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I'm not sure how or why I decided to poke around on my breast that night. I sorta think perhaps divine intervention? My beast was extremely sore. It was swollen and tender. So I poked around. The second I felt the lump, I knew. Oh, this is bad. We were set to go to Tahoe for New Years so I tried to put it in the back of my mind, but the throbbing pain was a constant reminder. I confided in a friend of my new discovery. She urged me to call the Dr. At first, I fibbed about calling. I knew, however, she was going to bug me about it. So I called.
Jan 4... Dr confirms . Yup there's a lump, but it doesn't feel like the bad kind. She ordered a diagnostic mammogram and ultra sound. Exactly a week later I found myself in the exam room. The mammogram tech was very nice and reassuring. She was even a little chatty, but she got very quiet soon after the screen lit up. She asked me the usual questions, in fact the same exact questions my MD asked followed by "When was your last mammo, honey?" Gulp... "Ahhh 2013?" I immediately explained to her my Dr. told me I didn't need one every year. I felt defensive. Soon after, I was led into the ultrasound room. The tech glided the doppler on my breast. I tried to get a glimpse at the screen, but it was turned away. So there I lay. Silent. I knew. I could hear her typing and measuring. She was concentrating. She was serious. When she was done, she told me she was going to call the Dr. and I needed to wait in the waiting room . Call the Dr? Ugh. So I waited.
After waiting for what seemed an eternity, yes it was freezing cold in my paper top, the tech finally called me in a small room. She confirmed what I already knew. "We do see the lump you are feeling and the Dr. isn't sure what it is, but it is not a cyst. We are scheduling you for a biopsy. Do you have any questions?" I quickly shook my head no and texted my husband. "It's not a cyst" His reply... "Shoot." I think we both knew. I don't know why I didn't ask questions. I guess I wanted to hold on to hope. If they actually told me they were concerned then I wouldn't have hope. So I convinced myself that ignorance is bliss.
Fortunately they were able to get me in for a biopsy pretty quickly. It has now been two weeks since I found my lump. Even though many people assured me it was most likely nothing to worry about, I secretly felt panic. Once again, I found myself lying on the ultrasound table, warm gel squeezed from a tube, ultrasound doppler gliding over my lump. For the first I saw the mass. All I could think was "Holy S$&@t! That thing is huge." I lie there studying the tech's face : lips pursed, she had sweat beads on her forehead. Her face looked concerned. The Dr came in and introduced herself and the procedure. She gestured to the tech to show her the mass. They seemed to be giving each other nonverbal cues. The Dr motioned the tech to check my armpit. Once again they look at each and as if they saying "Ok? Ok." When they say a breast biopsy doesn't hurt... THEY ARE LYING! It hurts. It feels like a nail is being pushed through your breast, then you go numb. They count down the 3 and the biopsy sounds like a staple gun, followed by another sound like hamburger meat being pushed through a syringe. And that's how it goes 6-8 more times (I lost count) I remember thinking "staple gun, hamburger meat, staple gun, hamburger meat" After the procedure the Dr explained the next steps. She asked "Do you have any question?" My head was screaming, " Yes, I have questions!,, Ask her, ask her!!!" I quickly shook my head no. I rushed out to where my hubby was waiting patiently, holding back tears. I walked out knowing what I saw on the screen was not good. Breast biopsy hurt the worst afterward. I don't know why they tell you it doesn't hurt, but it does.
Waiting for your results is torture. My biopsy was done on a Thursday so I had a few extra days to wait and even though I had a sinking feeling, I convinced my friends and family it was going to fine... I mean only 20% of biopsies come back malignant. Right? I'm 46 years old. I'm too young to worry about breast cancer. Right? I did have a little hope that my fear was normal for anyone in my circumstance. A few days later I received a phone call that changed everything.
Have you ever gotten a phone call that actually sucks your breathe out of your body? Well I did... As soon as I heard the words "This is Dr....." I knew. She went on to say "We got your results back and unfortunately it's not good" While I was waiting for results I couldn't help but do research and I couldn't believe that these women on theses blogs and forums remembered their complete diagnosis. Well let me tell you... When you get news like that, you never forget.
So it turns out I have breast cancer. Invasive Ductal carcinoma with a 3.5 cm mass, grade 2... to be exact . I will never forget those words... I was sitting in my car in front of Vitamin City. Now, I had to maintain my composure long enough to drive home to my hubby and tell him the bad news. Of course when I got home he was on a run. I texted him "come home." Several minutes later, he bursts in the door sweaty and pale. I ran into his arms "I have cancer." We cried together for a few minutes. He promised me he wouldn't let anything happen to me. I realized this isn't just my fight, this is OUR fight. This is going to effect my whole family and even my friends.
About three weeks after finding my lump, it was official. I have breast cancer. We soon met with a surgeon. She gave us even more details about the type of breast cancer. I didn't even know there were different types, but apparently there is. She explained that mine is stage 2 because of the size, no signs of lymph node invasion (whew,) but that my bio markers show I'm triple negative. Basically, triple negative is the full monty. It means chemo, surgery and radiation. Even though it is a very aggressive cancer, it response well to chemo and I am very treatable. Remember when I said divine intervention? At some point in all this my lump stopped hurting. What if it never hurt? It would have continued to grow and spread beyond treatable. So, yes, I think God was trying to get my attention. Even though I didn't catch this earlier, I caught it early enough. So, here I am. I've been scanned and MRI'ed, ultrasounded and biopsied. I have finally found an oncologist who I trust. And things are about to get real.