Archive for the ‘{02} How, Why, When’ Category

How, Why, When

October 21, 2008

September 30

While Mike and I were sleeping he noticed a lump or bump or something he’s never felt before while we were snuggled up.  He was adamantly concerned the next morning.  I felt around and didn’t notice anything so I kind of pushed the thought aside.  This beginning is an amazing blessing and is very important to us.  In a nutshell, Mike’s “bad feeling” was without doubt or question a gift from God, because still to this day (Oct. 20), no doctor can feel anything abnormal.  Apparently what he felt, and what I felt was “normal” breast tissue; kind of lumpy but nothing a doctor would call out during a routine exam.  One more reason to do self exams now, so you begin to know how they feel.

October 1

Mike’s concern still persisted the next day, which made me more proactive, so I started feeling around more and I kind of felt something different, so I secretly scheduled a “breast check” with my doctor.  ‘Secretly’ because there was no need to make him worry the couple days leading up to the appointment.

October 3

2pm.  “Breast check” with my doctor.  She tells me it feels like normal tissue.  But, because I’m certain that it does feel different, she orders a mammogram.

3:30pm  Mike calls me to see what I’m doing, so I spill the beans about the appointments.  Now he’s worried.

4pm.  Mammogram.  And let me just say, I’ve always heard scary things about how painful mammograms are, and all the internet jokes floating around, and honestly, it was no big deal.

October 6

Mammogram comes back normal, however once again, since I was certain the lump was new, an ultrasound was ordered.

October 9

Ultrasound confirms that there’s a mass, but still the radiologist says it has “some” characteristics of calcification.  He’s not concerned but it doesn’t have “all” the markers of something benign so he orders a needle biopsy just to be sure.

October 14

Needle biopsy is performed.  Now it’s getting a bit scarier.  I hide the few tears.  Once again we have to wait for the results.

October 16

The day.  While Mike was in the shower, the radiologist called with the results.  It’s cancer; invasive duct carcinoma.  I hang up.  I’m stunned.  I pace in the living room, completely dreading what I have to tell Mike.  We cry.

October 17

First thing in the morning we meet with a breast surgeon to discuss my options.  Cancer-words fly around the little exam room;  lumpectomy, radiation, mastectomy, chemotherapy, lymphodema, nerve damage, all are possibilities but nothing is definitive yet.  Mike takes frantic notes, raising his hand to get clarification or to spell a word we’ve never heard of.  The surgeon needs time to consider his recommendation because my case is not clear cut; actually no cases are.  He’s going to confer with colleagues.  We leave with more questions than answers.

October 17-19

The search for a second opinion begins.  If I were to buy a book I usually check a couple sources; if I were to buy a car, I’d at least visit a few car lots, so it was natural to plan for a second opinion.  But honestly, where do you begin?  We started joking about checking the yellow pages or Craigslist.  How do you find the best doctor for your situation?  Well, first we started praying a lot for the doctor for me to be put in my path and we started calling our network of friends and acquaintances.  What came back was another huge gift!  Three excellent sources all referred us to the same doctor.  Thank you!

October 20

Miracles have been abundant all day!  But before I tell you about those, let me share a tip.  Don’t get diagnosed with breast cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October).  Finding an appointment during this time is kind of like calling a CPA in April.

8:30am  I call to make an appointment with my second opinion doctor.  The voicemail message sounds grim; something to the effect of “we’re extremely busy, and we promise to return your call just as soon as we can”.  The term ‘when we can’ sounds more like it might be days rather than hours later.  I leave a message and shamelessly name drop a physician/friends name.  My call is returned in 15 minutes.  {First miracle}

A long list of ‘must haves’ for my appointment is rattled off.  If I do not bring the ‘must haves’ the appointment will be called off.  I call my first doctor to request all of the ‘must haves’, however my notes state that the doctor’s office needs at least 4 business days to gather the ‘must haves’.  Kind of pushing the clock here.  To top it off, my contact at my doctor’s office takes Mondays off.  It just so happens that my contact decided to check her voicemail on her day off.  She calls me back and begins the paperwork process reassuring me she’ll have all of my ‘must haves’ by Thursday.  [Second miracle}