Sunday, January 10, 2010

Agua Caliente

What a surprise was in store for me when the luscious silver fox in my life shared a little park here in town that I didn't know existed!

Agua Caliente Park - a 101-acre aquatic/riparian habitat in the Tucson high desert! Lush and green, an oasis!

An 87 degree hot
spring has served as a prime attraction far back into history.

A number of ponds are linked together, supporting diverse wildlife and fish populations. And ducks!!

Lots and lots of
ducks, eager to take any handouts from visitors, who of course pay no attention to the 'do not feed the ducks' signs everywhere!

The palm trees took me o
n a sentimental journey back to the Islands - they are obviously very content in this little corner of paradise!

The spring was the site
of an army camp following the Gadsden Purchase in the mid 1800s. The "Agua Caliente Rancho" was established by James Fuller in 1875, running cattle and growing fruit trees.

In 1881, Fuller's Hot Springs was advertised as a medicinal and recreational destination. The proper
ty changed hands a number of times thru 1959, when an R&D company had plans to build a $15M, 300-home development, which thankfully never came to pass!

In 1984, local businessma
n Roy Drachman donated money toward the purchase of Agua Caliente, enabling Pima County to proceed with the acquisition of the site, and the Park opened in January 1985.

This is definitely a stop worth making, and I'll certainly go back for the peace and tranquility it offers!!

first round

Interesting week - the first round with assorted doctors as I assess my options on this breast cancer thing.

Wednesday I had an appointment with a 'medical oncologist' - he was supposed to talk with me about chemo. I didn't like him before I even met him - not a good start. I was escorted to his very elegant office - one wall was covered with his various diplomas and certificates and awards and credentials. Maybe that works for some people, but it just irritates me.

My surgeon had sent me to him, loaded down with all the test results and x-rays and films. Without even making the pretense of reviewing them, he said we didn't have enough information to be discussing chemo options - that I needed to have more tests; another blood test (to look for cancer markers) and a PET scan, a full body scan.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a scanning technique used in conjunction with small amounts of radiolabeled compounds to visualize anatomy. ( )

I would have thought that was my surgeon's call, but what do I know.

I walked out of his office with a bad taste in my mouth - fixed it with chocolate!!

Thursday I visited a 'radiation oncologist'. This gal impressed me a lot and improved my outlook considerably. She was very informative, very reassuring and very kind. She had spoken with my surgeon, and with the clown from the previous day, and looked at my x-rays with me. She told me that, as a general rule, though each patient is of course unique, that a lumpectomy requires radiation, and that a radical mastectomy perhaps does not. If radiation is required, it would be every work day for 5 or 6 weeks.

I told her of my concerns about radiation, based on what I went thru with Daddy when he had melanoma metastasized into his lymph system. He had 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his chest and back. They were so bad that Mama, a nurse, couldn't bear to treat them.

She assured me that the technology has improved dramatically in the 18 years since Daddy suffered so. Plus the fact that melanoma is very difficult to treat with radiation, hence requiring considerably higher doses. If I had to have radiation, the usual side effects are fatigue and perhaps some discoloration of the skin where treated. There can be swelling in the arm where lymph nodes are removed, but not always - I would just need to remember not to have blood pressure taken on that side!! Not so scary!!

I walked out of that appointment with a much better attitude.

Friday was the MRI, looking for any bad guys the x-rays and ultrasound might have missed.
MRI, short for magnetic resonance imaging is the use of nuclear magnetic resonance to produce images of the molecules that make up a substance, especially the soft tissues of the human body. Magnetic resonance imaging is used in medicine to diagnose disorders of body structures that do not show up well on x-rays. That was not a pleasant experience.

For pictures of boobs, the patient, me, lays belly down on the table, with the breasts hanging, gravity controlled, down into appropriately spaced holes. Uncomfortable as hell! Especially for someone like me who hasn't lain on my belly for 35 years because of my busted up knees and ankle! Plus the requisite 'hold still' command, and 'breathe softly', for 25 minutes!!!
And as those who have experienced an MRI knows, the noises the bloody machine makes are enough to drive anyone mad!

Now it's a wait and see period again - I was scheduled to see the surgeon again on Monday, but the MRI results won't be available until Wednesday, so I changed the appointment to Thursday.

So I'm going to just try to ignore it all for the next few days and enjoy winter in sunny southern Arizona, while the rest of the nation shivers!

The Animal Rescue Site
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