The Worst Part is now over

Let me preface this that I might have some spelling errors or might be incoherent.

We got to the surgery center at 9am and were taken to the back.  We waited there for 2 hours before they took me over to the Breast Center to get a stereotactic wire insertion.  This time it didn’t hurt much at all.  Took another mammogram and headed back to the surgery center.

I came back to the surgery center and met with Anesthesiologist, Dr. Wilde and the operating room nurse that all asked the same questions.

The operating room was freezing so they wrapped me in blankets with heater.  The inserted the IV and that’s the last I remember until I woke up in recovery.

We got home and I was finally able to eat a sandwich thin with peanut butter and some Cheetos.  Mom left and got her suitcase and brought back some chicken tenders.

I’m still very groggy but not much pain yet.

Isn’t the photo of me in my shower cap and with the compression stockings attractive? 🙂

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It just hit me……

I was sitting here relaxing this afternoon and I realized in 3 days I’m having surgery.  It’s been almost 34 years since I’ve been under general anesthesia.  Then, I had morphine (ahhh!) to deal with the pain.  I don’t know what I’ll be able to take after this.  Unfortunately, Vicodin makes me ill.  I haven’t been able to take Aleeve since Tuesday and nothing with aspirin.  It was fun the other day having a migraine and not being able to take anything.

I’ve been busy at work for the past two weeks, so I haven’t really had a chance to dwell on the surgery, but now I realize that it’s happening.  Now I’m nervous and anxious.  I’m resorting to alcohol  at night since I can’t take my sleeping pills and my hot chocolate isn’t working.  😦

I feel bad for my mom.  We have to get there at 9am and my surgery isn’t until 11:30.  It’s too far for her to go home and come back.  She doesn’t use a computer or a smart phone.  I just hope they have something on the TV for her to watch to keep her occupied.  We’re not sure if she’ll be spending the night with me on Tuesday.  Both nurses I’ve spoken to have said I need to have someone stay with me for 24 hours.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see how I feel.

One more day at work then time off for a couple of months.  This is going to be weird.  I haven’t gone this long without working ever!  I’ve got a lot of movies saved up on the DVR.

I will try to post on Tuesday after the surgery but I’m not sure how I’ll feel or if I’ll be coherent.  🙂

Just when I thought things were moving forward…….

Today was my follow up appointment with Dr. Wilde.  She was running late from surgery so my 2:15 appointment became 3:00.  As I played my Ruzzle Game and Fruit Ninja, she finally came in.  It turns out the MRI found 3 more “abnormalities”.  Two more in my left breast and now one in my right.  These kind of abnormalities can only be found with an MRI so God knows how long I have had them.  So instead of scheduling my lump/mastectomy we now had to schedule an MRI Biopsy of all three.

I was very fortunate that they were able to move another person around to get me in this Thursday morning.  I have to be there at 6:45 am and plan to be there for about 2 hours.  This will be a MRI guided biopsy.  I guess I’ll get to spend time with my new best friend, Xanax again.  They are calling in another prescription for me.   After the biopsy I have to go see Dr. Wilde, yet again, for the results.

Here’s what I know:

  • I definitely have DCIS in my left breast
  • I have two clumped non mass-like abnormalities in my left breast
  • I have one clumped non mass-like abnormality in my right breast

Here’s what I don’t know:

  • Are the 3 new items cancer as well?
  • Am I having a lumpectomy or now radical mastectomy?
  • If the 3 new items are cancer, do I now have to have chemo?
  • When the hell is all of this going to come out of my body?

I was really doing well with all this until today.  The minute I say it out loud to my mom, that’s when I lose it.

I’m not a religious person, I never have been.  I do believe in God but I don’t think it’s necessary to go to a building to speak with him.  He’s where ever you find peace within yourself.  He and I have been talking a lot lately.  I’ve been told we’re never given anymore than we can handle and we find strength around us and within us.  I am very lucky to have the best supportive and loving parents, friends I work with or have worked with and even new friends that I have yet to meet, that are there for me.  I want you to know, that from the bottom of my heart, I am so grateful that you are in my life and for all your prayers.  It is giving me so much strength.

I will post more on Thursday, after me and my friend Xanax have parted ways.

The three dreaded words…..”You have Cancer”.

Today, the wait was over.  I finally heard from the doctor.

I had been waiting since Monday to learn what the results of the biopsy was but Monday was a holiday and I learned the doctor wouldn’t be back in the office until Wednesday.  So at 1:30 I got the call.  You know the conversation isn’t going to be good when the doctor starts off, “I wish I had better news for you”.  She proceeded to tell me I have Ductal Carcinoma In Situ.  According to the Susan G. Komen Website:  “Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a non-invasive breast cancer. In DCIS, abnormal cells are contained in the milk ducts. It is called “in situ” (which means “in place”) because the cells have not left the milk ducts to invade nearby breast tissue. DCIS is also called intraductal (within the milk ducts) carcinoma. You may also hear the term “pre-invasive breast carcinoma” to describe DCIS.  Surgery (with or without radiation therapy) is recommended for the treatment of all DCIS. Prognosis is usually excellent.”

