My bout with cancer

May 15th, 2006, I went for a mammogram. I had a lump in my breast that I thought needed to be checked again. I say again because in April of the year prior to that I had had a benign fibrous tumor removed from my right breast. While checking the incision, I thought I had felt another lump and mentioned it to my surgeon. She found the lump and did a fine needle aspiration in her office. (By the way, I learned later, don't do this!) It came back negative. Rather than sending me for a mammogram, she had me go to the hospital, where she proceeded to do a blind (no ultrasound) core biopsy. (Again, don't do this!) Never in all my forty some years of having tests done have I had to call the Doctor to get results - I didn't hear anything, so assumed all was well.

So, as I said, I went for a mammogram about a year after this as it felt like the lump was bigger. My G.P. didn't tell the clinic that there was a lump, so I had to return that afternoon for the ultrasound core biopsy, which gave them time to get the results from my surgeons test a year prior. This is when I was told don't have a fine needle aspiration or a blind core biopsy. Well, the surgeon, had missed the lump and gotten scar tissue! But, I never got called!

Two weeks later, I get a message from my Dr.'s office to make an appointment to see him. I call and set one up for two days later. I get a message the next day asking if I could call about my appointment. I call and they ask if I could come in that day. Well, now I don't need to go in, I know what he is going to say.

I am right, I have breast cancer. He has set up an appointment for the following week with ... you got it in one, the same surgeon! So, I tell him the tale of discovering this lump and how I am not really happy with this surgeon (he has nothing on file from her!), but, he suggests if I can, she is the fastest way to deal with this! He will try to get me in elsewhere if I really want. Well, I am really not happy, but by the same token, I think, it may well have been benign last year anyway and then I would have ignored it this year.

So, I get home and my first thought is to call my best friend Emily - then - I think, I can't! Her husband is dying of cancer, the last thing she needs is me bawling on her shoulder! So, I call my sister ( she would have been first if it weren't for my being broke and the call being long distance) and bawl on her shoulder. I had done really well, right up until I had to say the words to someone else.

So, I had the surgery on my breast on June 5th. They took just the lump and a lymph node to test. The lymph node, upon close examination proved to have a trace of cancer, so, they went in and took lymph nodes from under my right arm on July 5th. My sister came down from G.P. to babysit me for both of the surgeries and then ran me about the city right after getting me out of hospital. These were both day surgeries, the first I was in for about 6 hours, the second they kept me for closer to 10 hours. Woohoo! Gotta love medical care these days!

I went through chemo and radiation, but, I will save those experiences for another post.

Good Morning.


Big Sis said...

Reb: Good for you for fighting the good fight, and putting your story out there. I am sure there are lots of women who can relate to your story.

Leah J. Utas said...

Good for you for telling the story. I'm looking forward --if I can put it that way --to reading the rest of it.

Reb said...

Well, thank you both, I don't think I could have done it while I was actually going through it, but distance has put some perspective to it.

I'll even include a bald picture for you Leah.

Hilary said...

Very brave of you to tell your story. Thanks for that.

Reb said...

Thanks for dropping by.