September 17, 2007

Expecting Benign Intervention

I got a call from my doctor today, my OBGYN who I trust implicitly. I’ve been going to him for 16 years. My husband knows him and trusts him. He’s the man.

Evidently what my breast radiologist told me was not 100%. He didn’t lead me astray; he just didn’t tell me the entire picture, the entire picture being that the cyst that is growing now has irregular edges. I told my OBGYN, “This changes my thoughts on all this…”

When he called me he apologized for taking a couple days to get back with me, saying, ‘Bou, I’m sorry. It was Rosh Hashana, I was out and I know this is sensitive…” and I replied, ‘Don’t sweat it. I knew it was the Jewish holiday and I’m NOT freaked about it. Not at all… statistically, I am fine. I know what’s going on.”

And with that, there was a pause and the reply of, “Well, statistically yes, but I don’t like these edges and neither does the radiologist.”


I’m still not panicked, but I’m definitely sitting up straight and listening. The breast surgeon’s office opens at 9. I called at 9:03. His take on things could still be even different than my OBGYN’s and my radiologist’s. He does this enough that he may still take a wait and see approach. I just won’t know until he sees the plethora of films and reports. Then of course if he does give the nod it needs to be done, it could be done via ultrasound and the hole punch or it could be surgical, depending on location.

The cyst is smaller than I thought. I read the reading incorrectly from the ultrasound as I was watching. That’s good news. It’s about 1.5 cm, instead of 2, having grown from just under 1 cm in 15 months.

I can’t feel it. It’s too small for me to feel with its location. Trust me, since they told me it grew, I’ve looked for it about 20 times a day. My OBGYN assured me I didn't miss it on any self exam. He'd not be able to feel this either.

It doesn’t show up on a mammogram. It’s not got any calcification.

This was strictly caught because I always have an ultrasound to coincide 6 months after my mammogram, due to the ‘nodular tissue’ I have in my breasts. I alternate... one mammogram in the beginning of the year and an ultrasound six months later... a mammogram six months after that... and ultrasound following... you get the picture.

So. Do I think I have breast cancer? No.

Am I freaking out? No.

Am I worried? No.

Will I be diligent? Absolutely.

At my age over 30% of women have these fibroids, of those 95% are benign. I know that’s where I fall… within the 95%. But it is irresponsible not to be diligent… too many people depend on me.

I’ll be blogging this not as a catharsis. I’ll be blogging this because I think people need to know the importance of staying in tune with their body and not skipping mammograms and listening to your doctor when he says, “I think you need to get breast ultrasounds with your mammograms every year.” All these things go together, my friends. These are all tools in the toolbox… mammograms, self exams, ultrasounds, biopsies.

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. I’m sure my saga will move right into October. My appointment with the surgeon is on Friday at 1PM. My husband informed me tonight at dinner that he’ll be coming with me. It’s being taken seriously on all accounts. We shall see… we shall see…

Posted by Boudicca at September 17, 2007 06:13 PM | TrackBack

You are a much braver woman than I, as I would be, and have been -- long story, Freak Out City. I look forward to reading your Adventures in Groodie Health and Management. And please let me wish you a positive outcome, replete with healthy, bracing groods and a happy future devoid of evil lumps.

Posted by: Erica at September 17, 2007 06:53 PM

I think I've decided this lump needs to go, home grown or not. I just didn't like the sound of the way he described it. Blech.

It'll all work out. I'm not worried. I just don't want it to become a problem in the future.

Posted by: Bou at September 17, 2007 07:04 PM

Excellent way to think of it. It's good that it's been caught and is getting done early. It was just about exactly 20 years ago that I had a malignant melanoma removed. Whenever these things crop up, it's one step at a time - don't leap ahead. Sounds like you're doing that. Hang in there.

Posted by: Teresa at September 17, 2007 08:24 PM

Heck, I thought it needed to go the moment you said 'lump'. ;)
I'm glad you are dealing with it now instead of later.

One of the hard parts of being adopted is my lack of ancestral knowledge; I get mammograms every year regardless... but it would be nice to know if my birth mother and grandmother had any problems...

Posted by: pam at September 17, 2007 08:29 PM

I went through this at Christmas time. Merry Christmas you have a lump. This is going to sound strange but.... My son found my lump. We were sitting on the couch and he leaned his head back and dropped in on my chest. He hit directly on the lump and I thought I was going to cry. I had the lump removed it was huge (in my mind) Because of the holiday I didn't have the results back for several weeks and that was during Christmas. In the back of my mind I was wondering if this would be the last "normal" Christmas. It all worked out as I am sure it will for you.

Posted by: Lukie at September 17, 2007 09:01 PM

Bou, I'll be thinking happy thoughts for you.

I was 21 when my first abnormality was found. They ruled out anything bad with an ultra sound. But, at 21, that scared the crap out of me.

Family history on mom's side makes me cautious.

Hugs to you, Bou.

Posted by: wRitErsblock at September 17, 2007 09:32 PM

Teresa- I just don't have enough data to be upset about it. I have to take it as it comes at me. The data I do have says its not going to be a problem. I have to rely on that until I hear otherwise. Like you said... one step at a time.

