Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Next Specialist

Here I am, thinking 'the next specialist' is going to come up with The Answers:

After over a month of specialized treatment for the swelling in my right thigh, AND most recently, severe pain, AND loss of flexibility, I'm being sent to a new specialist, a sarcoma oncologist. But you may say, "What's this about Michelle's LEG?! I thought the cancer was in her tummy?!"

Okay, the lump in my thigh was surgically removed in May and June of last year. The lump was a Sarcoma soft tissue tumor. Radiation to two-thirds of my thigh was ordered to make sure the surrounding area was cancer-free.

BUT, before the 30-radiation treatments could begin, I complained about abdominal discomforts. (Remembering that my mother died from ovarian cancer, I got my abdominal/pelvic area checked. Right! This resulted in the discovery of a new cancer: Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma (PPC) and the beginning of chemotherapy. Between July and December, 2008, I received chemotherapy (aka, "Chemo #1) RESULT: Cancer Free!

Radiation on my leg then took place in January and February, 2009. Healing of the normal, radiation burned skin, seemed normal.

In late May, 2009, after suspecting that my abdominal/pelvic area was not normal, blood work and CT scan revealed the PPC abdominal cancer returned. I received Chemo #2 (6 infusions between June and July, 2009) and later, Chemo #3, (beginning July 18th, the last day during my recent '4-day visit' to the hospital)

Okay, Okay! What about this pain in the leg??
When the radiologist said the slight swelling in my thigh was lymphedema, in late June, I again went running for a specialist to deal with the chronic condition in which the "lymph vessels are unable to transport lymph fluid back into the accumulates, resulting in swelling and thickening of the skin. This build-up of protein-rich lymph fluid is known as lymphedema. most often develops in one arm or leg...but may also occur in the hands or feet, and even in the chest, back, neck, face, abdomen, and genitals." (Juzo pamphlet, 2004:

So after 10 office treatments and multiple, home self-treatments for the lymphedema in my leg, the symptoms are worst. In addition to the swelling, I have been suffering most recently, with severe pain, AND loss of flexibility in my right leg. WHEEEEE!!

Two days ago the lymphedema specialist called a sarcoma oncologist specialist. I will meet my newest specialist on Tuesday and his task is to figure out what's causing the latest symptoms in my leg and to monitor me for sarcoma related issues.

What could possibly be next, you may think?

Well..., I'll have my third infusion of Chemo #3 for the PPC this Wednesday afternoon with Bruce and Marlene, as my ChemoBuddies for the day.

Now, I'm off to go do some exercises in a pool--highly recommended for The Leg and The Endorphins!

p.s. I have come to realize, that the specialists AND I are 'detectives' searching for The Answers. We have to do this together--I, too, am a Specialist!

Note: See Blog, "The Highs and Lows of Leg Pain," September 19, 2009

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