Episode IV: No, I am your cancer
The Radiologist said that the biopsy test results would be back today. So, I spent the day doing my normal routine... and waiting. The phone rang with a local unknown number and my heart sank. I was actually anxious and nervous, though I had convinced myself I was fine. It was the biopsy nurse who called to check up on me. By the time I hung up the phone, I felt almost better because I got that negative energy out before the real call.
As with life, the timing was off when my phone rang again. I had just pulled in to my daughter's school to pick her up and there were 9 minutes before I had to step out of the car and walk to the school door. Of course, the call was from my Radiologist with my results! She started with general conversation, which I immediately moved to the topic of my results. I had about 6 minutes left before I had to get my daughter.
The Radiologist let me know what I already really knew, my mass was Cancerous. Both core biopsies had carcinoma in them. The pathology report would not be complete for a few more days. I asked a few questions, about the mass size, should I be on my current medicines, and if she had any other information to provide me? I had less than 3 minutes before stepping out of the car.
I was informed that the mass was over an inch (around 2.2 cm) in diameter, that I needed to schedule an appointment with my family doctor to figure out about continuing to take my medicine, and that the details of my tests would be sent to the Breast Surgeon and I would learn more them. No time left - gotta pick up my daughter.
My mass was slightly larger than a gumball!
I stepped out of the car and walked towards the school doing my best to end the conversation with the Radiologist even though I had more I wanted to learn. She continued to talk about things as I greeted my very happy daughter. Then the phone call ended as I held my daughter's hand and walked back to the car.
There was no time to process. My daughter talked about her day in Kindergarten. My son texted me that he had lost his football cleats and needed me to find them and bring them to him. I ran around the house in normal chaos mode without time to care or think about my cancer.
4/27/2013 - Sneak Peek at my Pathology
I scheduled an appointment with my general doctor to discuss my current medicines. I secretly hoped that my pathology report had made its way to him... and it had. Bonus! The pathology report was essentially a bunch of numbers that, for someone like me, who had no experience with cancer, meant almost nothing at first glance. The doctor discussed the good and the bad with me.
I had Infiltrating (Invasive) Ductal Carcinoma or IDC. It was a moderately size mass, but it could be worse. It was moderately to highly aggressive, but it could be worse. It was hormone receptive, but could it be worse. Essentially, I had cancer, but it could be worse. The rest of the conversation with my doctor was just the details. Of course, he wanted me to really discuss the results and treatment options at my next appointment to get more specific answers.
I was fine with that, as I had gotten more information than I had before and I had the rest of the weekend to think, search, and ponder my next appointment. Until then, I knew I had to get off the other medicines and deal with those issues after all that cancer-stuff was behind me.
4/29/2013 - First Official Appointment
My first official appointment regarding cancer was with a Breast Surgeon early on Monday morning. I had spent the most of the weekend gathering and writing anything related to my health: symptoms, medicines, surgical procedures, and family histories. I made sure that I would be prepared to answer any questions about my medical history.
The hubby and I arrived on time and turned in the multitude of forms provided earlier. Then we waited. We were called back and spoke with a very well-informed and kind nurse (who also happened to be the surgeon's wife). She got out charts and we discussed my health history. I then changed into one of those reverse gowns and waited for the doctor.
He arrived in the room soon after the nurse left. We discussed many of the things the nurse had discussed with us. However, being that I have had a number of small but strange issues and problems occur since October 2012, that before any treatment options could begin I would have to see the Medical Oncologist first. We were informed that the Medical Oncologist will "drive the ship". He or she will lead us through all parts of the cancer treatment.
After re-examining my mass, the surgeon briefly mentioned that I could either have a mastectomy or a lumpectomy with radiation treatments. Because of my age and the size of my cancer, I seemed to be a good candidate for a lumpectomy, so he very briefly described the process of a lumpectomy and what my breast would look like afterwards. He also was very clear that until I saw the Oncologist, these procedures were on hold. He thought that I might need chemotherapy prior to any surgeries to remove the cancer.
Overall, I figured I am either going to get new tatas with a mastectomy or a breast lift with a lumpectomy. Essentially, I am getting new boobs. In the end the hubby and I went looking to find treatment plan options, but we left with more unanswered questions.
In my head...
I got the Cancer. At least, I had a diagnosis and I could now work towards finding the best treatment. I would continue to focus on the positives, such as new or improved boobs. And I will still make inappropriate jokes to keep those around me laughing. If you can't laugh, then it is just sad. So, I find humor in the serious stuff and focus on the short term treatment. I gotta get rid of the Cancer first, then I can get on with my life.
"Named must be your fear before banish it you can." - Yoda
Episode Reference: I Am Your Father - Star Wars Episode V