Caveat Emptor

I apologize in advance if I offend those of you to whom I am related or close friends. Writing this is my catharsis and has been keeping me (moderately) sane of late.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh Nicky You're So Fine...

The tumor is benign!

They called last night with the good news. I was not expecting to hear anything until Monday or Tuesday, but Nicky kept her word.

Nicky was the person who first brought me back to the changing room, took me to the biopsy room and explained everything to me; she was with me through the entire procedure. I have to say that Nicky was one of the most awesome people that I have ever met. She was so genuine, sweet, and really took my mind off of the whole thing; that and the Xanax of course. She told me that a friend that she went to school with worked in the department to which my tissue would be sent and that she would put a rush on it through her friend. I believed her (kind of), but I did not think it would be possible as the turn around time was 2 business days, it was Thursday afternoon, and the radiologist said that I may not have the results until Tuesday. Nicky, you rock!

Nicky took me to the changing room, showed me where to change, and where to put my things. There were lockers and any locker with a key was mine for the choosing. There were many available lockers, but I chose locker B9, get it...B9=benign? The nurse told me that in four years not one other patient said that; must be the English teacher in me.

It turned out that Nicky and her husband were going in for a consultation with a fertility specialist. I cannot remember how this came up, but I hope that I was able to ease some of her fears with our awesome outcome. I wish only great things for her. I want her to be my real friend, not just my breast biopsy friend! I told her how I terrific I thought she was and she acted as though no patient had ever told her that before, which I cannot believe; she was that great.

I go back in two weeks and I will find out more then i.e, what type of tumor it is: cyst, fibroadenoma, lipoma, some other oma, or a pea sized dense no named thingy, but whatever it is, I have a six month reprieve. I kind of want it removed just in case, but I will see what the doctor says. You see, my maternal grandma died of breast cancer at 59, when I was just six months old and her mom died of breast cancer as well; she was in her 30's I believe, so to be honest, I am still not confident that it is nothing.

While the radiologist (not the one who found the mass) was doing the biopsy she kept saying that because the mass was so small (about the size of a pea), and my boobs were so dense (yeah!) she was having a hard time getting to it. This did not sit well with me. Frankly, I was not confident in her ability to get the sample, mostly because she did not seem confident. I'm no radiologist, so I guess she probably got it, but for someone who does this procedure routinely it was disconcerting that she seemed to be having trouble. The ultrasound tech who did the original ultrasounds on Monday had no problem finding the mass, she should have does this one too. Maybe it is harder to find when it is magnified so much more; who knows?

The radiologist said that with my family history, she may want to do an MRI regardless of the biopsy results, but when I mentioned this to the nurse who called with the results, she briefly consulted with the doctor, then told me that would not be necessary. I will ask about this again when I go back in two weeks.

I'm probably looking too much into it; I'll know more in two weeks but we are thrilled with the B9 result!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Benign Mass, Harmless Cyst, or Other?

I am home from work today because my little angel has the stomach flu with a pretty high fever. Jem is such a precious prince and thank goodness he is sleeping; getting the rest he needs.

So, last week (Monday, April 14, 2009 to be exact) I found a lump in my left breast. To me, it felt like the lump in the faux breast found in some doctor's offices, so that patients are able to get an idea of what a lump or mass in the breast may feel like. The lump in my breast felt like a pebble. The next day I went to see the physician's assistant at my doctor's office and was referred by her to the breast center. By the time I went to the breast center yesterday I could hardly find it and was not in the least bit nervous. In fact, I thought I was wasting my and my husband's time and that I had made a big deal out of nothing.

I began having mammograms in 2005, when I was 35. Usually women do not begin getting mammograms until they are 40, but because we have a family history of breast cancer it was best to get a baseline early. I feel that 40 is wayyyyyy too late in a women's life to get a baseline mammogram, but what do I know?

My first mammogram in 2005 was uneventful, though I could finally understand all of the mammogram jokes. If one were to faint while having a mammogram, he or she would be hanging from the machine by his or her tit; it is really fucking smashed in there! If you are claustrophobic, take a Xanax (or two)!

In 2006 I had my second mammogram and I was called by the hospital the following day because it was abnormal and they needed to do more tests. Fucking scared the shit out of me! They did ultrasounds and determined that whatever they saw were cysts. Great! I had my next mammogram in 2007 prior to beginning fertility treatment. All clear again. I did not have a mammogram in 2008 because I was breast feeding, which I have not done in about three months.

Yesterday, my husband went with me and as I said, I was unconcerned for the most part. The mammogram pictures were taken and I waited to move on to the ultrasound. The lady who did my mammogram came back and said that the radiologist want one or two more pictures. I was still pretty relaxed, though probably from the Xanax. I had not taken a Xanax since quite a while before I got pregnant, so one worked pretty quickly. She took two more pictures and I think she cracked a rib or two.

Next was the ultrasound. I had really been unable to locate the pebble I had felt the week before so when the ultrasound tech asked me to show her where it was, I doubted that I could find it. I began to feel a bit ashamed that I came for no reason...then I found it. She began moving the ultrasound around my now slightly saggier since pregnancy left breast and I told her that ultrasounds are much more fun when looking at your baby. She agreed, courteously laughed and continued ultrasounding.

Nothing on the screen looked like anything for awhile, and then I saw it. There was no mistaking that it was something other than normal breast tissue. she took many pictures, measurements and what I think may have been density measurements. I asked her questions like, "Is that the only one?" but she could not answer me. She said the radiologist would come in to talk with me. The radiologist came in and told me that we would have to do a biopsy. She was pretty matter-of-fact, which I guess she has to be.

I spoke to a surgeon, who was really great! He explained everything that was going to happen next and he was so patient. Mike was with me for this part; he was shaking and at times, it looked like he was holding back tears. Maybe I should have given him a Xanax? The nurse was also terrific and she and the surgeon did their jobs of calming people extraordinarily well. I have confidence in them.

I will be going back Thursday for an ultrasound guided Core Needle Biopsy. At the end of the procedure they will place a tiny piece of titanium in my breast at the biopsy site. This is done so that the surgeon can easily find the area biopsied, for future monitoring or in the event that a follow-up procedure is needed to remove more tissue. The surgeon drew four different pictures of breast masses. Two of the four shapes are nothing, one is bad, and one they just don't know; that is the shape of my mass. It is 12mm and for now, that is all I know....Oh, and that the lump that I found is nothing, probably a blocked milk duct; this was an incidental find.