Bad Right Breast

I've Always Hated My Right Breast!

Scans & Results August 25, 2011

Filed under: MRIs and Scans — Bad Right Breast @ 9:12 pm

First of all, I thank each of you for your support, prayers & words of encouragement.

Yesterday was another ‘event’, and why shouldn’t it be? No day is ever dull for me. I’ve worked with killer whales, chinese ambassadors, Broadway shows and farms for pete’s sake!

So MRI’s? Why the loud banging? The melodic combination of car alarms, machine guns & nuclear bomb alarms for 1/2 an hour. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like if they didn’t give me ear plugs. They gave me an IV for sedation if needed, but I passed out anyways no matter the sirens marking the end of the world surrounding me. But before I continue, i need to put an image in your head….

You assume an MRI is lying on your back & you enter this claustrophobic chamber, right? Oh no. For a breast MRI, you climb up on your knees, back facing the machine. You open your robe and support yourself going down in a semi-plank position, until you fit each breast into, what i call, its own ‘tune in tokyo’ contraption. Seriously. Then the nurse wiggles each breast to ensure they’re in correctly. Ok, now you should close your eyes and picture it. Go ahead. It’s alright to giggle. I sure did!

After I was done, I went down for the PetCT scan. Another IV for sugar to stun my system (after my previous day of low carbs/no sugar, and not having eaten anything 6 hours before or drink anything 4 hours before), then I drank this shake to ‘highlight’ my intestines. I thought, oh this little cup is nothing. The tech gave me what he said was the best flavor, mocha-chino. I can’t imagine how bad the strawberry, banana or others are because mocha-chino tasted like ass, but a little cup, no problem. He shows me to my own little medical cell (4×4 room) with a recliner and space heater to warm my body up, hands me the rest of the shake (almost a 1/4 gallon). Tells me to drink the rest, and that he’ll be back in an hour. Thank goodness I brought my laptop to work!

He returns, has me empty my bladder and remove my bra. I do so, and he again asks if I’m wearing any metals, including hair tie. Then I lie down, and he starts to fill my IV with the radiation fluid. Warns me that my mouth will taste like metal and I’ll feel a warming sensation go through my body, starts at my head through my torso. When it reaches my bladder, it’ll feel like I’m peeing, but I’m not. And boy was he right, what a sensation! Then he straps me in like a mummy and tells me to go to sleep. An hour and half later, I’m done.

My Chief Doc calls me soon after to tell me my MRI came back fine, so left breast is clear. And then called me this morning to tell me the PetCT came back with what looks like arthritis in my lower back. Don’t be freaked out, doesn’t think it’s cancer, but wants to do a back MRI (on Tuesday) to get more details before schedule the surgery. Um, doc, have you not noticed my DDs? Of course I have stress, pain, arthritis in my lower back!

More waiting, wondering, planning, and still working. If it weren’t for a little thing called Hurricane Irene, I would have biked to work today! Still feeling healthy despite the cancer in my right tata!

Love you all.
Laurie

 

Our Last Two Months August 22, 2011

Filed under: chemotherapy,mastectomy,radiation — Bad Right Breast @ 4:19 am

Dear Family & Friends,

As some of you may know, but most of you not, the past couple of months have been a worldwind.

Less than a week ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I found a lump early July, waited a few weeks to confirm that it didn’t go away (and I wasn’t crazy!), & then got a mammogram & sonogram that confirmed something was ‘suspicious.’ I then had 4 biopsies done, 3 of which came back as invasive carcinoma, one of which is in my lymph nodes. I waited to post any news til I saw a specialist, which happened this morning.

Needless to say I feel so comfortable with my team that I’m not even waiting for a 2nd opinion, because as you can imagine the waiting is nearly just as horrible.  Dr. Estabrook is amazing & my kinda gal. No nonsense, didn’t rush us, answered all of our questions. Good news is that my tumors are estrogen positive, which means they’ll be receptive to estrogen blocker pills. I’m starting on that today to shrink the tumors, and will continue on them for another 5 years.

Because of the 2 tumors in the breast, I’ll need a masectomy. Because of the tumor in my lymph node I’ll need chemo, but we won’t know the extent until I get more tests. I’ll get a left breast MRI on Wednesday to confirm it doesn’t have any tumors (would know results after 3 hrs). And then I’ll get a pet-scan to confirm there’s no cancer anywhere else in my body. I gave blood for them to analyze today, so along with the MRI she’ll be able to give an estimate of the stage of cancer.

Because of the high risk of cancer in my family I’m testing for the cancer gene on 9/9 but the results take 3 weeks. She said I could wait for the cancer gene results & left breast MRI results to see the current possible outcome of the left breast before opting for a double masectomy. However, I’ve chosen to not wait any longer and to go ahead and do both. This isn’t something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of days, or the past month. With the amount in my family, and especially now having kids, I don’t want to live my life constantly worrying if it’ll ever come back & be in and out of chemo forever. Ten years down the road, I don’t want to have to go through this all over again. She said it’s what she’d recommend in my case but never wants to come out and immediately suggest it, and that she talked with my doc already & they both agreed.

So this note isn’t just an update on this horrible incident happening. I found it because I did a self-exam (3 months after my GYN did my annual). I listened to my body. I was already scheduled to get annual mammograms because of my family history, but the self exam pushed me to make that appointment that much earlier. Right now, I want each of you who read this, women & men, to think about the last time you examined yourself & do it now!

I’ll be fine. This sucks more than anything. But on the bright side of things, I’ll get that breast reduction surgery alot earlier than planned, get a great weight loss program started, and maybe even get a tummy tuck to boot! (But not my butt, I like that part of me way too much:)

And if anything, this is just another part of life that makes me put it all into perspective. I’ve always known I’ve had friends & family that love me, but you truly don’t realize the depth until you hit a low that’s unimaginable. I love you all, and looking forward to you watching me kick cancer’s ass.
Bad news? I fucking hate pink!

With much love and inspiration,
Laurie