Monday, January 10, 2011

The biopsy results are in

Today my wait was finally over as the biopsy results are in. Assuming that the doctor obtained a representative sample during the procedure (and as I unfortunately know all too well, this could be an erroneous assumption), the news is good. The pathologist says the tissue shows only benign changes. I vaguely remember the nurse who called me saying something about "ductal stroma" and "hyperplasia" but with my chemo-battered brain's short term memory problems, I'm not sure until I see a copy of the written report. In any case, apparently the pathologist saw no signs of cancer in the sample, which is definitely a good thing.

Nonetheless, I am only guardedly optimistic, as I've heard this kind of thing before and it was a false negative back then. So I am still contemplating having a prophylactic mastectomy on the right side. I just don't know how many more false alarms and unnecessary biopsies I can take. Having long, thick needles shoved into very sensitive body parts just isn't that much fun for me, and neither is waiting for the biopsy.

But at least there is no urgent news for further surgery, and no other treatment imminent. I am very, very grateful for that!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The fun just never ends...

So I hadn't posted in a while, hoping that all that cancer stuff was slowly but surely behind me, despite the occasional scares and worries. But then, with cancer, the fun never really ends...and I sure got a reminder of that.

In late December, I went to my annual mammo and sono. The weekend before, I had noticed some tenderness in my one remaining boob, and felt a funny, hardened area when I checked out the sore spot. So I was sure to let the technicians and doctors know about it when I went for my routine appointment. The mammo came back clear. Initially, the soon looked clear, as well. But since I had noticed something there, the radiologist gave me a breast exam (though she couldn't feel anything abnormal) and checked the area with the ultrasound over and over.

Well, and if you check thing out thoroughly enough -- you guessed it! -- you eventually find something. In this particular case, a one centimeter suspicious mass. This, of course, meant that they immediately scheduled me for a core biopsy. Due to the holidays, the first available date I could get for that was today. Oh the fun wait over the holidays is just hard to describe.

Anyway, I went for my biopsy today and what fun it was. At first the radiologist tried an aspiration, just in case it was a cyst. It wasn't, so she moved on to the core biopsy. I was grateful that she numbed me up pretty thoroughly, but still it wasn't exactly a walk in the park. Apparently it was really close to the chest wall and tough to get to, so I had to reposition myself and roll over the examination table several times, all while they have some nice large needles shoved into my boob. Oh, did i mention that as soon as they were done shoving needles into me they noticed that i was nicely red and flushed? No crash cart this time, just a Benadryl and then it was off to the mammo confirming the placement of the clip that now marks the biopsy site, and finally a few extra minutes of observation with the nurse. As I said, the fun just never seems to end...

I am resting comfortably now, icing the sore area for about fifteen minutes every hour and taking it easy.

Now it's on to the post-biopsy wait, with results expected in 3-4 days. Since I assume we're talking working days here, I guess that means sometime early next week. Keep fingers crossed...!