Saturday, September 12, 2009 11:13 PM
Hi Ladies! Unfortunately I guess I have joined the ranks. I have been wanting to sit down at the computer and research and write for about a week now. I have finally found some free time, where I felt up to it. I had a mammogram and an ultra sound on Aug. 26. I found a lump in my left breast at about 9 o'clock, (that seemed to appear very suddenly) about a month and a half prior. I finally made a Planned Parenthood appointment, even though I wasn't extremely worried about it. I had been told I had very fibrous breasts years ago. I thought it was more of the same, except I haven't felt one of those in the past 3 years since I've been on the Depovera birth control shot.
They scheduled me for a mommogram and ultrasound the next day. I only asked the doctor what about this lump made her nervous, as I didn't want to worry myself to death when the mammogram was the next day. She said the size and the edges, and I left it at that. Even then I wasn't too worried. The mammogram lady said we'll do you mammogram, and maybe the ultrasound. We may not need one, even though you are scheduled. I think hmm, OK- well here we go my first mammogram...finally. I am 39.5 years old, and do not know my mother's history. I had questioned PP several times before, as I had read you should have one early in my situation. I'm over being mad that they didn't seem to see the need to do one before. So I found my way through the mammogram, and she went to go talk to the doctor. She came back in and switched out the lens on the machine. That was probably my first warning bells. She took some more and went back to the doctor. She came back and said we were headed for the ultrasound- uh, oh...this might not be good!
Sure enough, after the ultrasound the doctor came in. He said he would normally refer me back to my primary care physician, but he must have know I came through PP. He told me it had all the characteristics of cancer. and that it most likely was. He talked to me about wheere to go from there, that a biopsy was next. He also offered to call a good surgeon for me- he recommended 2 different ones. He explained that whether the lump was cancerous or not, that he believed it needed to come out. He said I could have time to think about it. I didn't know who to call, so I decided to put my trust in Dr. Pickhardt the surgeon. I figured the sooner the better. So I let the mammogram doctor go ahead and hook me up with the surgeon. I left the office with a biopsy scheduled for Aug. 31. My husband came and met me in town so I wasn't alone. I collected myself and made the call to schedule the surgeon's appointment. This appointment was on Sept. 1.
I thought I should double check on the surgeon, just to be smart. I looked up the surgeon's name on the computer, and just confused myself. He isn't a bc specialist that I could see. He also is well known in Bariatrics and trauma, and cancer. I finally gave my dad his name and asked him to check, so I didn't go batty. Dad felt confident in his ability, and didn't think I was going to find any better in Missoula
The biopsy was fine, no big deal. It was more important to me to find out what was going on in there. Still soaking everything in. I met with Dr. Pickhardt the next day. All he had was the prelims on the biopsy...but it was enough to start with. Yes, it is BC. We talked about building a team, and what the next step was. He examined me for himself. He was curious about the size, given my description, and the mammogram because of my breast density. His exam seemed to correlate his suspicions. Mammogram read 3cm, but he now felt it was egg shaped and more like 5 cm.
Now suddenly we weren't talking about lumphectomy anymore. Because of the size, proximaty to nipple, and breast size- he does not believe he can remove this and still leave me a decent looking breast. Yikes, but it makes sense to me. I'd rather take as few of chances as possible anyways. He also felt my nodes, nothing in right, but he found the marbly guy in my left. He was n't very concerned, and told me he wanted to do a Sentinal node biopsy as well, jjust to make sure. I have learned so much in the last 3 weeks, from nothing nothing other then I knew someone else along the way. We talked and asked some questions. My husband and I felt comfortable with what he was telling us. We hadn't done a lot of research...but it seemed more important to get it out. I could research for another 4 months and still have this creep growing in my breast! So I left his office with consultation appointments for our team,(medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist) an MR and a tenative surgery date for 2 weeks later.
