In many Victorian novels, a woman is described as having a "long upper lip" (or sometimes a short one, but usually long). I was never too sure how to picture that. Is that a wide mouth? Then why not describe it as a wide mouth?
I recently found the answer, I don't remember where, but here it is. That central groove from the nose to the upper lip is called the philtrim, and it's the philtrim that's described as long or short. So a woman with a "long upper lip" doesn't have a long lip at all - it's that she has more distance between her nose and mouth, and that was once considered more aristocratic (a long face).
I'm almost finished with the radiation. The last should be May 8th, I think. I say "I think" because they keep changing things on me.
Back when the plan was based on the needle biopsy lab results, I was told I'd have a lumpectomy, four rounds of chemotherapy, then 33 sessions of radiation, and then an anti-estrogen for a few years. After the lumpectomy, after someone (oh, yeah, that was me) thought to check the lab results on the excised tumor and it was discovered the report was drastically different (I still think they screwed up and mixed up my needle biopsy with someone else, because it's so very different), I was told when starting chemo that I'd have six rounds instead of four. That grew to eight.
When I started radiation, I was told I'd have 28 sessions of whole breast, and 5 "boost" sessions at the end, which is electron (I think) radiation focused on the tumor bed, for a total of 33. Last Tuesday was session number 24.
My regular radiation oncologist was on vacation last Tuesday, so I saw a different doctor, and he was concerned because my skin was peeling in the crease under the breast, so he decided my skin needed a break, so the next day we'd start the boost, and then finish the "last two whole breast sessions" at the end. I pointed out that there would actually be four more whole after the five boost, and he said there'd be seven boost, not five. My head is spinning. I wish they'd stop changing things on me.
Another reason this bothers me is that everything I've read cautions that the whole breast radiation must not skip any sessions, since it must be tightly consecutive to be accumulative (I guess weekends don't count, eh?). And there was one Monday we had to skip because the machine was down. So, uh, will those last two be wasted effort?
I hope the regular guy is back by next Tuesday. I'll have the fifth boost that day, and maybe he'll say to go back to five?
Everybody says that the radiation doesn't hurt. That's true. The machine buzzes for a few seconds, and you feel nothing. Everything else I read said there may be some skin problems, like a bad sunburn. Sometimes the skin gets really bad, like blisters, weeping, and yuck.
I've got a lot of red. The worst part is in the crease under the breast. That got fiery red, then grey, then started to peel (but no blisters). That's why the substitute doc decided to "take a break" and do the boosts now. Where it peeled it's new pink skin, and it's not at all painful. None of the skin is painful.
But everywhere I've read has said the internal breast shouldn't hurt. Some of the scar tissue in there might get hard and ache, stuff like that. But wow! I HURT!
I mention the pain in the breast to the doctor every Tuesday, and he just passes it off. Like he thinks I'm hysterical or overreacting. On the outer side, toward the underarm, it feels like someone has grabbed a handful of breast inside and is squeezing and twisting it. Not all the time. Randomly, a few times a day, for like 20 seconds, which is long enough, believe me! On the inner side, near the sternum, that's like bee stings inside there. Three times in the past five days it's felt like someone was stabbing me over and over with an ice pick. Twice I was driving home from a session, on the Garden State Parkway at the time, and had to pull over until it stopped. I hiss and ouch ouch ouch with every stab.
I can't wait to stop beating myself up