Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It is fine, all will be OK

I have a cautionary tale for you, a horror story on my side.  I will not worry you. I am giving you the ending first.  It is not malignant.  It is going to all turn out just fine.

Kaiser ( not the school, our health care company) sent me a reminder to come in for a mammogram. Every two years they have me come in.  I made my appointment for a Friday, had the mammogram, and went home.  On Monday I received a call from Kaiser, they want to do another series of mammograms. I have suspicious shadows. I can't go back to my facility I must go to the Imaging Breast Center in another town.  I was with a friend when I got the call and I fell apart.  She was driving and trying to calm me down at the same time.  She got me home to Marty and they both worked on calming me.

Background.  My family does all types of cancer: skin, liver, brain, lung, stomach, kidney, and many others.  Breast cancer, the women on both sides of the family do this, even the women who marry into the family.  Few have survived.  I was in full panic attack mode.

On Thursday Marty took me to the Breast Center.  It is fabulous in the care you receive.  Very quiet, dim lights, soft music, women walk you from test to test.  Marty waited in an area with me between tests.  There was soft music, coffee, water, and cookies.  Every thing to keep the patient calm. 

I had another series of mammogram.  Still not what they want to see.  Then they did an ultrasound.  That didn't come out good either.  The doctor had explained everything up to that point and he wanted to do a needle biopsy.  I could come back or he would do it right then.  I said to do it right then. He took several samples of the mass.  The results could take up to a week.

We went home to wait.  We told very few people because we had nothing to tell.  Marty who internalizes everything needed to tell some people.  I had my head in the sand and ate chocolate and drank lots of Bourbon. On Monday evening the doctor called with the good news. Not malignant.  It is a papilloma, which he thought should come out.  He wanted me to see a surgeon.

Tuesday the next week we saw the surgeon. That was yesterday.  The doctor gave us the options, explained no biopsy is 100% certain.  I decided to have a lumpectomy.  With the family history this is the smartest move.  The procedure will be done under a local and  twilight sleep anesthetics. They remove the mass, stitch it up, and send me home.  I can pretty much do what I want the next day.

Now we wait for our turn in the operating room.  Breast procedures move to the top of the list, so probably in the next two weeks it will be done.  I will update when I have more details.

So Ladies, have your mammogram on a regular schedule. Men, make sure the women in your life have mammograms.   Don't say it doesn't matter.  It does.  It can save a life.

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