Whew, OK - now what? It has been a really rotten year, and we had hoped we were done with bad stuff. I guess not yet. Now it is my turn to be 1 in 8. I have 3 half sisters, so hopefully I just fixed their odds and none of us girls have to go through this again! Still feeling like i'm walking in a weird daydream...down the rabbit hole, just like Alice. I talked to the breast care coordinator at St. Pat's. She sounds like an incredible woman...dedicated to helping us ladies through this. She made me feel like she was there for anything for me. She was quite comforting to talk to on the phone, as she is the first female doctor that I'd talked to. She even made me feel better about how/when to go about quitting smoking! She also was able to access my biopsy reports. She said it came back estrogen +/ and progesterin-. No HER2 report yet. She could understand why surgeon thought mastectomy was best, as did the medical and radiation oncologists.
I had my MR yesterday...that was annoying, plus it was one of the rare moments that I really had alone to think on stuff. I was starting to get a bit twitchy...this is becoming reality very fast now...as I knew it would. I had an appointment with surgeon half an hour later. I was a bit dissappointed, as I was thinking that he would have MR results by then, which he did not. He asked me about my other consultations, and talked about what he still felt, as far as mastectomy. He felt my lump again, which now seems more pronounced and harder. He said it very well could be inflamed from biopsy, as the same with my lymph node still. He decided to go with the auxillary node dissection. He is still not too concerned, but he feels that it is 50% chance spread, and 50% chance reactive to the biopsy stress. This part disappoints me. I thought I was in the clear as far as worrying about Lymphedema. Darn it...this was the one part that I thought was good.
I walked out with my husband in a daze. I left with a modified radical left breast mastectomy scheduled for 2 1/2 days from now. We went ahead and did my blood work, chest x-ray and pre- op appointment before we left. I didn't want to have any more appointments until check in time on Tuesday. We went and got chinese food, as we'd been there since 9. I was getting crabby and past starving by this point...I was trying to be nice! Normally I don't have that problem, but I was on the roller coaster. Shirts...oh, yea shirts...might be a good thing to think about. Great, what else now? I have no insurance, and this is going to get expensive, not even thinking about the little extras that will make this a little easier on me. I'm doing what the hospital is telling me about finances, and waiting patiently for my CPA to sent my taxes. No worry, no stress. Just keep nesting and and doing what is only within my reach. Wally World was the last place we wanted to go yesterday afternoon, Friday aftrenoon in Missoula, yuck! Off my mostly patient hubby and I went. I had to stock up you know. We live 20 miles out of town, so it had to be done. I know I'm not going grocery shopping this week. Gotta get my lawn mowed, and watered, catch up my book keeping for our business....gotta do a bit of scrubbing and cleaning so my house isn't filthy while I'm down for a few days. It has been a bit neglected lately, in the whirlwind of things.
So that's that. It is what it is. Yes, it sucks...and yeah, I'm trying not to be scared. For whatever reason, I have to take this walk. Nothing I can do about it but go forward the best I can. Stay positive and laugh at myself. I want to walk away from this knowing I did the best to my ability. I want to learn, so I can help the next gal in my shoes...whatever I can pay forward. I was back in x-ray office yeserday waiting. I heard the nurse call a lady back, who tried to bring her husband back. He couldn't go as it is a women's only clinic. I then heard the nurse say something about the mamogram first, and then they would see about the ultrasound. I also heard her say it was her first mammogram. It was all I could do to not rush over and offer to go in with her. She sounded just like me almost 3 weeks ago. If only I could make it better for her! I refrained, realizing the last person she wanted to meet that day was a girl who's mammogram didn't go well, and was scheduled to have her boob removed in 4 days.
So that's all I got for now. I will go talk to my hairdresser as soon as I can, and ask her to look for a suitable short haircut for me. We will be doing chemo. I have waist length hair that I've had for years. I'd rather take it off while it's still healthy. Kids are cruel, and somebody needs that hair out there way more then I do. It will be easier to take care of while my new chest heals. If I start losing it, I'll shave it and be done with it. In the big scheme of things- my breast and my hair are minor compared to my health. I am a survivor...and I have a lot more miles to put on my harley, and many more years to add to my 2 1/5 year marriage to my soul mate! Cross your fingers and toes for me ladies, as I will do the same for you!
DX-8/09- 3-5cm, left breast
Modified radical masectomy scheduled 9/15/09