And so, when a breast specialist (or boob doctor, as I like to call her) told me 3 weeks ago that I had some calcification in my breast and that "nine times out of ten it's nothing," I thought that doesn't really help the one who doesn't fall in that category.
This time I'm the one.
The good news is that it was caught very early. It's considered "stage zero" cancer. So while I know I'm very lucky in that it's extremely curable right now, it's still cancer and I want it gone.
|I refuse to use pink.|
It all started with my annual mammogram in mid-February. I have a family history of breast cancer so I've been getting annual screenings since I turned 35. A week or so later I got a call that something looked different from last year - the first time that's ever happened to me. The boob doctor wanted me to come in for magnified pictures and they had an opening the next morning so I went in. This was similar to a regular mammogram but admittedly a bit more uncomfortable. The doctor looked at the films while I was there and relayed the news about the calcification. "Since we can't be 100% sure, we need to do a biopsy."
The following Friday I went in for the biopsy. It wasn't too awful, except it involved lying on my side for longer than I'd like. They numbed up my boob and took samples and inserted a tiny chip as a marker and I had more mammogram-type tests, before and after. The whole thing took maybe an hour and a half. Afterwards, I was pretty tired so I took it easy with ice packed in my sports bra.
They said I'd hear something in two business days. I had the biopsy on a Friday so that meant I had to wait until Tuesday but I was OK with that because we were heading to Hershey, PA for the Sting/Paul Simon concert so I'd be distracted. Except, as you may remember, we never got out of town because I got hit with some kind of stomach flu. So not only was I stuck at home, unsure of which way to face the toilet at any given moment, but I had more time to think about the biopsy.
On Tuesday I waited anxiously for the phone to ring. When it finally did, around 3:00, I was told that the pathologist was sending my samples for "a second opinion." Fuck. Me. (Sorry, Mom.) She said that they should hear something Wednesday or possibly Thursday morning.
Gwensday came and went. Thursday dragged on and at 4:00 I finally called. Yes, the results had come in but the boob doctor had been in procedures all day and yes, she would call me that day. She called around 5:00. "Unfortunately I don't have great news." I have to say though that she was so sweet. She told me what the results were and then she paused and said "are you OK?"
I'll fast-forward a bit here. I got in to see a breast surgeon pretty quickly and tomorrow (Friday) I'm having a lumpectomy. It's an outpatient procedure and recovery shouldn't be too bad. I'll likely have radiation at some point but I won't need chemo.
I'm not sharing this to get sympathy. In the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty fortunate and this is just a blip on the radar of my life. Don't get me wrong, I'll take any good vibes or prayers or healing light or whatever good juju you want to send my way. I'm sharing this because I'm not the kind of person who keeps things like this a secret. I'm also putting it out there because I know that there's controversy about whether mammograms are necessary. You can make up your own mind about that; I won't preach about it. All I know is that I'm thankful for my annual mammogram and for doctors who are willing to be aggressive in hopes that my "touch of cancer" (my words, not anyone else's) is just that and won't ever come back.