Tuesday, January 22, 2013

diagnosis

Blog3_largewaiting is hard.  welcome to breast cancer rookie, a blog created as a result of my recent breast cancer diagnosis. if this surprises you, then we're simpatico, it surprised me too.  so far what i've learned about a breast cancer diagnosis, is that waiting is the hardest part.  back in october, which seems like a long time ago now, i got a call back on a routine mammogram.  (it's january now, still waiting)  there was something suspicious enough to warrant another look.  this was a thursday.  they wanted me to come in the next day for a 'diagnostic mammogram.' (i thought all mammograms were diagnostic?) this is another thing about being a rookie.  you learn new things all the time.  the diagnostic mammo showed 'microcalcifications in a linear formation,' suspicious enough to warrant a biopsy.  i had never heard of these before.  i only thought breast cancer meant a lump was discovered.  (rookie)  they said 'we need to do a stereotactic biopsy.' (another new term)  i said ok.  everything that's happened since then has led to my current breast cancer rookie status.  so far we know that the cancer is dcis (ductal carcinoma in situ)  (new term)  in situ means 'in place'  who knew? not me.  but now i do!  this is a good thing, as breast cancer goes, so i'm told, because it means it hasn't traveled outside of the breast, which makes it non invasive.  at least that's what they think so far. (still waiting)  they won't know until 'final pathology'  (feeling like a med student yet?)  with dcis, the cancer is removed surgically, as mine was in early december.  the plan was to proceed to radiation after site healed. external beam, 33 days. (so much learning!)  but pathology showed margins not clear.  i knew what this meant.  this meant i really was a cancer patient, even though i didn't feel like it at all, i had to be reminded.  i even had to practice saying it to myself before i could say it out loud. i'd say it in the laundry room, or when i was driving, or in the shower. but it came out in the 3rd person, 'katy has cancer,' not 'i have cancer.' i somehow couldn't internalize it.  (rookie)  i became a patient of dr. harry bear at massey cancer center in richmond.  that's his real name, harry bear, and he is tough but adorable, and i am grateful and in love with him and massey.  i hope no one reading this ever gets breast cancer, but if you do, massey rules.  dr. bear became my new doctor only after i was finally able to appreciate the gravity of a breast cancer diagnosis.  it took me a little while, like i said.  dr. bear did a second procedure to clear margins.  this time it wasn't a lumpectomy, it was a 'segmental mastectomy,' more tissue taken than before, down to chest wall.  i don't know if this is correct, but in my mind, i picture it like a slice of cheesecake, say between the hours of four and six on a clock.  i felt like a little less of a rookie after that, but still.  after this second attempt, margins are still unclear.  learning this was a real *wtf* moment but there are many of those i've discovered as i've gone along.  tomorrow dr. bear will make 3rd attempt at achieving clear margins.  in true rookie lexicon, we appreciate his attempt to step up and swing again.  i figured i'd share the story of a breast cancer rookie only so i can hopefully put a voice out there to someone reading who may one day find herself in similar rookie territory. (though i hope not). i have  been mentored, as rookies are, by more than a few breast cancer sluggers, who have lent their voices (and hearts) to me.  it's their open heartedness that made me wonder if maybe i could help someone too by sharing here.  i hope so. there's a way to subscribe to this blog if you like, in order to receive email updates re postings. it appears near bottom of page, (i hope it works, it should), if not, feel free to visit breastcancerrookie.blogspot.com  xx katy    


6 comments:

  1. Hey KT -- I enjoy your writing! The Cancer Police, discuss amongst yourselves. Cancer SUCKS.
    Fight like a grrrrlll! XO DMG

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  2. OK...I really have noooo idea why my comment above was posted with the name "oogabooga". LOL Seriously.

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  3. love you momma!

    gracie

    from work

    doing nothing

    help

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  4. Katy baby, you are the bomb!!! YOU are the rock star, and the godfather is your backup singer. YOU will lead this fight; YOU are in charge, YOU will conquer! The rest of us got your back. We've talked, cussed, threatened, and have been strong for each other, and have a different bond that only those who go through trials and tribulations have. I am there for ya sista. ROCK ON.

    LOve ya bunches,Shel

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  5. Awesome blog Katy! You got this girl! You are gonna kick cancer's ass!!!!! :-)

    <3 Tanya

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  6. Love your writing Katy! Sorry about the BC shit! Fight girl, you will be fine....let's keep in touch.
    Michelle
    www.pammenteryoung.com

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virginia, United States