I guess if you have to get breast cancer, that’s the one to get.  I have an appointment with a breast surgeon next Thursday to see what the next course of action will be.  From what I have read (thank God for the internet!), the following are recommended treatments:

  • Lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy: This is the most common treatment for DCIS. Lumpectomy is sometimes called breast-conserving treatment because most of the breast is saved.
  • Mastectomy: Mastectomy, or removal of the breast, is recommended in some cases.
  • Lumpectomy alone
  • Hormonal therapy after surgery: These treatments, which block or lower the amount of estrogen in the body, are typically used if the DCIS tests positive for hormone receptors.

I’m still absorbing a lot right now.  I do know that due to my rigid and obsessive control of my annual exams, this was caught early.  Yes, the “Panini Press” is not an enjoyable experience but thank God I go every year.  GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS!!!  I can’t stress that enough. 

Now to wait another week to see what is next.

Waiting is the hardest part

Yesterday was the day I had been dreading.  Waking up in the morning, I had the worse headache and was unable to take anything for it.  As usual my imagination was so much worse than the actual biopsy.  I just wish I had had someone to talk to that had gone through the same thing to ease my fears.   Going in, I was terrified; I don’t do well with “procedures”.

Now that it’s over, I can talk about it without making myself ill.  I thought I would share my experience in case anyone else going in for the same thing will know what to expect.  Even though Rebekha, the nurse who I spoke to the day before, told me the process, it’s not the same unless you go through it for yourself.

When I got into the room, they had me take off my top and put on the infamous gown that opens in the front.  The radiologist that was scheduled to do my procedure was running behind so I had to wait for another one.  Of course they had me wait alone in the room for 15 minutes.  Not the best idea to leave me alone with my thoughts just waiting…..

Finally, he came in and explained to me what he was going to do.  He showed me the multiple spots they found on my last mammogram and that when they were in there doing the biopsy, they would try to get the majority of them out.  Once they were done removing them, they would then insert a clip to mark where they been removed.  My first question was, “Would I set off metal detectors?”  He said that’s the same question all women ask and the answer was no.   He then began to say that as they were going through the process he would keep me fully informed.  I turned to him and said, “Ah, please don’t.  It will only make me ill”.  We did agree that he would tell me when the needles would go in and that would be it.  Rebeckha gave me the Zanax I asked for and it began.  I was hoping the Zanax would help my headache.

They had me hop on this odd table, face down so my left breast falls into this hole.  They then compressed it between these two metal pieces to hold it in place.  In my mind I’m thinking, “Oh great they’re going to squeeze the hell out of it like a mammogram”, but it was fine.  She did say that once I’m in that position,  I can’t move.  Trying to find a comfortable position on my stomach and placing my arms just right was the worst part of the whole procedure.

Next they swabbed me with Betadine.  He then announces the needle with Lidocaine would be inserted.  Well, I thought for sure this was going to hurt; not at all.  Not even the infamous burning you’re supposed to feel.  As he’s inserting it, Rebeckha had a hand on the small of my back and was holding my other hand.  I can’t tell you how comforting that was.  I think she knew from the moment I went into the room how scared I was.   Then the needle biopsy went in, just slight pressure but still no pain.  Popping and vacuuming sounds continue in the background and the doctor says, “We’re half way done”.  Geez can’t you just say we’re done?!  Before I knew it, we were done.   I had to rest there for a few minutes while they bandaged me up but at least I could finally move my arms.

I then had to go and have a follow up mammogram so they have on record where the clip was placed.

I found this video on YouTube that shows what I went through.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOJahVP0qCo

Once it was all over, my whole body was shaking but it was over.  Now comes the wait.  They told me the results were going to one of the faster labs and I should hear at the earliest on Monday or the latest Tuesday or Wednesday.

Waking up this morning, I had the pain they warned me about.  And I still can only take Tylenol.  Please, that does nothing for me.  I guess I’ll keep icing that sucker down and hope the pain subsides.  It’s going to be a long weekend.

Why is it that every commercial I see on TV right now is either for Cancer Treatments Centers or the Breast Cancer 3-Day.

Positive thoughts.

Every Woman’s Worst Fear

Anyone that knows me, knows how diligent I am when it comes to my health and annual exams.  I go religiously for my annual OBGYN, mammogram, teeth cleanning and general physical every year.  In the past, when I’ve gone for my mammograms, I’ve been called back before for a “closer look” but the word “biopsy” was never mentioned until now.

When the doctor called me a week ago, she said they can’t determine what they see in the second mammogram so I have to go in for a biopsy.  My doctor isn’t the warm and fuzzy type, and that’s okay, I’ve gotten used to it.  She matter of factly mentioned that she had just had one herself that past Friday.   She said that 90% of these come back negative so that was good news.

So far I’ve been lucky to be the only one in my family who hasn’t had Cancer so I’m trying to keep a positive thought that my luck will hold out.  Right now my fear is the actual procedure not the result.  Once I get through that, I’m sure the anxiety of the results will kick in.

It’s going to be a very long week.  Here’s to good thoughts.