About Bonnie Doran

I'm a writer. My heart is in science fiction, but I sold sixty-seven devotions before I wrote novels. My debut novel, a science thriller entitled Dark Biology, was published with Harbourlight, an imprint of Pelican Book Group. I'm also a cancer survivor, diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2014. I am currently working on a devotional book for cancer survivors. When I'm not writing, I enjoy reading, old sci-fi movies, cooking, Sudoku puzzles, Scrabble, and hanging out with writers and sci-fi fans. I have a reputation for telling groan-producing puns. I've been married 35 years to John, an electrical engineer and Mad Scientist who plays with lasers for a living. We are owned by two Siamese cats.

Nipple Tattooing

Do you want to hide scars or create the illusion of natural nipples without surgery? Try nipple tattooing.

breast cancer - tattoos

Living Beyond Breast Cancer expert Michael Ham, a registered nurse and medical tattoo artist at Penn Medicine and the Sauler Institute of Tattooing, answered a number of questions posed to him through the LBBC website throughout November. Here are some of his responses.

Although getting a tattoo after lymphedema is usually safe, you should discuss it first with a physician before getting a tattoo on the arm in which lymph nodes were removed.

If you are allergic to red tattoo ink, other pigments are available. If in doubt, ask for samples of the ink so that you can be tested by your allergist.

The color of a nipple tattoo will initially fade in the first two weeks as the tattoo is healing. A tattoo should last a lifetime. However, since the artist is working with skin that has been compromised (scarred/moved/stretched/had radiation), everyone responds differently over time. If your tattoo does fade, you can have it touched up.

At the Sauler Institute, we charge out-of-pocket for the procedure but will provide a receipt and and reimbursement form to submit to your insurance company.

With areola tattooing, minor stretching or shrinking of the skin will not affect the tattoo. However, weight gain or loss may affect it depending on how quickly and how much your weight changes. The tattoo can be touched up if any changes are noticed over time.

With any procedure that penetrates the skin surface, infection is a risk. However, we clean the area with alcohol before tattooing and cover it with a clear bandage immediately afterward. The bandage stays on for three days to prevent any bacteria from coming into contact with the healing tattoo. The artist uses sterilized, single-use needles and top quality inks.

We generally book a bilateral aerola and nipple tattooing session for 90 minutes and a unilaterial tattooing for 60-90 minutes.

Healing time is generally one to two weeks with the majority of the healing in the first three days. You should be able to resume normal activities right away with a few restrictions: no vigorous exercise for the first 24 hours and no soaking in any bathtubs, swimming pools or hot tubs for at least seven days.

Artists can apply a tattoo as early as six to eight weeks after reconstruction. You must be cleared by your plastic surgeon for the procedure. Your incisions have to be healed, with no broken skin or signs of irritation.

And it’s never too late to get a tattoo. Patients can have tattoos performed years after their reconstruction.

Pancreatic Cancer: Types of Treatment

Although pancreatic cancer is a difficult one, there are treatment options:

Pancreatic cancer

If the cancer is detected early, surgery can remove all or part of the pancreas depending on the tumor’s size and location. Laparoscopy of the abdomen can determine if cancer has spread. If it has, surgery is generally not recommended.

For operable cancers located in the head of the pancreas, the doctor may perform a Whipple procedure which removes the head and part of the small intestine.

If the cancer is located in the tail of the pancreas, the surgeon will remove the tail and body of the pancreas as well as the spleen.

If the cancer has spread throughout the pancreas, it will require removal of the entire pancreas, part of the small intestine, a portion of the stomach, the common bile duct, the gallbladder, and the spleen.

There are a number of radiation therapies available. Traditional radiation is the most common. Others such as Cyberknife or Proton Beam Therapy may not be appropriate for every person.

Chemotherapy is also used to treat pancreatic cancer. First-line chemotherapy is the first drug used. If it proves to be ineffective, a second drug may be tried. Off-label use refers to treatment by a drug not specifically FDA approved for pancreatic cancer but which research shows may work.

Targeted therapy takes into account the cancer’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment to block the growth and spread of cancer cells.

Other options include immunotherapy and clinical trials.


World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day

Pancreatic cancer

In honor of this date (November 15), I’d like to share some information about the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing more people than breast cancer. It’s projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths by 2020.

Only nine percent of people with pancreatic cancer will live five years beyond diagnosis. In 2018, more than 55,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease and an estimated 44,000 people will die.

Because more people are getting imaging tests such as CT scans, benign and pre-cancerous growths are being found more often. However, most patients are diagnosed when the disease has spread outside of the pancreas and surgery is no longer an option. The chances of survival increase tenfold if a patient is diagnosed in time for surgery.

Several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer: family history of the disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, smoking, obesity, race, age, and diet.

Common symptoms include abdominal or mid-back pain, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, and new-onset diabetes. Often these symptoms are vague and attributed to other conditions.

For more information, visit the website of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, http://www.pancan.org.