Tuesday, October 26, 2010

questions, always more questions

My evening entertainment -

The hummers are a diversion from articles that makes me question whether or not I should consider reconstructive surgery -

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California GOP Senate challenger Carly Fiorina was admitted to a hospital Tuesday to be treated for an infection associated with her reconstructive surgery after breast cancer.

The former Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive is being treated with antibiotics, Deborah Bowker, the campaign's chief of staff, said in a statement.

. . . . .

The campaign did not say which hospital Fiorina was being treated; she had undergone surgery for her breast cancer at Stanford Hospital.

. . . . .

Fiorina, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009 before she formally announced her run for Boxer's seat. She completed chemotherapy and radiation treatments a year ago and had reconstructive surgery in July after having a double mastectomy.

The campaign did not release any more information about her condition.

It's hard to know why Fiorina would suffer an infection now without knowing how her reconstruction was done, said Dr. Neal Topham, a plastic surgeon at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

One common method involves several steps, using tissue expanders to stretch skin for several months while chemotherapy and radiation are given. Once those treatments end, permanent implants can be placed.

"Radiation is the culprit here," because it often damages tissue and impairs healing, and 7 to 20 percent of patients suffer an infection, Topham said.

It's also common to have more minor, followup cosmetic procedures after implants heal, and those can lead to infection.

7 to 20 percent of patients? That's a pretty high percentage. And as we've discovered from the damned lymphedema, I don't seem to fair well on wagering against the odds. One of my girlfriends had to have several surgeries following her reconstruction due to various problems. Not encouraging!

But first I get to have a different kind of surgery. I mean it's only been 8 months since the last one, right? I'm scheduled to go on the table two weeks from today to get a knee replaced. My
'good knee'! I've walked so funny because of my mangled left knee and crushed right ankle from that car accident in the last century that my undamaged right knee has said 'screw you - I've had it!' Thankfully, it waited until I was done with chemo before throwing in the towel!

Always something!

Yesterday, I again went for the fitting of my 'custom made' compression sleeve - and it still doesn't fit. My therapist, Lori, called me 'amazing' - apparently not everyone does the exercises and compression bandaging as consistently or as well as I have.

What can I say - my friends know that when I decided to do something, I don't do it half-way. So my arm has decreased in size by another couple centimeters (about a half inch), and that's enough to make the sleeve too loose. And the sleeve maker won't re-do it another time, nor will insurance pay for another sleeve for another 5 months (I can have a new one every 6 months).

So...I'm going to do what I've been doing for the last couple weeks - I'm wearing both temporary sleeves at the same time (the one ol' road-kill prescribed that was the wrong size, plus the one Lori gave me as a stop-gap until the custom-fit sleeve arrived), layered. I'll keep the big one for the times when the arm might be cranky and extra swollen.

Meanwhile, the weather has finally broken - days are gorgeou
s, in the 70s and 80s, and nights are cool!

Wonderful time of year in southern Arizona. Sunsets and flowers and little bi
rdies to entertain us!

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