Breast cancer. Bilateral mastectomy. No detectable breast cancer in R breast tissue or lymph nodes from L. Tamoxifen for five years (until June 2022) to starve any rogue breast cancer cells that might want to start a mass in my liver, bones, or brain.
I AM ... keeping this newest development in perspective by sharing it. With lots of people. In one fell swoop. THANK YOU for checking in on me, and if you please pretty please let me know you did, I can send out a kiss and a prayer. All of your thoughts, words, and deeds are gifts that keep on giving. Thank you!
*On October 6, I had stabbing pain in my right breast that worsened through the day and overnight. It became an infection, which cleared with goldenseal, castor oil, fluids, heat, and rest. There was still residual pain two weeks later.
On October 19, I had a mammogram of both breasts and an ultrasound of a lump in my left breast. My breasts are very dense (reported to me by law), my right breast showed numerous calcifications, and the lump was deemed suspicious. A biopsy appointment was scheduled for the next week.
On October 27, Delia drove me to my Needle Core Biopsy appointment so that I could have the Valium. Thank God. They added on a StereoTactic Biopsy, which was actually THREE STBs by the time they were able to penetrate my dense breast tissue and grab a well-calcified bit. Even the well-seasoned nurse said it was a "very difficult procedure," and that I "did very well." Maybe the Valium, maybe the alien abduction UFO-testing aspect of the
experience, maybe Raphael (https://tomkenyon.app.box.com/shared/dobrb8d5u9
) singing (http://tomkenyon.com
) through my brain.
On November 1, I learned that I have cancer cells in both biopsied areas. The calcified bit is ductal carcinoma in situ, and the lump is invasive ductal carcinoma.
On November 11, I had severe pain in my left breast near the STB area. I took Keflex in case it was an infection, and the pain subsided.
On November 15, I had an MRI on both breasts. On November 22, I learned that my lymph nodes are not affected, my right breast is not affected, that there was a hematoma in my left breast, and that my left breast has a "45 mm malignant extent." The lump is the size of one of the walnut plugs Glen bought for me to one day bang into the oak flooring he's been milling and stacking, one day to install! The report also states, "Exam specificity limited by marked background enhancement." That dense breast tissue again. Means that if something shows up, it is definitely something, but just because it doesn't show up doesn't mean it's not there. The other encouraging words are "Definitive surgery recommended," which I did look up on the internet,
to learn that it means "cured by surgery alone," which I interpret as meaning nothing other than surgery might be needed. Cross my fingers.
On December 8, Tricia and I met with Dr. Davenport. I LOVE HER. And yes: "bilateral mastectomy, removal of sentinel nodes on L, no reconstruction," something of a euphemism for "amputation of both breasts and leaving them flat." Currently scheduled for Wednesday, January 18, 2017.
*Another beginning can be found on October 1 (and the cancer was massing long before that). At an Embodied Feminine retreat that day, I found myself frozen and unable to follow the suggested instructions of touching/massaging my own breasts to follow up on the lymphatic qigong we had already practiced. Later that day, describing to Glen (for the first time) the flashback / panic attack that followed, I had to work hard to form and vocalize the words "my breasts." Four days later all I could say or think was "breast, breast, breast, breast, breast." And now they are going away. Healing comes in unexpected ways.