Interesting title. So, let me tell you how it came into my ears today.
As a reader of this blog, you know that my sister, Ansley, died a year and a half ago from breast cancer. Even though we have no familial history of cancer, let alone breast cancer, except for Ansley, who was diagnosed premenopausal, I am in what is considered a "high-risk" category (20-25% chance of cancer in her lifetime). Therefore, I have been told to not only begin the process of yearly mammograms, but to add to it a yearly breast MRI. This was my third year of a mammo and my second year of MRIs. Every year I get a little uptight, a little anxious for these tests In my mind, the threat of cancer always seems to be like a pack of hunting dogs heading to me in the distance.
Thankfully, this year's mammogram came back normal. Two weeks ago I had my MRI at 10:15am. At 2:00pm, my phone rang, caller id said: Breast Center of Greensboro. I said out loud to a dear friend, "Well, this can't be good," but thought it would be about insurance. I was informed that there were changes in this MRI in comparison to last year. Three areas were showing an increase in contrast. (Atypical/cancer cells take an increase in contrast therefore they "light" up more on the scans.)
They recommended that I come in for an ultrasound and biopsy, if they weren't able to locate an area large enough, I would need to have an MRI-assisted biopsy.
Say what? My heart sank, tears were in my eyes and I had to seriously fight to control my emotions which were racing.
As we were leaving for Ocracoke the next day, I was not thrilled at the prospect of waiting. I mentioned that to the doctor. She offered for me to come to her office right away for the ultrasound and possible biopsy. Off I went, making calls to family along the way.
My mom met me in the lobby and it was extremely hard not to let our emotions take control. There were so many levels of remembrance for us and they were all coming back.
The ultrasound did not pick up anything large enough to be testing, which was good news. Small, actually nothing in size, is good. However, the doctor continued to recommend having an MRI core biopsy done.
So, today I went to have this procedure done. After consulting with the doctor who was performing this procedure, I came to the understanding that in my case, even atypical cells (even if non-cancerous) tend to grow, at some point, into cancer. Most likely, if that is the diagnosis, they will need to be removed.
The procedure itself was long due to the scanning before, during and after the procedure. It was uncomfortable (laying perfectly still for nearly an hour), painful with three long sticks of numbing medicine and bizarre (sensation of a bug-like object in your breast). The original intent was to take one biopsy at a location on the bottom left side. However, after the first set of scans, the doctor told me that she would like to go ahead and do two biopsies because of the spot on the top. I hear that news while laying flat on my stomach, boobs hanging free-fall through openings in the table and unable to move.
After the procedure was over, I asked why she decided to take the additional biopsy. She said, "because the location at the top was considerably more worrisome and I don't want to have to go in again." Yay for her proactivity. Pooh for that description.
After that appointment I had to go back to their main office to get a mammogram done.
I know - what? During the biopsies, they inserted two tiny clips in the exact areas where they took tissue. That way, if a surgeon has to go in to remove anything, he/she will know exactly where to go. And yes, they will remain in my body - forever. A little odd, but she didn't think anything about it. Unfortunately, that was really not a pleasant experience as I started bleeding from one biopsy site and had to have all my dressings redone.
I am sure that this is all a little shocking and the "it just can't be" response is probably there as well. I am good. Really good, in fact. This is going to sound a little crazy, but I think this is going to be pretty easy. It certainly has been caught early - way ahead of Ansley. I will, most likely be a stage 0 or stage 1. I can get this all behind me and hey...might get a chance of an upgrade! Goodbye sag-city!
So, say a little prayer for me and my family. This is a road we are all-too familiar with and it is uncomfortable at times. The children know nothing and I will keep it that way until absolutely necessary.
Time that I grab another ice pack out of the freezer and take some more ibuprofen. I will end with one of my favorite mantras: God is good all the time and all the time, HE IS GOOD!