Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It Began on 7-12-11

I realized in May I failed to have a mammogram last year.  Panic.  So, I did a self-exam.  Hmmmm, found a hard mass area which had dimpling, or rather a long dent to that area.  Oh, well, not to worry, I get my mammogram done next week, right?  After a little worry, I get my letter from Dr. Radiologist in May saying my mammogram was "normal".  Happy days!  But, after continuing to feel the same abnormality in my left breast, I called my physician I'll call Dr. Internist.  He had me come in for an examination.  He thought it was just breast "density", but had me immediately go across the street to the imaging facility for a sonogram.  A tech did the sonogram, showed it to the radiologist down the hall, and came back saying he wanted me have a diagnostic mammogram right then.  So, down the hall I went for that.  That was the first time I ever had Dr. Radiologist come right into the dressing room and speak to me - not a good sign.  He said, "You need a biopsy, and I'm calling your doctor right now."  He ordered the mammo tech to take two more pics to give to the breast surgeon that would be doing the biopsy.  Dr. Internist called me on my cell on my way home and gave me the bad news.  He said he would call me the next day with an apppointment for a biopsy with a surgeon.  I asked him if I couldn't get this done in a different imaging center.  With a not too great bedside manner, he replies, "No you need to have a surgeon do it in case it is something bad."  Yikes!  His office called me the next morning to tell me they had scheduled me an appointment.  So goes the first day of my new adventure.

Normal you say????
So, what is that darkened mass on the sonogram my internist ordered  after your "Normal Mammogram"?
  Oh, yeah, it's Invasive Lobular Cancer of my breast!!!

This was all in bad timing!  Not only am I worried that I have breast cancer, I am absolutely heartbroken over missing the yearly week at the beach with my family.  There's nothing like taking in God's creation of sand and surf, and watching precious grandchildren make sand castles and look for seashells with you.  My youngest daughter has rented a beautiful beach home right on the beachfront in South Padre Island and they invited me to go with them.  I was so looking forward to spending time with my wonderful daughter, son-in-law, and two precious granddaughters, age 3 and 6.  Oh, well, there's always next year, right?  Health has to come first!  So I stay home to check out this new curve thrown my way.

I had to wait one week to see the breast surgeon - which was nerve wracking.  Dr. Internist called in some Xanax to help with the anxiety.  What I have learned is that mammograms alone are not enough to catch breast cancer.  Some masses you just have to feel.  Some are so small you cannot feel them and they do not show up on a mammogram.  However, my mass was so huge it just looked like breast density, I guess.  Scary!  You just have to be on top of everything in this regard.  I'm just glad I was persistent in determing that I did have breast cancer and I hope we caught it early enough.  All I can say, is you know that expression, "Have you hugged your children today?"  Well, I say as a reminder to all women, "Have you checked your breasts today...or this month?"

On the next Monday my daughter, Michele, (you need two sets of ears for stressful dialogues about cancer) took Dr. Local Breast Surgeon to be examined and for her to study the CD of images I brought her from the mammogram/sonogram facility.  Dr. Local Breast Surgeon told me the images indicate I have Invasive Lobular Cancer and it affects both breasts so I would need mastectomies on both breasts.  She told me that I need to have a needle core biopsy in her other office where that procedure is done - but not until Wednesday. The breast surgeon said it did not appear to have spread to my muscles. A breast MRI will be done to detect if it has spread to the muscles, lymph nodes, etc.  Appointment made for biopsy on Wednesday
Friends and family are extremely supportive.  Prayer chains are started.  Googling this type of cancer.  Buying recommended books on cancer.  Going to the library for other books on cancer.  The fight begins!  I will remain positive and beat this demon!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  Fear is understandable.  Just don't forget that Jesus is in the boat with you. - Michael S. Barry