Pam- Its so funny. They have never called it a lump. Never. Odd the things our brains do. I kept hearing fibroid and I thought, "no biggy". If they'd said 'lump', i probably would have reacted differently. fibroid seemed like a known quantity to me. Lump sounds cancerous. But now... well the words they are using are not as nice, so it needs to go. It is time. I have no emotional attachment. My body grew it, they can take it out. My paternal grandmotehr had breast cancer in the 60s and had two radical mastectomies... one for the cancer and one prophelactically. But they do say that something like 80% of breast cancer is not genetic.

Lukie- I'd not have known it was there if they hadn't told me. Its not detectable through feel. My doctors have not been able to feel it when THEY do the breast exam. I will say, if they do remove it, I hope they do not drag their feet on results. Let's just get this over with once and for all.

Writersblock- And thank God for ultrasounds. it was the ONLY thing that picked up this abnormality. The only thing... all the more reason,however, that I know it is benign. I am interested to hear what the surgeon says though. It would be interesting if he said, "Oh! We see this all the time. No biggy..."

Posted by: Bou at September 17, 2007 09:35 PM

My prayers are with you, too. And I'm glad your husband is going with you.

Posted by: Mrs. Who at September 17, 2007 10:00 PM

Hi Bou - I'll ditto the Mrs. and add a hug for good measure. You're in our thoughts and prayers.

Posted by: Bitterroot at September 17, 2007 10:06 PM

My mom has fibroids, calcifications, you name it, so far they've all been benign. But you can bet it makes me hyper vigilant about it. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.

Posted by: caltechgirl at September 18, 2007 12:22 AM

Bou: Good luck with this. It is hard to wait for biopsy news, I know. I'll hold a good thought for you!

Posted by: Peggy U at September 18, 2007 03:06 AM

{hugs} cause I love ya! and cause, even if you are not worried, it is a concern and I'm concerned for you. so, more {hugs}!

Posted by: oddybobo at September 18, 2007 08:03 AM

My mom and my sister have fibrocystic breasts. Somehow I lucked out and don't. Both have had several incidents (my sister's was either late high school or early college - talk about scary). But both are like you - mammogram and six months later ultrasound. So far - so good.

I know you don't know me from Adam (hmm, I guess Eve would be more fitting) but I will be praying for good reports from your doctors.


Posted by: TxAFbrat at September 18, 2007 10:15 AM

SWMBO just went through something similar...repeat mammograms at high magnification, recheck every six months, blah, blah.

You just have to take it one step at a time and not let your imagination run away with you. I belive you're handling it exactly right...and if the good wishes and prayers of your friends have any effect, why, so much the better!

Posted by: Elisson at September 18, 2007 10:25 AM

I still think you should consider getting the bionic boob. ;)

Posted by: Ogre at September 18, 2007 12:00 PM

You're amazingly calm about this whole thing. I'd be as nervous as a wet cat. So if you won't worry, I'll do it for you. --:)) (And I'll be working on thinking positive thoughts too.)

Posted by: George at September 18, 2007 01:52 PM

sweetthing went through this about 10 years ago..and she took the same attitude that you have. I, of course, was worried sick and ready to take my shotgun to the doc's place because they wouldn't do anything NOW damn a bunch of waiting. But it was a cyst, benign, and as you say, something that affects the majority of women as they get older..and some men.

Posted by: GUYK at September 19, 2007 08:17 AM

Thank you for all the well wishes. seriously, hearing that other women have gone through it and have had good results helps with my attitude. I can look at the data and the risk factors and know I am fine, but alone with my thoughts at 2AM, I think, 'Hmmm... what if?', but hearing from so many people that it all worked out, helps quell those 2AM thoughts.

And Ogre- I'm seriously giving thought to that titanium tit at this point! I'm frickin' ruling NOTHING out. Hell, if he says, "Bou, the best way for us to trace this is to place a drop of mercury encapsulated with Anthrax where the cysts is located" I'm going to say, 'Okey doke!" Heh.

Posted by: Bou at September 19, 2007 08:56 AM

Oh boy... I will continue to send good thoughts your way.

Posted by: Richmond at September 19, 2007 01:47 PM

First, I think you are freaking out, but by writing about it, you are able to wrap your emotions up. And that's good.

Second, you need to relax about "too many people depending upon you". That seems - to me - to be some sort of Catholic Guilt stuff. Yes, they depend upon you. But really - *really* - no. You do what you need to do for you, and for them. But don't burden yourself with that pressure. That's the very thought process that forms cancer, dear.

Third, focus on the positive - you create what you focus on.

(Oh, and the early forms of Chemotherapy were Mustard Gas, FYI.)

Posted by: _Jon at September 19, 2007 03:11 PM

Sending you lots of hugs and positive thoughts. I'll put you on my prayer list.

Posted by: Mary at September 19, 2007 04:59 PM

I don't think I could add anything to what has already been said but that mammogram that I have rescheduled 3 times so far? Yeah... I'll be going. Will be thinking of you.

Posted by: Lemon Stand at September 19, 2007 07:38 PM

I really appreciate the way you are explaining all the things you are doing. You have taken the time to do your research and ask questions. You have used your brain, a rational approach to a problem that could be very emotional. Your brain is in control, not your emotions. You are doing a real service to many people who approach things like this with their emotions first, not their reason. I congratulate you!

Posted by: bobagard at September 21, 2007 07:13 PM