Today Todd and I visited the radiation oncology department at the University of Colorado Hospital. We met the radiation oncologist, her resident (cute!), and a med student who mostly stood in the background. The two doctors got to take my history and examine me, but the med student only got to watch. Maybe students never get to do an exam? Or maybe there wasn’t enough time? At this point, I don’t care—so many doctors have examined me in front of my husband that it seems normal.

After that, I had a CT and four tiny black tattoos so the radiation technicians could decide exactly where the radiation beams should go. The doctor came in and pasted metal strips around my right breast; the laser can get through fabric but not metal. One of the techs showed me the picture, and I said, “Amazon!” It was impressive.

I will be having 6 weeks of radiation to the right breast around the incision, to part of the area where lymph nodes were removed under my right arm, and to my chest below the collarbone. Radiation is “local” therapy designed to destroy any remaining cancer cells, as opposed to the “systemic” therapy (chemo).

Next time I won’t be wearing a skirt and sandals. It was cold in that room.

Now I have 4 tattoos, 4 incisions of varying lengths, and one thick bruise the size of an egg in my right breast (no drain for lumpectomies, I guess, though I had a drain for the lymphectomy). My right arm is still pretty tight, but I’ve started physical therapy, and the exercises seem to help.

I wanted to show you the ON-Q Painbuster that was installed during surgery. I wore it for 6 days. See the length of tubing by the measuring tape? About 8–10 inches of that was inside my body. It functions like a drip line; the black areas dripped anesthetic into my right side.

breast cancer triple negative

Todd had to pull it out. That was probably one of the more disgusting experiences of his life. It didn’t hurt me, but I bet it made him a little queasy.


Leave A Comment

  1. Barbara July 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm - Reply

    Whoa! Can’t be fun, but glad to see your humor and Todd’s stamina intact!

  2. Karen Hemmerle July 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    I’m so happy that things are going so well! Thanks for loaning me Todd when I needed a ride home from my little jaunt in the hospital.

  3. Beth Partin July 3, 2012 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Karen, you’re welcome. I’m glad about your news.

    Barbara, no, it wasn’t that fun.

  4. saintfacetious July 3, 2012 at 9:50 pm - Reply

    That sucks, Beth. It’s good you’ve got someone at your side helping yout through this.

  5. Beth Partin July 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm - Reply

    Yeah, Todd has been wonderful. I don’t think radiation will be that bad. I think the biggest pain will be getting there 5 days a week for a 20-minute appointment.

  6. Deborah J. Byrne July 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Well, Beth, it’s difficult to even read about what you’ve been dealing with. I’m glad that your physical therapy is helping, that Todd is so great, and I surely wish you the best through the radiation treatments and then… going forward.

  7. Beth Partin July 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Deborah. I haven’t forgotten that email you sent me, either.