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Dr. McAndrew has long, shiny hair that sways past her bottom, and the afternoon that my pal, Iva and I strode into her office after our long wait, she was wearing a tight, short red suit and matching crimson lipstick. She smiled and laughed easily, and spoke warmly about Dr. Blechman. I’m not sure what I expected, but was pleased to meet a doll after my own heart. After the pleasantries, we got down to beeswax.

Right away, she told me that since the cancer hadn’t spread beyond my stricken mammary, chemo wouldn’t be beneficial, offering only a tiny one percent chance of possible assistance. Yippee! Even though I had decided against it, my sigh of relief could be heard all over swank Beverly Hills. As I expected, she did recommend radiation, and I hoped I’d be a candidate for the latest experimental technology, Brachytherapy (also called internal radiation).

Instead of using beams from outside the body, radioactive substances are placed directly into the breast tissue in several weensy catheters. Unfortunately, my titties were too small for this procedure to work, (Drat!) so we went over some potential side effects of the radiation treatment, which included tiredness and possible burning of the radiated area. The sad news was that as well as murdering any leftover cancer cells, the rays also knocked flat zillions of healthy cells, which could take a long time (if ever) to recover.

Philomena had obviously studied my growing medical chart and spread the sheets out on the desk so we could examine the many diagrams together. She pointed out a few small places of concern in my tissues. Apparently, my small breasts are extremely dense, making it difficult to tell exactly what’s going on. Because of this and my previous history, she suggested that I have mammograms, ultrasounds and MRI’s every six months for at least five years. We also discussed whether I should take Tamoxifen, but since she knew I was a longtime patient of Dr. B’s, and a proponent of natural healing (whenever possible) she didn’t insist on this regimen, saying that if a problem came up in the future (Buddha forbid), I could rethink my position.

While my surgeries healed, I set about finding somewhere local to go for my daily radiation treatments. While I had intensely researched the vagaries of chemo and Tamoxifen, I hadn’t overly scoured the Internet about radiation. I didn’t want to read horror stories about something I had already made up my mind to do. I would find out for myself soon enough. The closest treatment center I could locate was in Santa Monica, about 20 minutes away, and the radiology doctor was another capable woman, Dr. Lisa Chaiken.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 50 - September 2747
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