Friday, July 29, 2011

Celebration Day

My last nuking and not only did I get a ride, but in a Mercedes wit the top down.

I gave the chocolates to the team, along with a note in French thanking them for making a difficult time less difficult. It was true, there smiles, their short conversations, did make from nice memories. In a way I'll miss them, as one would miss people who come into your life for a short, intense time.

FH said to be sure and stop by when I have my controls.

When I stopped at the bank, I told my favourite teller, the one who has her nails done in exotic designs, that it was a Jour de Celebration and why. She immediately found a present, a black bag, with a silver pocketbook holder to attach to tables.

Then my driver, who was a friend of a friend really, but with a lovely sense of humour to a point we giggle coming and going, had a token gift for me.

It's over...27 nukings, six appointments with the radiologist. I get these precocious hours back to do other things.

The cancer?

Well just in case, I start with the golden globules, the pills I'm to take daily for five years? Why? The cost and once again I'm so grateful for the Swiss system.

Adding up my costs for all the surgeries,t h bills, the tests and the exams, they are so tiny in comparison what I would have been charged in the US.

Truly a celebration day.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good news

I met with the doctor about the Thermographie IN ENGLISH!

Among other things he gave me a copy of them. All but my right breast is shown in colours resembling the earth shot from space. My right breast adds hot lava to the picture.

"Not to worry," he says. "That is consistent with the radiotherapie. However, it gives us a good baseline when we redo it in the next six months and in the future.

This doctor was probably in his sixties, grey haired with a smile that went all the way from his chin into his hairline. He recommended certain diet and anti-cancer books. Then he said, "I see you are a writer." We talked about my books.

His family is multi-lingual: English, French, Italian.

I'm relieved that things are okay now and we've a plan to make sure they are okay in the future.


1, ein, uno, une, one nuking to go.

But what will I do in place of Needed Nuke Naps?

Adjust, baby adjust.

Monday, July 25, 2011

3 nukings to go

And instrumental music was playing during my treatment today.

Afterwards I met with the radiologist for the last time until November. When I told him about the hotspots on the thermographie, he stated that it was most likely the radiated area. Immediately he picked up his pencil and started drawing cells that have been zapped and giving me a talk on DNA especially when the radiation only hits half the cell and the other lives. As he explained it, the other half is wounded and even if it splits its children aren't able to live long enough to do much damage.

I do not have a problem tearing these cancer families apart.

It was part of the last rendez-vous to explain reconstruction possibilities and once again I pointed out that the scar is a memory much like my wrinkles, part of the experience of my life. If they'd taken my breast I might feel differently--or not.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A bit bizzarre

I saw the doctor today at Hug as she gave me the prescription for the anti-cancer medicine, which I will take.

I did my usual questions and she assured me that it was approved by agencies in France, Switzerland etc. not relying only on the U.S. studies. She may think I'm crazy to have no faith in anything from the FDA.

I told her about the thermographie and she'd never heard of it. I'm not sure if it is a language problem or not. I see the thermographer.

Meanwhile my right breast was zapped concentratedly over the scar. Another five of those.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Artistic doctors/a bit scarey

The titles are not the same.

My radiologist drew a lovely rectangle on my breast for the last six treatments directly over the scar. Today, FH, my favourite technicians painted it even more. He revealed he is indeed a painter and we talked about his work.

Now the scarey part. Having had long conversations with a former boyfriend, now a doctor and not being sold on Tamoxifin to control future growth I went to my regular gynie. He uses both conventional and non conventional medicines. He agreed with some of what my former boyfriend said, but also touted the benefits of using the Tamoxifin just in case, a try it for a while approach.

He also suggested he do a thermograph of my breasts to make sure nothing else much was there. The doctor who does them from Toulouse who knows where I can play golf cheap did it. There was some heat showing, which is not good. It does mean its cancer, but it means it needs to be watched. Shit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A red rectangle

The red wheel barrow by William Carlos Williams

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

My red haiku
The doctor's red pen
draws a rectangle with care
covering the scar

No, he's not a pervert, it is for a change of location for my last nukings. I can see the end.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting As in health

Friday I had several medical tests beginning at 8:15 which meant catching a bus no later than 7:20. Yuck.

The tests, although ordered by the hospital, were at L’Imagerie, the same place that they discovered the cancer.

I have the type A personality that feels I need to get an A in medical tests the same way I did in school.

The first exam was a lung X-Ray. The young woman was friendly as she put me in a position against a white panel. I passed Lung101. An A in clean lungs.

Then came the sonar. Dr. B. was a woman in her 40s, with thick black hair. She greased me and ran her sonar stick telling me to breath deeply.

“Why?” I asked, not that I was going to refuse.

“It pushes certain organs down so I can see them,” she replied.

I was able to see my organs on her monitor, but for the life of me all it looked like was a pen and ink drawing of waves. However she gave me an A in clean organs.

My bones were then scanned. Only a B+ or A-…Two little spots of osteoporosis one on my hip and one in the lumbar area just like two years ago.

