Update.. check out this post and this post from Smart Mouth Broad. She works for a breast surgeon and it was her wise advice that sent me off to find the best breast imaging on Oahu.
Part Three. Here are parts one and two if you want the whole story. Also, the featured post under the sunset has been updated....
As a general rule of thumb, I’d have to say that if and when your doctor calls you up personally to tell you the results of an ultrasound on a suspicious breast lump, and if that doctor says that she wants you to come to her office to explain the results to you in person, and if on top of that it is Sunday and her office is closed and she is there by herself doing paperwork so she asks you to knock on her back/private entrance to her office….
You get where I’m going with this, right?
Let’s just say I knew the news wouldn’t be good.
When I arrived at my doctor’s office, she grabbed a box of tissue and set it by me. Also not a great sign.
As she explained the radiologist’s report, I got that ache in the chest you get just before you start balling your eyes out. Which wasn’t good at all. I had questions to ask and being all choked up made it difficult to get my words out.
She was patient with me. And dead on honest at the same time.
I had a couple of options. I could get a needle biopsy or a core needle biopsy to confirm the radiologist’s suspicions. Then if his suspicions were correct I could go in for surgery. Or I could go straight to surgery and a lumpectomy and have the entire thing biopsied.
My doctor recommended the last option. Radiologists have a scale for rating a lump’s possibility for malignancy. The scale is 0-6. Zero means definitely benign and six means diagnosed and definite cancer. My lump earned a five. My gynecologist showed me the film. The lump looked a little like tooth, with roots and all. She explained how those roots were what made it highly suspicious, along with its odd shape and its inability to move freely when palpated. Fibroids and cysts are more or less the opposite of all that.
Fast forward a couple weeks later and I am post surgery and in my surgeon’s office discussing the lump biopsy report. My breast cancer had started in a milk duct, and had burst from the milk duct. Its size was between one and two centimeters. It was a fast growing type of cancer, but had been caught early and no cancer had shown up in any of the lymph nodes they removed.
As a nice balance of exposing the medical douche bags from yesterday’s post, I will pause here to report that my surgeon is an amazing doctor and awesome human being. It was my surgeon who always had time to answer my questions and never seemed in a hurry to rush me out. He is also a leukemia survivor. He gave me the sound advice to take as much medical leave as I could garner up; that the chemotherapy and radiation treatments would put my body through hell and the best thing I could do was rest and sleep and let myself heal as much as possible while the treatments beat up my healthy body while attacking the cancer. I would pass this advice on to anyone who goes through cancer treatments.
If you remember from part one, my mammogram in October had not shown the lump. I found the lump myself during a self breast exam 5 months later. My surgeon said that all women, but especially for someone like me, with fibrocystic, dense breasts to begin with, self exam is an important front line of defense against breast cancer. Had I not found the lump, I was not scheduled for another mammogram until the following October – seven months later. At the rate that little fucker was growing, seven months would have made a huge difference. Life changing perhaps.
So ladies. Feeeel yourself.
In honor of October, and breast cancer awareness month, please click on the pink ribbon in the sidebar and help someone get a free mammogram.