Better Late Than Never…

Kinda how I’d been feeling.  Image by bjpop, http://www.flickr.com/photos/scrambles/522938963/

Kinda how I’d been feeling.
Image by bjpop, http://www.flickr.com/photos/scrambles/522938963/

When we last visited, I think we were dealing with the stress and worry during the time between talking to the surgeon and a biopsy that I found out I was going to have.

On the morning of the procedure I went to the office to get about an hour’s work done before I meandered to the other end of the building to go through the admitting process. My husband was with me, and it was pretty apparent that Mr. Don’t-Worry-Until-I’m-Worried (which is his usual stance pertaining to any stressful situation) was starting to show a few cracks on the exterior of his unflappable facade. It’s bad when the girls I work with notice it.

So we got through the admitting process, checked in at the Radiology desk where the nicest people in the world work (have I mentioned how much I love the people in our Radiology department?), and found ourselves in the exam room with two more people that I can add to the “People I Pass in The Hall Regularly That Have Seen My Tits” list.  Damned if one of them isn’t one of the gentlemen who attended the same church as my kids when they were involved in the youth groups there some years back. Great guy. Really…Just not someone I had ever imagined would ever get to ultrasound one of my boobs.

Okay…long story shorter…there was some confusion as to whether the procedure was actually necessary, so the radiologist needed to confer with Dr. Stockton, and by now, I was a basket case because
a) I’d been worrying myself stupid for the past week;
b) I halted all use of my vitamins, minerals, fish oil, ibuprofen, supplements, etc. for the week prior and REALLY could have used some ibuprofen the evening that I slipped on the wet floor and busted my ass getting out of the tub during that time frame, and If I avoided it for nothing, boy was I going to be mad; and
c) ZOMG, people! Don’t you understand I might have cancer and I have this family history, and I have been practically petrified with fear because of how my stupid mind works and you are HONESTLY thinking about NOT doing this so I can leave just as stressed as I came in, probably more so, because instead of getting results in a week I won’t get results at all and we’ll just follow up with another ultrasound in six months and I can worry about the potential time bomb in my boob, and would you do this if I were your wife/sister/girlfriend/mother?????

SHARP INHALELONG EXHALE

Yes, that is pretty close to what it sounded like to be in my head at that particular point in time. They said if I wanted to do it we could still go ahead and do it. (And by now, you can probably safely assume the rest of the internal dialogue going on in my head plus swear words…)

Now, some of you know I have a love of tattoos and I have absolutely no problem getting them. Which is kind of contradictory of how I feel about needles in general, since I was plenty wigged out about a long needle going into my boob. They told me they were going to numb the area, and to prepare for a “little stick” and some “burning,” which I never experienced. I mean, I kept waiting for it, and nothing happened, so I finally had to ask them when they were going to do it, and apparently they already had. Win-win!

So the “real” needle went in, and I was watching the ultrasound screen upside down because I needed something to look at to keep my mind off of the fact that I had a huge needle sticking out of me, as they wouldn’t let Johnny stay with me. While they were talking about it, we were all looking at this odd jelly-bean shaped mass on the screen, the needle on the screen (and yes, I do know it was the same needle that I was wearing-it was just easier to view it as a separate entity), and and then the jelly bean simply…deflated…for lack of a better word. Seriously! It just shrunk and went away.

…and how I felt later that day...

…and how I felt later that day…

That was what the radiologist was looking for. They got what they needed for pathology and told me that I could actually stop worrying at that point, because he was confident enough to say, even without the benefit of a pathology report, that this was a benign cyst. That was a great big mental, “WHEW” for me. Actually, it might have been out loud.

I went home in a sports bra, anxious to get that bag of frozen baby lima beans I’d purchased for this occasion stuffed right on in there, because whatever they numbed me with was starting to beat a hasty retreat. I thought about posting an update blog with what was happy news, but thought better of it. I mean, I still had to go to the follow up appointment with Doc Stockton the following Tuesday to get the “official” results, and I am just superstitious enough to think that if I posted beforehand, something would go wrong and I’d end up retracting any happy statement I made. I decided to wait.

The following Monday, which was the day before my follow up, I got a call from the surgical office. I was being rescheduled because we were expecting snow (and quite a lot of it) the following day, and the office was closing early. Could I come the following Tuesday? Sure.  Why not? I wasn’t in a huge hurry, since I was fairly certain things were good to go. As it turns out, the weather didn’t make it’s appearance till almost five o’clock the next day, but when it did? Wow! I haven’t seen snow on the ground like that in quite some time.

So let’s fast forward to the actual appointment.

I got the path results. No malignancies (yay!), and some wonky cells, so we still get to go and revisit the ultrasound department in six months. I’m pretty okay with that. I’d rather keep an eye on things every six months or so. To me? It’s all about the peace of mind, baby! 😉

So that’s it for now. Nothing to tell, which is good. I have never been so happy to have nothing to tell you than I am right now.

In other news, I’ve started a new lifting program. I’m one week in out of twelve. I hope to review this in another week or so. Stay tuned!

