reaction. Iam extremely grateful and relieved that it is not cancer related. All of the information I read on that subject was very dismal to say the least. So now, what is it? I have done exhaustive and extensive research on this issue. I have no delusions of being a doctor, but I do know I am a researcher. The doctor respectfully listened while I shared my research about the link between the horrid itchy leg rash, hormone (likely progesterone) imbalance, and thyroid condition (all worsened by the chemo and ongoing Tamoxifen). I even described how I can chart the itchiness with my cycle (peaking when the progesterone should be at its highest). When I was all done sharing my research I waited patiently for his response.

*crickets*

That is it. He simply looked at me while his mind raced feverishly through his encyclopedic dermatologic knowledge. I think even the street traffic below stopped and the earth fell totally silent (with the exception of the crickets apparently). My primary care doctor had the same reaction. It is a reaction that says, “She may have something here, but it is totally over my head” (or as we teach our students presenting their research, “That is an excellent point, but unfortunately it is outside the scope of my research.”). He paused, turned his head in such a way that the sun coming through the window glistened against his radiant and seemingly ageless skin, and told me to continue using the ointment for one more week then taper down to three times a week and then as needed to keep the condition under control. Oh, and don’t forget to moisturize. Oh ye of perfect skin, thank you for trivializing this persistent sanity challenging condition with a reminder to moisturize. Why didn't I think of that?

I know, I know, it is a lot of drama for a rash when babies are starving in India and getting HIV in Africa. I am just tired of living with it and having to hide my legs. It is one more thing keeping this cancer experience from being in the past (tsk tsk, when will I learn that it will *never* be a thing of the past?). As I told the doctor, I am seeing a primary care doctor, a dermatologist, a gynecologist, and an endocrinologist and I don’t know which one will be able to put all the pieces together and figure this out for me. Three down, one to go. My concern is that if this condition persists and we simply treat the symptoms, then I remain somewhat vulnerable since I had hormone sensitive cancer.

Anyone know a good medical researcher? At this point I’ll just settle for a good bartender.
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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    "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12