It has been three weeks since my last blog post. Three weeks that have gone by at a snails pace and have been one long emotional roller coaster ride.
On February 22 I went in for a diagnostic mammogram, a follow up to an earlier screening mammogram. This is not the first time I have had to do this and I thought it was going to be just like the other four times, they take additional views, possibly an ultrasound and tell me it is nothing, we will do a follow up in six months, and make sure it hasn't changed or grown.
Not this time. This time was different. Everything about it was different. The suspicious spot was on the other side, the left. The lady performing the mammogram stopped talking after taking one view on the left side. She had been quite talkative while doing the right side. She used different paddles on the machine, so that they could target a smaller area, something that had not been done on my previous diagnostic mammograms. When she was finished she asked me to have a seat in the small waiting area outside the mammography room. She said that she was wanted the Technician to look at the pictures to be sure that they were good pictures and that no further views were needed. After a couple of minutes another lady came and asked me to follow her that she was going to do an ultrasound. This in itself was not shocking, as the first time I had to have a diagnostic mammogram an ultrasound was performed. But again, this time was different. Before they had to search and find what was needing to be looked at. This time she went right to the spot, it was clear what she was looking at, (even I could see the difference on the monitor), I asked if it was the dark area that she was looking at, she answered yes but didn't talk to me much and took several measurements. At one point taking a clear plastic strip and measuring on my breast, again something different. She then left to speak with the technician to make sure that was all that was needed. When she returned. I asked if they had found something, she paused and I said, I know you aren't supposed to tell me. She then said yes and proceeded to tell me that the technician was writing the report now and would fax it over to my doctor within the hour, once again something very different. Previously I had been told that the doctor would receive the report in three to five business days. So this is when the real concern began to set in. As soon as I got in my car I called my doctor's office, I knew that they closed early on Fridays but wasn't sure exactly what time. They were already closed. I spoke with the on- call service and was told that it would be Monday before the doctor would see the report. I thought to myself, this is going to be one long weekend. But, on Saturday morning I called the place where the test was performed and asked if I could pick up a copy of the report. Within thirty minutes I had the report in my hand... BIRADS score of 5... 95% chance of malignancy. Surgical consultation and biopsy recommended. I was numb....
I spent the weekend researching everything about breast cancer. The tests, the surgeries, the treatments, the statistics, I read it all. I also did a lot of crying.
Monday morning I called my doctors office. They hadn't even pulled the report off of the computer yet. The nurse read the report and said that she would call surgeons to see who could get me in the quickest for a biopsy.
March 1, the following Friday I met with the surgeon. He specializes in breast surgery and came highly recommended by one of my friends. He looked at the pictures and the report from the mammogram and the ultrasound, examined me and then performed his own mammogram. His ultrasound machine was able to show different views and clearer pictures. He told me that he was quite concerned with the tests and that a biopsy was needed.
March 4, the following Monday I went back to his office for a Vacuum Assisted Core Biopsy.
The procedure itself wasn't bad. A bit uncomfortable at times and unpleasant hearing the clicks and sounds of the equipment as well as watching the samples being passed over me and placed in the jar. I was told to come back on Thursday for results. But on Wednesday morning I got a call from the surgeons office asking me to come in. They had received the results. It was confirmed... Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Oddly I didn't even cry. I think I was prepared for the diagnosis, I had gotten my crying out of my system and accepted that this was the hand I had been dealt. I was able to talk with the doctor about my options.
This coming Tuesday, March 19th I will have a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy. This will be followed by radiation and possibly chemotherapy.
If you are reading this and you are a person whom prays, I ask that you please say a prayer for me. I truly believe that prayer does make a difference and that with the support of my family and friends I can get through this.