Until next time…

Hurry Up & Wait…

So …

I derped on the surgical consult date. They told me the 14th, which I thought was yesterday, but it is today, actually, LOL…which is why I didn’t post anything last night. Could you see the blog title now? “Derp…” Content: I got my dates wrong, LOL.

Wondering what is going on? Hit this installment of Random Musings

Kind of where my head is right now...

Kind of where my head is right now…

So Johnny picked me up from the office and got me to the doc’s office with time to spare, which was good, because…well…paperwork. After I knocked that out, we sat in the waiting room for about ten or fifteen minutes. I was anxious…I don’t do the unknown too well. I found out quickly that the only thing worse than killing time in the waiting room is sitting in the exam room with an itchy, paper vest on, waiting for the doc to come in. I told Johnny if he ever wanted to know what that was like I would staple some printer paper together and fashion a vest for him to wear. It was also cold.

Dr. Stockton, whom I’d never met, but  have seen in the halls at work, shook our hands and went to work. When he told us the suspect mass couldn’t be felt, I asked how could he NOT feel it! Well, what I had been originally worried about turns out to be a cyst, as was the area my everyday doc had been worried about. No, this was something new…A mass that the mammogram and ultrasound saw, but none of us had known anything about. Do what? A THIRD intruder? And this one might be looking to do me harm. I was floored. I think he said something about front, upper quadrant location? I don’t know…I think I might have mentally checked out for a minute…

Long story short, I have this family history, am female, and we have really late menopause on my mom’s side of the family. There are some risk factors, right there. On the plus side, I had my kids before the age of 30, didn’t get my first period early (I was actually a late bloomer and remember feeling like the only freak that didn’t have that problem…), but then, my mom had her kids prior to 30, too. The doc threw out some stats…like one in what? 16-18 women get breast cancer, but with immediate family history, those numbers go to one in SIX women. ONE in SIX? Damn, people….that’s kind of a big deal!

So this is where he started speaking Greek, but I did pick up some familiar words – “Biopsy,” (which, for some reason, always makes me think of that movie, “My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding” where the aunt talks about her “bopsy” – please, might I have a shot or six of Uzo?), ultrasound, and radiology. He told us that in the past couple of years, the old wire biopsies weren’t done much, anymore, in favor of biopsies done with an ultrasound and a very thin needle. I think that’s when I checked out, again. Johnny was paying attention, however. Dr. Stockton is no bullshit. He put it out on the table. Had I not already had risk factors going on, he would have recommended that I simply follow-up with another ultrasound and mammogram in a few months, but…”Please have a seat around the corner and we’ll get you scheduled…”

Now, I’ve had my fair share of scares with lumps and bumps, and have had numerous follow-ups with ultrasound and mammography, but now this shit’s getting real, because we’re talking about needles and the like. (???!!!)

The nice lady behind the window called me up and gave me a list of blood thinners to absolutely stay away from for the next 7 days. Among the listed items are Motrin, Advil, aspirin, fish oil, multi-vitamins, flax seed, naproxin, Exedrin, and a bunch of stuff I’d never heard of. I circled what I’ve taken over the past months (I try to hit my fish oil and multi-vites daily) and signed that I would not hit those from this point until next Wednesday, which was when they scheduled me for the biopsy. Hurry up and wait…

I got back to work, had to do a meeting, talked with my boss, and then had a few spare minutes, so I googled the verbiage I saw on my copy of the radiology orders. I got a vocabulary lesson…

FNA: Fine Needle Aspiration.

Ultrasound Assist: A way to get the “Fine Needle” into the mass if it can’t be felt by guiding the needle by way of the images on the screen.

How much fun will THIS be? Oh…and I have a follow-up with Dr. Stockton (did I mention that I REALLY like him? He rocks the general surgery world, because, again? He’s no bullshit) two weeks from today. Hurry up and wait…

During this time, I’m thinking that alcohol is a blood thinner…But I didn’t see it on the list of things not to consume…Can I drink this week? Because, by now? You know I want some wine, and had actually been thinking that it might have been cool if they allowed wine in my office, because I really was freaked out. During this thought process my phone rang and caller ID showed, “Radiology,” so I snatched the receiver up fast. A nurse was calling to confirm my appointment and we discussed blood thinners. I asked about wine. Wine’s ok. I can even have it up to the night before the procedure. My nurse was really amazing, which didn’t surprise me because our Radiology Department pretty much kicks butt.

Once we got the important stuff out of the way (I’m kidding, by the way) she asked me who would be driving me and did I plan on coming back to work? I asked her if it was okay if I did come back to work. She said I would need ice packs and a comfortable and supportive sports bra. That settled it. I have maintenance guys, Environmental Services supervisors and manager coming around the corner and into my office on a regular basis daily, and the idea of any of them seeing me with a bag of frozen peas on my boob was enough to make up my mind. I will not be returning to my office after the fact.

