NOTE: Mistress Ann digs Breast Cancer awareness and makes zero apologies for featuring this non-romance book. Besides, there’s a hot dude on the cover.
Abigail is a Boston-bred Yankee now eating grits and saying “y’all” in North Central Florida. She dreamed more of being a stage actress or joining the CIA than being an author. While she still enjoys participating in community theater productions and singing karaoke, the secret-agent career was replaced by hours at her computer, writing passionate and playful contemporary romance.
When she’s not writing, she can be found wearing a corset and singing bawdy songs with Just Desserts, an a cappella musical comedy act, at places that won’t throw them out.
Excerpt from What’s Next?
I started blogging when I was diagnosed to keep my family and friends in the know – and so I didn’t have to repeat all the lovely things happening to me and my body. Here it is, with dates and times, the days and months of surgeries, hair loss, a runaway prosthetic, chemo, radiation, oral medications, bone pain, and the Bellybutton that Would Not Heal.
These pages are lifted from my blog, including comments, grammar issues, folks who posted anonymously, and when I go off-topic. Each entry is time and date stamped, so you can see what happened to me and when. It’s all true, though some names have been changed to protect the (not-so) innocent. If you had my friends, you’d understand why.
Telling the news… (2006-03-02 09:39)
Okay, so not so good news on the Sharpe home front.
I was diagnosed over the weekend with stage 1 breast cancer. Bottom line: it’s curable. And that’s really all that matters. I’m sure I’ll have questions for our growing number of cancer survivors when my next courses of action become clear.
It’s only March and I’ve been having a really bad year so far. 🙂 Worse-case scenario is I’ll be dealing with this in some form or another for the next eight months. I’m already hoping for a better 2007.
I created this account so I can stop fielding phone calls from my relatives 20 times a night. I know they are concerned, but I get tired of talking about it after a while. You know it’s bad if I get tired of talking. 🙂
Good thoughts heading my way are appreciated.
tealfroglette (2006-03-02 14:55:57)
Good thoughts and healing cell vibes. I emailed you’re watching the boys if you need, just email.
meandering (2006-03-02 16:38:03)
If there is any help I can render, just let me know. *hug*
agsharpie (2006-03-03 01:20:35)
Thanks, y’all. 🙂
loucheroo (2006-03-07 00:27:43)
*hug* positive healing thoughts being sent your way. I know that doesn’t do much in the grand scheme but…. *hug* again. Good luck!
The beginning (2006-03-02 11:12)
I suppose I should explain how this came to be:
Sunday, Feb. 12, I was staring at myself naked in the mirror, and noticed the underside of my right breast was looking flat. Thought it was weird. Poked around. Felt a lump. Didn’t think that felt right.
Thought to myself for half a second: Oh, this will go away on its own. Then I smacked myself for being stupid.
Called the GYN Monday; had an appointment Tuesday. The nurse poked around. It’s way harder to feel when I’m lying down; she couldn’t feel it at first. Set up appointments for me for a mammogram on sonogram (for Wednesday, Feb. 22) and a surgery consult the next day.
Told Aaron Tuesday night (Valentine’s Day). That was fun.
Went for the mammogram/sonogram. Radiologist looked at sonogram pictures. “Well, this just looks like a cyst.”
I’ll take cyst. Then the technician said, “There’s blood flow in there.” The radiologist said, “oh” – in that low, realization kind of tone. I said, “No, I like the cyst thing. I’m good with a cyst.” He said, “You’re going to need a surgery consult.”
Had that Thursday (Feb. 23). The surgeon poked around, too, and said he couldn’t feel anything. I sat up and had him poke. He felt it. “Friday good for you for surgery?” Let’s do it.
Had it removed Friday. Spent the day sleeping. Note to self: Deal with the sore throat after being knocked out WITHOUT EATING ICE CHIPS. I didn’t vomit, but came close. Afterwards, I remembered that from my c-sections, too.
Got the call Saturday. Cancer. Blech.
Had a radiology/oncology consult yesterday, and have another surgery consult today. The question now becomes how much more will the surgeon have to remove. If it’s significant, I’ll get the whole thing taken off. If it’s not, I won’t. Plastic surgery is most likely in my future as well, and depending on how deep the cancer is, I may be able to get by with just radiation as opposed to chemo.
So, that’s it in a nutshell.
gardenwaltz (2006-03-02 18:00:10)
good for you for not dismissing it, although i agree this is sucky. you said the year had not been so good already? let me know if you want to talk. i know our last visit was a real quickie.
agsharpie (2006-03-03 01:21:29)
I sprained my knee in late January. It’s still not fully healed. I’m just falling apart! 🙂
heathrow (2006-03-02 19:04:59)
I’m glad they dealt with it so quickly, and that you were wise enough to get into your doctor ASAP.
agsharpie (2006-03-03 01:21:51)
Sometimes I like to believe ignorance is bliss, but this isn’t one of those cases.
heathrow (2006-03-03 01:37:08)
I’m so proud of you for getting it dealt with rapidly. That’s the smartest decision I’ve seen (from anyone) in a long time. You rock. 🙂
loucheroo (2006-03-07 00:30:06)
Wow, i am really glad you took care of this so quickly. here’s hoping (if it’s not mentioned already in one of the next posts and i’m late with this) that it requires no more surgery and only a minimum of radiation.
agsharpie (2006-03-07 02:29:42)
Yeah, you’re late. Keep reading. 🙂
Back to the general surgeon (2006-03-02 20:22)
The meeting with the radiology oncologist left me with some more questions for the surgeon, so Aaron and I went back to see him today. He’s recommending a mastectomy and removing some lymph nodes in the process. That would avoid radiation, but we don’t yet know if chemo is still a possibility. It will depend on whether the cancer is “unlocked” by estrogen, and what’s going on in my lymph nodes.