Finally they did another scan and I have no idea what for. They strapped me to the table and I imagined waterboarding. Instead for 40 minutes this machine examined something. I fell asleep. Afterwards the doctor said, I had no problems. Another A.

Having to kill time before getting nuked it seemed only sensible to go to the Laughing Tea pot in the Vieille Ville, drink a pot of the tea of the month that contained sunflower petals and eat a scone. I can get an A in scone eating too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

to Tamoxifin or not to tamoxifin

The accent was thick and then he switched to English. Then I recognized that it was my gynie, who had just received my dossier from HUG. I had gone through my internist not him, not for any other reason than I want 90 percent of my records with my internist.

My gynie had a couple of concerns…that he had upset me and that he couldn’t have helped me though this.

I was about to make an appointment with him any way because he practices both regular medicine but he also considers nutrition and other issues and I’ve lots of questions on Tamoxifin, which I am supposed to take for the next five years.

Having been anti HRT I’m not sure I want to mess up my body with another medication. This was emphasized when I was Skyping with an old boyfriend, now a doctor in Florida who is anti this type of treatment. Although he has not seen my files he does know no lymph nodes were involved.

I admit I have no faith in any medicine approved by the FDA in the last 15 years. There have been too many fudged tests. And then the pharmaceutical companies pay for those studies. An employee at ISO once said they would give ISO 9000 approval to led life jackets if the jackets met the criteria set by the manufacturer.

Long gone are the days when thalomide was kept out of the American marketplace by the FDA. And I know of all those young women who developed cervical cancer because their mothers when they were in danger of having a miscarriage had been given a certain medicine.

If Dr. J thinks this is the best treatment, I will go with it. If not, I won’t.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The nuking procedure

The entrance to be nuked.It is a bit apart from the main hospital.

There's always water and bread in the waiting room.

I can't always get the dressing room with the penguin on the door. The cardinal is pretty too.

The table has numbers on it which correspond to numbers on your body for alignment. My arms are over my head in the red thingies The big machine in the back moves around to one side, buzzes for between 14-17 seconds. When you look at it from the table is is like a donut with red blinking light. I do think of donuts then of blueberry muffins and finally bagels. They lower the table and I'm done. As I've said the whole procedure lasts about one song, bud sadly the last few "nukings" the music has been off or too low to hear.

Monday, July 11, 2011

11 to go

I took the bus today, but tomorrow I have my personal transport assistant as one of my friends calls herself. It is so much quicker and easier to be driven and I really appreciate the lovely people who have volunteered.

I don't ask, but I don't say no either.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

14 nukings to go

Two more down, 14 to go.

The team has changed, because the first team is on a three week holiday. They will be back before I’m finished. I miss the cute chubby grey-haired man who sneaks out for a smoke and the young kid with the crew cut who can’t stop smiling.

The first day the song is Bob Marley. The second day the music is too low to identify.
I see the doctor for the weekly measurement. I’ve lost a half centimetre in both arms. He is pleased and surprised that there is no “bronzage” reddening of the skin. He asks if my feather earrings are real feathers. I tell him I didn’t ask the provenance. He is extra smiley. I wonder if it is because I thank him in English, French, German and Arabic. Or maybe because he sees so many cases more serious than mine. I do still have the same sensation that I did in school. I have to pass the test.

After I leave the clinic on Monday I’m famished and energetic. I had planned an apple or yoghurt supper, but instead get off the bus near our favourite Japanese restaurant named after my long-gone dog Mikado. At 5 17:00 the place is almost empty, but there is still a good selection. I had planned to have only maki, but the tempora shrimp just hops onto my plate.

An old, old woman, stick-thin and a walker comes in. She is wearing nicely creased baby blue trousers and a perfectly ironed white blouse. A younger woman is with her—her daughter? The younger woman explains what each thing is and the older woman is excited about trying different things. “They are all good,” I tell her as I leave.

F. drives me on Tuesday and it is a good thing. The round trip, including a stop at the post takes less than an hour. Fatigue settled in. I got into my pjs and get into bed at 6 supposedly to read. I woke 15 hours later.

The only way I knew that the cat slept me was she left enough fur to prove her presence.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Three non nuke days in a row

I have three no nukes days ahead of me. I decided this would be a good time to get my hair cut and act like a human being that wasn't being nuked four times a week. Normalcy is getting my hair cut. My hairdresser also uses his salon as a gallery. This is the exhibition after a vernisage by an art school that were doing collages based on Klimt's work.

Changing Flags on the Quai Mont Blanc. All kinds of flags fly depending on events, but I never thought about how they were changed. Two men come along with a basket with the new flags, pull up the flagpoles straight, switch the flags, then bend the poles back over the water.

Who says the Swiss don't have a sense of humour? Just look at their new disposal units for plastic bottles?

And as a final treat I decided to eat at Little India, the best Indian restaurant I've found in Geneva if I don't include home cooked meals at my Indian friends. However half way through the meal, exhaustion hit. I did finish every bite made it home, staggered into bed where I slept as if my eyes were closed with super glue.