So this is where we are, and I wanted to keep you posted, because somewhere, now or in the future, someone else will have a boob with a visitor that might be trying to hurt them, and I want this to be a real, first person narrative, no matter how this turns out, so that she who happens stumble upon my related blog posts won’t feel like they are the first or only person to have gone through this.

That said? The idea of a diagnosis doesn’t freak me out as badly as simply not knowing.

Until next time…

Lumps and Bumps

This is going to be long, y’all, and for that I apologize.

New Year’s Eve, 2013:  I was really sore that day. I started a new lifting program the day before that is based on lower weights and higher reps, and during the month prior I had been doing the opposite, so I was rocking some DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) in my triceps and pecs by late afternoon the following day. I was at the office and trying to massage out some of the soreness when I found it; a BB sized lump in the most sore area toward the front of my right armpit.

Crap. Crap, crap, crap.

My doctor’s office had already closed for the holiday, so I knew it would be January 2nd before I could even call and schedule an appointment. I knew better than to worry about it, but my nature being what it is, I worried, nonetheless. We have breast cancer in the family; my paternal grandmother had it, as did my mom. Mom even had it twice. They both beat it in all occurrences. So there’s that. But I’ve been a worry wort pretty much my entire life, so I tried to put this on the back burner and not think about it. Usually the lumps and bumps I find are irregular and sore. This was neither. This was round, hard, and painless (aside from the associated DOMS, LOL…), so that caused me additional concern.

Now, those of you who know me personally also know how my mind works and that I have a tendency to think the worst so when everything turns out okay, I’m surprised and happy. I know how dumb that is, but over the years I’ve almost become superstitious about it. This situation was no different. My mind was zipping ahead to the worst case scenario and thinking about reconstruction (this is on the plus side, given I am still not thrilled with the size of the girls, even after having dropped fifty pounds this year), and how a biopsy or surgery was going to put a kink in my lifting schedule. I know how dumb it is, but on the other side of the coin, if I stop worrying, things will go south. It’s my warped thought process. It is what it is.

January 2, 2014:  I got through to the doc’s office and nailed an appointment at 10:15 that morning. I zipped in and proceeded to be scolded by my doc; I was just under six months late in getting my mammogram, and given our history? Yes, I knew better, but damn, y’all…life happens and time gets away from us. So after my scolding, she checked things out and said, “This is unremarkable.” I’m thinking, “Damn…this is the first time anyone has used the word, ‘unremarkable’ when referring to this area of my body!” She, during the exam, found another area she was concerned about that I wasn’t particularly concerned about. I’ve had a cyst in that region that comes and goes, like several other cysts that I have. I’ve had the one in question for a couple years, and it passed my last mammo, so I wasn’t terribly concerned. She gave me an antibiotic, thinking there was a possibility of an infection in my body somewhere, and told me she was setting me up for my mammo, an ultrasound, and a surgical consult. (????!!!!) I’ve never ever gotten past the mammo part, so the surgical consult part kind of (no, we know “kind of” is a lie) freaked me out. They called me that afternoon and told me I had my radiology-related appointments the following Wednesday, and the appointment with the surgeon the Monday after that. At this point, I just let it go; after all, the area she was concerned with didn’t worry me, and that she wasn’t terribly concerned with the area that I was bothered by…well, it was almost a week until my next step, so best just to let it go.

Image

Appears harmless enough. Don’t let its innocent looks fool you. Ow! But even so, don’t avoid it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014:  Mammo/Ultrasound Day. The mammo started out like every other mammo I have ever had (and I have had them about yearly since the age of 35), but then we got to pay a little extra attention to Righty, and she was pulled and pressed and smashed and just….OW!, okay? I work in the same facility where all of these good times were going down, and I pass my tech in the hall regularly. I know she sees all the boobs, but these are MINE, LOL…She was pretty terrific, and is amazing at her job, so it could have been a lot worse. A good tech makes all the difference in the world. Once we were done, she gave me her card and told me to call her around 12:30 the next day. She said she couldn’t give me the results, but that she does send out the information letters and could tell me which one she was going to send. These letters are basically as follows: “You’re free and clear; no worries,” “Let’s revisit this in a month or two,” and “Get thee to a surgeon.”

Then it was time for ultrasound. My tech was male. (????!!!!) That was a first. So it was just the three of us; the tech, my boob, and me in a darkened room, whereupon we discussed the upcoming 49ers/Panthers game. Squirm squirm. Oh…and squirm. And there’s another face I’ll see in the halls that will have seen my boob.

Once everything was all said and done my boob was sore and not happy, so I called it a day and went home and got a good nap in. The only thing I could do was wait.

Thursday, January 8, 2014:  So after what seemed like an endless morning, I finally got to call in and get my results. I get to go see the surgeon on Monday. “Probably benign, we need to mammo and ultrasound you again in six months, but go ahead and follow up with your doctor and the surgeon just to be sure.”

Not what I was expecting, but not as dire as it could be. So I will kick back, enjoy my 4 day weekend and go visit the doc on Monday morning.

I’ll keep you posted…