I’ll hopefully be getting a second opinion within the next couple of days, and I also want to talk to a plastic surgeon to discuss reconstruction (eventually). The doc said I’d be home the same day as the surgery and driving my car the next day, then playing tennis in three weeks (but doc! I’ve never played tennis before! 🙂
fizzgig_bites (2006-03-03 01:48:11)
*hug* Stay strong and we are here for you.
heathrow (2006-03-03 01:57:17)
You are kicking ass. 🙂
cardinalximinez (2006-03-03 14:01:46)
meandering (2006-03-03 17:46:17)
So the surgery will teach you to play tennis? Excellent! *hug* It does indeed seem like you are kicking ass.
Got my second opinion scheduled (2006-03-03 11:03)
My second opinion will be Monday at 10:20. I think Aaron and I are both hoping for the next surgery by Wednesday. Then if I recall correctly, I get to wait six weeks to heal before starting the next parts.
Did I mention we just bought a new laptop for me? I’m very excited. We should have it Monday also. It’s a Dell Inspiron 6000.
I looked at my insurance’s list of physicians to find a female surgeon, and there aren’t any. I wonder why. Is it because most women don’t wish to do general surgery, or do they not like the deals my health insurance offers them? I think that’s interesting.
Added note: I’ll also be having a consult with a plastic surgeon (a woman) on Monday. I won’t have that done anytime soon, but I’m very curious about the process.
gardenwaltz (2006-03-03 16:34:50)
i read an interesting article about why females do not tend to become surgeons, unfortunately i cannot remember where so you will have to rely on my vague memory. there is a part which is socio-cultural and related to the counter pulls on women towards other fields (pediatrics, ob/gyn). however, it is also related to the real or perceived difference in male/female spatial skills. i won’t venture an opinion on that one, but i can tell you that i would not be a good person to identify bits and relocate them correctly. hurray for the laptop.
fizzgig_bites (2006-03-03 16:45:29)
I am spatially gifted and female. Blood doesn’t freak me out. I even once wanted to be a doctor or vet. Go figure…
cardinalximinez (2006-03-03 17:00:59)
But didn’t the same doctor that told you that tell you that you were the exception?
fizzgig_bites (2006-03-03 17:12:30)
I was an exception to everyone. However, he did say that probably because my parents were mechanics, my mother a feminist, my father the physicist, and math pushy I fared better than most woman.
cardinalximinez (2006-03-03 16:59:18)
*hugs* That is an interesting question, but there are a lot of variables: your insurance, geography, pay rates and cost of living, and the field in general…
meandering (2006-03-03 18:02:50)
Yay for laptop goodness! Play WoW with the VAXers! I think the female surgeon thing may be related to how competitive and agressive I imagine the field of surgery to be.
agsharpie (2006-03-04 18:16:18)
I have not, and will not ever, play computer games. Unless you count spider solitaire and minesweeper. 🙂 Too many years of working at an arcade. And are you saying women can’t be aggressive or competitive? Huh? Huh?? Are you? 😛
meandering (2006-03-04 18:31:54)
No. I’m just saying that the (imagined) field of contest and strife and stress that surgeons are in is more of a turn off for women than men. I may be wrong. 😉
tealfroglette (2006-03-03 18:52:32)
I had a female surgeon. Dr. Shannon Gilmore. She is very learned, very accomplished, and the small line of internal stiches were fantastic. She used a new at the time glue to close the flap and there is just a seam, no stiches visible. Very strange your insurance doesn’t offer that possibility. I hope you get an excellent surgeon and make sure to ask what kind of material they are using for the stiches and the procedure. Get another if they are not up to par!
(2006-03-03 22:11:51) Female Surgeon
A friend had surgery by Tina Lam. She’s very active with breast cancer campaigns. She has a private practice office behind Red Lobster and her surgeries are done at NFRMC. She takes BC/BS insurance and she might be a provider for you.
agsharpie (2006-03-04 18:17:08) Re: Female Surgeon
Dr. Lamn is not covered by my insurance, but I found a woman who was! What do you know about Suzanne Law? (And you can always put your name in the post if you don’t have an LJ account. Silly Christine… 🙂
wedash (2006-03-04 03:03:46)
Am glad you are getting a second opinion, I did too and it made me feel better. When I had my mascectomy I had the plastic surgery at the same time. They put a bag in my breast and slowly inflated the skin over time, making room for the eventual implant. It saved me one trip to the hospital…and I had several. I hope you avoid chemo, but it wasn’t as bad for me as some of the stories you hear. We’ll talk more about that when you know for sure what’s going to happen. I have never forgotten that you sent me something in the hospital when I was sick…it was very touching considering we’d only kept in touch a little at best. I know you will pull through this with flying colors and I hope I can see you when I’m in Gainesville.
agsharpie (2006-03-04 18:19:57)
I hate being in the hospital so I try to make the stay of others nicer. 🙂 My doctor has told me flat out he will not be part of plastic surgery at the same time, but he will support me if I go that route with another doctor. I’ll see what everyone else has to say. Glad to hear chemo wasn’t that bad. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.