By Nicole Hand
When I originally wrote my blog description - 'My attempt to stay happy (& brave) in the face of jaw surgery & anything else life wants to chuck at me' - I had no idea that life would be throwing a big and scary curve ball at me so soon. I have to have a lumpectomy next week.
Lots of family and friends will be reading this post, so I will break one of the cardinal rules of suspenseful writing and tell you right now: I do NOT have breast cancer! I don't know what I have, but it's not cancer as of now. Here's the low down:
I had a mammogram the week before my jaw surgery. The day after jaw surgery I received a call saying that my doctor was worried about my mammogram. (Worst luck. Try recovering from surgery while worrying about your mammogram results. Not fun, people.) I had to go in for another mammogram and also an ultrasound. The doctors were still worried, so then I had to have a ***biopsy. I was of course hoping that would be the end of it, but it isn't. I now have to have the lump removed.
(*** Ladies - if you ever have to have a breast biopsy INSIST on a prescription for pain killers. My poor boob is still bruised and green a week and a half after the biopsy. The biopsy was far more painful than the jaw surgery.)
The reason I have to have surgery (lumpectomy) is they aren't sure what the lump is. It could be one of two things, and one of the things is worrying.
1. Fibroadenoma - in which case, break out the champagne and party! A fibroadenoma is nothing to worry about.
2. Phyllodes Tumor - if it is a phyllodes tumor it could become cancer later. Phyllodes are classified as benign, borderline, and malignant. If if it is borderline or malignant, then it is bad.
Apparently, when a biopsy is sent out, it is sent to several different pathologists. If the pathologists agree on what the tissue is, they send the results back to the doctor. My pathologists did not agree on what my tissue sample was. So they sent my sample to more pathologists and they couldn't come to a conclusion either. None of them could say 100% that the lump is #1 or #2 - so the lump has to come out.
My doc says that the pathologists think it is "probably" a fibroadenoma, but there is no way of knowing until they remove the lump.
I have an appointment tomorrow (Wednesday) with my breast doctor to talk about the surgery. Tom will be coming with me to give me support and to also ask his own questions.
The lumpectomy will be Tuesday, June 12. It is an outpatient procedure, so I will be able to sleep in my own bed Tuesday night (yes!). The doctor has been honest and has told me that it will be very painful afterwards - so I will be taking a few days off of work.
That's all I've got for now in terms of 'fact.' Now for some feelings stuff - I'm scared. That about sums it up.
Deep down, I don't believe that I have breast cancer or something that has the potential to become cancerous, but it is still scary as hell. And my gawd this is a lot to handle right now. I went from being someone who has never had a major medical or surgical procedure, to someone who after next week will have: 1 jaw surgery, 2 mammograms, 1 ultrasound, 1 biopsy, and 1 lumpectomy. Phew!
I'll be writing more later on what all of this has taught me and how I am dealing with the stress of waiting, but for now, know that I am okay. I'm going to get through this and I'm going to live this big, beautiful life that I have been given with more joy and an increased awareness of how incredibly lucky I am.
If you have the urge to worry about me, don't. It won't do me any good, and it certainly won't do you any good. Instead of stressing just send me some love. We could all use more love.
Note: Couldn't resist posting the new Pixar poster for their upcoming movie, Brave. She looks a bit like me, and I'm definitely channeling Merida's courageous spirit right now.
*** Update: Great news!!! The mass was benign. Will write more about this experience later.