Wednesday, March 4, 2009

MRIs - like a bad guitar lesson

I had my first MRI yesterday. What an experience. I had forgotten a CD to listen to during the procedure, but it didn't matter. Anytime the MRI was running, it was so loud, I couldn't even hear the annoying classical music piping through my headphones!

All I could think of was that I was at a rock concert for beginner electric guitar players. Each one had found an off-key note that they thought they were playing well and would play it over and over and over again...and VERY loud!!! I am not sure whether it took more or less than 30 minutes, because I didn't wear my watch, however, it was very uneventful.

Today, I found out that I have to go back for additional testing because they found a 3mm "enhancy nodule" near the original cancer spot. I spent all morning worrying that I had more cancer that had spread since they found this nodule very near to the original cancer spot (still waiting for a second opinioon to confirm that spot is cancer). Then I realized that I should call the surgeon's office that told me I had an enhancy nodule to see what it was. Apparently, they are not sure what it is, which is why I am going for a test tomorrow to see what it is, but I've had it for today. I seriously cannot deal with my three kids plus one playdate right now.

I apologized to my husband who is sitting home with strep throat right now, and asked him to watch them all. Well, now my beautiful 3 1/2 year old is sitting and watching cartoons with me, but that is okay, I could use some company!

I know that this is all going to be okay in a few months, and I have been trying to be so positive so far, but I've lost it today. I just want to lay down for the rest of the day and not think about anything. So that is what I plan to do...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Just 5 Days

Who knew that a year could go by in five days. Just five days! Five days ago, I went to have a follow-up mammogram and ultrasound after having my first one the month before. Everyone from my own doctor to the mammogram technician assured me that this was just a follow-up baseline mammogram which happens to a lot of first-timers...

So, five days ago, I had the mammogram, breast pressed as flat as a pannini (thanks to Honestly and Sincerely for that graphic description!). Then, some waiting. Then, the ultrasound. As the technician was scanning my breast, I asked her, "So, I guess you don't take any pictures if you don't see anything." She said, "yes", and not a minute later, she took a picture of something.

The tech said she just wanted to show it to the doctor, no big deal. I had a good book that I had started, The Border of Truth by Victoria Redel, so I didn't mind waiting. The tech comes back. I need to consent to some needle in my breast. It will only take 10 seconds for the procedure and 30 minutes to get the results. "Okay, but can I keep reading my book until we start?" The tech said yes. So, I had a fine needle aspiration biopsy. It did hurt, even in my tricep muscle, but it was over fairly quickly. Back to the waiting room and more reading!

Then they press my boob some more and more waiting. More book, so no problemo.

Then, the doctor calls me into an office. She asks me how I'm doing and I said that I'd be fine as long as she said I was okay. Then she tells me that the test came back positive. I was always a good student, but this was one time I was hoping to hear I had failed. I was too emotional to ask the details and she even told me that I wouldn't remember anything anyway. The only other thing I remember her saying is that breast cancer is curable.

Then, some nurse comes in and tells me that I need to find a surgeon and have an MRI and my treatment could be anything from hormone therapy to lumpectomy with radiation to mastectomy. I was FLOORED. I mean, I have other health problems in my family and would have expected any of those as a possibility, but not breast cancer!

I mean, if there is anything on my body that I am really attached to, not just physically but emotionally, it is the ladies. And, these are no girls, but these ta-tas are my ladies. 34DD, thank you very much! They are even big enough that they extend out farther than my 3 c-section belly that I haven't tried to get rid of yet! So, to tell me that there was something wrong with the ladies, was VERY upsetting!

I think I spent the rest of the days in tears and schock. I know my 3 year old (I also have a 4 1/2 year old and 16 month old) has been sensing it since then. She surely has been acting differently since then!

But this has just been such a whirlwind since then. Thankfully, but unthankfully, my husband, Rob, has an aunt who just had breast cancer surgery last year. So, Rob called her on Thursday night to get a list of her surgeons.

So, by Friday morning, I was calling doctor's offices. They were asking all sorts of questions about what kind of cancer I had, and I just kept telling them that I had a 5mm spot on my left breast at the 2:oo position. I didn't even know how many different types of breast cancer there were. Still, everyone was (and still is) so helpful and gentle. You mention the word "cancer" and people really do want to make things easy on you. I think I spent the entire day talking to people, telling my friends and family the story over and over again. By the end of the day, I had an MRI scheduled for Tuesday and an appointment with a surgeon for late in the month.

I was still a wreck, but at that point, I just realized that fear was not going to make this go away. That waiting was not going to make this go away. And, while I hold out a slight glimmer of hope that the diagnosis was incorrect (waiting for the second opinion), I know that standing still is not an option. So, now I know that I will make myself available for any poking and prodding, and questioning and waiting. I have three little kids and the most awesome and supportive husband I could ask for. Right now I am totally ready to say goodbye to my ladies who have brought me pride all these years and replace them with newer models. In fact, a surgeon is going to have to do quite a convincing act to prove to me that something other than a double mastectomy will give me 100 percent certainty that I will not have breast cancer again. But, I promise to keep an open mind and get second opinions and the like.

I know breast cancer is curable. I know my doctor, who sent me to get my first mammogram at 37 because my breast tissue was dense and wanted me to get a baseline for the future, was as surprised as I was at this outcome. I am greatful to my doctor for being proactive, because even my OB-GYN didn't catch this nor saw any reason to send me for a mammogram. I feel somewhat silly for making this such a rush for such a small mound of bad stuff, because there are women out there in much worse situations than I am, but I know that no matter how small the mass is, it needs to come out asap.

Whew! Enough for tonight. Like I said, last Thursday (and it is Tuesday now) seems like a year ago. I am glad I was able to remember as much detail as I did. I'll keep you posted with my progress. Next blog, I will take the role of Debbie Downer and tell you all the crappy things that have happened to me in the past year. My only sibling, my brother, died a year ago. This fall, I had a miscarriage at 6 weeks (really, I didn't want more kids, but once I had accepted I was having a 4th child, I had a miscarriage), this winter, my husband took a package and got laid off from his company, a month ago, my 15 month old lost the tip of her left ring finger when another kid slammed a door on her hand (she should be okay, but being right there, I felt like I was in a horror film...) I think that's enough for the past 12 months, right? But I have awesome kids who make me laugh every day. And I know my husband will find a job, but I am so glad he is home right now. If he was working his crazy hours, how would I get through this crap???

AND finding out I have cancer puts all the other crap into perspective. So, yay for cancer giving me a better outlook on what's important! Screw that! Couldn't god have found some other way to teach me this lesson???