Archive | March, 2012

Six-month Follow-up Doctor Visit

14 Mar

March 12, 2012

 

So, last Thursday I went for my six-month follow-up appointment with my breast surgeon.

 

The first thing of note happened when I was updating my information with the receptionist.  She asked, “Is Dr. Kracht still your primary care physician?”  “Yes,” I replied.   “And _____________, _______________, and _____________?”  I stared at her blankly. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.   She said, “That’s odd.  They’re right here on your chart.”  I was puzzled also. Then she must have said something about oncologists and the light bulb went off.  I said, “Oh!  I chose not to go to them.”

 

When my doctor arrived to the examining room she was very warm and friendly but also surprised and a little disappointed that I didn’t at least go and talk to the oncologists.  (One was a radiation oncologist and one a hematology oncologist.)  I replied that I hadn’t been interested in either the radiation therapy or the anti-estrogenic drug and I knew it would be hard to stand my ground if I had been face to face with them.   I knew they’d be pushing for me to go the direction they thought was best.

 

(All things considered, I still agree with my decision FOR ME!  I needed to do my own research and come to my own conclusions and decisions before allowing “experts” to exercise their sway.  However, I do, OF COURSE, honor all those who choose differently from me.  We are each individuals and we have to make our own choices.)

 

Okay, back to the doctor visit.  As I suspected, she wants me to get a biopsy.  A stereotactic biopsy.   For those who have been following my blog, my experience with a stereotactic biopsy last August was NOT pleasant.  In fact, that was the most unpleasant of all my breast-related experiences to date.  However it’s not the fear of discomfort which makes me hesitate.  It is the following two factors:

 

  1. I worry about my body having to process additional radiation.  If I were to get this biopsy done in the next month or two, that would mean that during the course of one ten-month period, my body would have been subjected to about 15 x-rays (about  7 or 8 “shots” per set of mammograms) plus two stereotactic biopsies – which would entail at least two more x-ray views each time.  That’s a LOT of radiation.  And radiation, as you know, is a great risk factor for getting cancer!  (“According to Dr. Gofman, MD, PhD, in Radiation and Human Health: A Comprehensive Investigation of the Evidence Relating Low Level Radiation to Cancer and Other Diseases, ionizing radiation is a known carcinogen, there is no safe exposure level to ionizing radiation, and the effects of radiation exposure are cumulative throughout one’s life.”  http://www.holisticcarehawaii.com/Stereotactic.htm)
  2. There are a few articles which express concern about the wisdom of “poking around” surgically or otherwise in an area that already exhibits the presence of cancer cells or cancer growth. The very act of having more surgery at that site could potentially spread that cancer farther.

 

I expressed my concerns and she heard them.  Her concern is that the one calcification showing on my January films could mean something.  If I had had radiation therapy, that one calcification could be (likely would be) a by-product of the RT.  But I didn’t, so to be safe she feels I should check it out.

 

Of course, doctors have to anticipate worst-case scenarios, while I as the patient, want to be aware of them but NOT focus on them!

 

She did say she would like me to have another set of mammograms done before the next six-month follow-up appointment.  I asked her if there were ANY alternatives.   I again expressed my concern about the radiation involved with mammograms. She reiterated that thermographs aren’t able to find anything at this earlier stage of the game.  They are not an adequate early diagnostic tool.  She said they’re working on diagnostic ultrasound technology, but it’s not ready yet.

 

So, in a nutshell, it seems I have three choices:

 

  1. Do neither of these clinical/diagnostic options (neither biopsy nor mammogram) and trust that my natural course of treatment is sufficient.
  2. Skip the biopsy and get another set of mammograms in six months’ time.
  3. Get the biopsy and then go from there.

 

When I left the office yesterday, I was leaning toward Option #2.  However last evening and this morning, I’m leaning toward the last option.  Because if this calcification represents a benign condition, then I feel I can safely wait at least a year for another set of mammograms.  If it proves to be a spot of cancer, then it would be good for me to know this now, rather than later.  However I am choosing not to worry about those decisions until I know what I’m working with!

 

Okay, it sounds like I’ve just talked myself into the stereotactic biopsy.   I guess I’d rather know for sure what is going on in my body.  Or perhaps, if I’m very lucky, I’ll be able to have the opportunity to say, “See! I’m doing just fine!”   And that would feel very good indeed.

 

Thanks for listening.

 

PS  When I woke in the middle of the night the day of my doctor appointment, I found myself thinking about my right breast and what to do about it.  I must have dozed off because I suddenly realized I’d seen an image of my breast with a vertical knife next to it.  I think that perhaps that was a sign that some surgery (a biopsy) is a good idea.

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Moving through Fear into a Greater Connection with the Divine

3 Mar

March 2, 2012

So I am continuing to process my last two blog entries regarding food and fear and I am realizing they are related.  This is where I am today:

  1. I think the scary dreams are warning dreams, as opposed to prophetic dreams. I think they are messages sent to me which say: If you don’t get on the right course, this is what is likely to happen.
  2. I’m feeling a little bit less anxious because three or four times now this week, I have had pH readings in the optimal alkaline zone.  (Yay me!!!)   This is extremely encouraging.  If I can stay in this zone 5-6 days out of the week, I will feel like I’m on the right track.
  3. This morning’s card was labeled “Fear.” The message was to look at my fears to see if they are valid or if perhaps my imagination is running away with me.  In my case, I think they are reasonable concerns, but I also think I have allowed them to become too consuming.   This card confirms that “fear is a crippling companion.”  It indicates “a loss of faith and connection with the Divine.”

I really need to look at this.   I think of myself as a spiritual being, but have I been walking the walk?  Have I been immersing myself in the presence of the Divine?  Have I been having conversations with God/Goddess/Great Spirit on a regular enough basis?  Have I allowed the healing energy of Divine Presence to flow through me?

This takes commitment on my part.  I need to carve out time in which I can really sink into Sacred Space. One cannot do deep healing or spiritual work in a fast-food, drive-through kind of way.  Although one can certainly offer small prayers all day long, true connection with Source probably requires a slightly larger allocation of time.

I ask myself, What are ways I can sink into a deeper Sacred Space?

Here are my answers.  Yours may very well be different.

  • Spend time in Nature.  This can mean a walk through the woods, it can mean sitting on a chair under the trees, it can mean lying on the sand at the beach.  The most important thing is being present to the Beauty that is all around.  Let the Beauty feed your soul.
  • Prayer/chanting/singing/meditation.  I’m putting them altogether because chanting and singing are forms of prayer and meditation for me.  Whenever I try praying in a more traditional way (with spoken words), it never feels like enough.  It doesn’t feel deep enough, heartfelt enough.  But if I sing or dance my prayers, they take on greater meaning. I can feel my yearning come through more readily.
  • Art/painting/drawing.  This is something I love to do, and for some reason, resist.  But when I feel inspired and allow that creativity to flow through me, I find myself really happy.  And I imagine the Spirit of Divinity is present in me and through me.
  • Massage/healing.  This pertains to both the giving and receiving of it.  Both can be enormous opportunities for grace and healing and peace.  I continue to practice being in sacred space when I give massage.  However, it is clear I need to find a  way to receive more massage, reverent touch, and healing.
  • Find a wonderful dream group.  I continue to be blessed with an abundance of dreams.  (Relatively few are scary, but I seem to share more of those kind with you!)  What I would love to manifest is a dream group which knows how to enter the sacred space in which dreams and insights can be gently shared in a respectful way.  There is so much richness in our dreams!

May you discover the ways in which you can deepen your connection to the Divine.  As for me?  I’m going to go paint.  Right now!!!