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May 6, 2018 Latest post:
Sep 16, 2018
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place on Michelle's surgery and recovery. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. If you are inquisitive like Michelle please feel free to read the details of Michelle's breast cancer diagnosis below.
In December I felt a lump that was a little painful so I thought it was hormone related. When the lump was still there in January I said to Steve I should probably get this checked out. In February I noticed some asymmetry to my left breast so I made an appointment with my regular physician. She did not know what it was so she sent me for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. Waiting for the appointment was the longest 2 weeks of my life - it was originally 4 weeks until the appointment but thankfully they needed to change because they double booked. The diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound did not show anything but dense breast tissue. The radiologist could feel the lump but did not think it was hard enough to be cancer. Although he did say that 5% of breast cancer is not seen on mammogram or ultrasound so he referred me to a breast surgeon. Another 1 1/2 week wait for that appointment, the breast surgeon sent me for an MRI to find out what it was. I had the MRI the next day and was told that afternoon the lump was suspicious and I needed a biopsy. They wanted to start conservative so ordered an ultrasound guided biopsy. This did not make sense to me because the lump could not be seen on ultrasound but they thought since they knew where the lump was on MRI that they had an area to focus the ultrasound and maybe see something. Again a little confusing since they could feel but not see on ultrasound but I was willing to try something a little less invasive.
The biopsy was done 5 days later and the radiologist thought he was in the right spot. Before he even started he said if this comes back benign you still need to have more testing done; this statement had me really worried. The biopsy came back negative so they called it discordant, which means the MRI showed something but the biopsy did not match. I then was informed I needed an MRI guided biopsy; I was leaving for Florida the next day so this needed to wait until I returned from the Florida sun. During this waiting time I read a lot about discordant results and was convinced it was going to come back as cancer. I did enjoy Spring Break with Caleb, Hannah, and Steve at my mom's and then when we returned we needed to quickly get ready for our German exchange student. Our German exchange student came on Tuesday and I had my MRI guided biopsy on Wednesday. Right away they were able to tell the first biopsy was not done in the suspicious area so not considered discordant. This radiologist started by saying she was very concerned about this area. So again had me worried. The MRI was no fun and the MRI guided biopsy was definitely no fun! On Thursday I was diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ, estrogen and progesterone receptor positive.
The tumor is 9cmX5cmX3cm, this makes it too large for a lumpectomy. My treatment is a mastectomy with sentinel node biopsy. Because of my family history of breast and ovarian cancer I had testing done for the breast cancer gene. Thankfully for me and my children they came back negative. After a lot of thought and consideration I have decided to have a bilateral mastectomy to reduce my risk of getting breast cancer again. I was concerned because this could not been seen on screening or diagnostic mammograms. I was also concerned because it grew so fast. I had a breast exam by my gynecologist in January 2017, breast exam by my regular doctor in June 2017, and I periodically do breast self exams with nothing felt until I felt December 2017.