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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Breast Cancer Awareness - My Diagnosis

First I have a confession. I started this blog over a year ago in order to share my journey through the quagmire that is Breast Cancer treatment. I even named it "Boob Saga". But to tell you the truth, I was always so focused on getting to the next step, I couldn't get myself to write about the moment. I just wanted to get to the NEXT moment. Another confession: I started my journey with a bad attitude, and it kinda worked for me throughout treatment.

I'll start at the beginning. My General Practitioner totally nagged me for a couple years to get a mammogram (I was 44 and had never had one). Finally I wanted a refill on my ADD medicine, and she made me come in to her office for a checkup. After the checkup I was handed a slip for the mammogram. She held my Straterra hostage until I complied, (sneaky wench). This was right around St Patrick's Day 2008. So I had the mamo during which the girl re-did the left side, so I had a hint there was something up. About a week later I get a call that I need a biopsy on what she called a 'concerning mass". I refused to get upset about cancer until somebody told me I actually had it. Why bother right? I didn't tell anyone but my husband, until I was driving to the biopsy and had a moment of "shit...I must have cancer". They know it when they see it on a mammogram right? So I called my friend Missy who works in an oncologists office. I'm driving along, trying not to get lost (I get lost A LOT). I'm telling my best friend where I'm going, and I'm starting to feel a panic attack come on. But Missy who has HUGE boobs has been through a surgical biopsy of a lump which was negative or benign or whatever. I was glad I called her. So I went back to "I will not waste effort worrying now, I don't have time for this shit". Had the biopsy maybe a week later. Not the most fun. By the time the Dr came in, the Nurse had me twisted like a pretzel on this table with a boob hole in it. The lump was apparently at the very edge of my left boob, almost to my under arm. So I had to put the boob AND my arm through the hole. Then they put the boob in a vice for the duration of the procedure. The doctors expression upon entering was pretty comical. He looks at the nurse and nicely asks "I assume this is necessary"
she assured him it was. She had done a bunch of mammograms while adjusting me so the doctor would know exactly where to drill. The doctor didn't show me the drill until AFTER the biopsy. Probably a good thing I couldn't see through that boob hole in the table. He even showed me the samples he had drilled out. They looked like worms in a jar of fluid. Very strange. A little creepy.

OKAY...so now the waiting game again. I was pretty distracted by just wanting to know what I was dealing with. The next week I get a message from a doctor who is covering for my G.P. but office hours are over, I have to call him the next day. Great...more waiting. I call the next day, and he gets right on the phone. That made me think it was bad news. Good news can wait, right? So he tells me they found cancer and he sounds so uncomfortable I actually feel bad for HIM. It must suck filling in for a colleagues vacation and having to tell some stranger crap news like that. Especially for such a nice guy. Oh, and I forgot to say what the date was. It was April 1st 2008. Yup...April fools day. I'm just warped enough to see the humour in that. My husband and I joked about it being THE MOST twisted April Fools joke ever. But it was real, so I had to start on the treatment road. My bad attitude in tact, I didn't have time for this shit so I'm pushing to get it over with. Chop chop. What's next? I never once worried about dieing. They said it was small and that was a good thing, and I believed them. More importantly I believed in myself. Not that I'm terrifically self confidant, but I am stubborn and tenacious!

That's my diagnosis story. I don't know if you will get anything out of it or not. I'm just here to give you the facts. If nothing else, I would like to make the point that I was incredibly lucky that my cancer was caught at an early stage after putting off getting a mammogram. Get those mammos ladies. The smaller it is, the better your odds of kicking Cancers ass. Catch it early. When I saw my G.P. and we discussed what happens next, she said "the next year is gonna suck, but you're not gonna die." I just love her.

Next time I will tell you about the treatment.

1 comment:

Mara and Stewart said...

It is so important that you shared your story of diagnosis. We read about cases all the time of people doing all of the right things (mammograms, following doctor's orders, etc.), and still having crappy outcomes. It's great to read about a rebel who got a break. Disease treatment is not a one-size-fits-all, but early detection is fairly universal. Squish those boobies once a year!