Wednesday, April 25, 2012


My ticking time boob (TTB) is no longer ticking.

It sort of exploded. But not really.

Confused? Read on.

First the good news: I don't have cancer.

Now the bad news: I have "atypical" cells, a condition known as ductal carcinoma in situ. For plain folk like you and me, that's something akin to pre-cancer.

It's in the same breast that I had cancer, so radiation is not an option because it's already been irradiated (who knew you couldn't irradiate a breast twice? Not me).

I'm pretty sure chemo is not an option (Hallelujah!). At least it wasn't mentioned this morning when the nurse practitioner (NP) gave me the pathology report. Of course, I wasn't really paying attention after she said the recommended course of treatment for someone who already had the Big C was masectomy.


Yes, indeedy-doody, I'm a gonna' have a masectomey. Maybe two. Back when I drank, a double was a good thing. Perhaps that is the case now. I'm not altogether sure, so I will talk to the doc about that option.

By the by, do you have any idea how expensive masectomy bathing suits are?! They really need to do something about that. And right after, they need to be named something else, agreed?

I meet with my surgical oncologist (who, by the way, is totally hot...don't tell Rhett I said that) on Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. (And he's sweet! Coming in early to chat with us - what a guy!) to hear all the options, but the NP said he'll want to do it as soon as possible, hopefully in about 2 weeks. Then about 4 weeks for recovery. At this point, I don't know what "recovery" means. I'm hoping I'll be able to teach out the quarter.

I can't think of anything else at this point to tell you; if I do, I'll post again. Otherwise, check back on the evening of May 1 to read the latest update.

If you're feeling like you want to do something to make me feel better, send me some jokes. Knock ones are especially good, since I can share them with BonnieBlue. Or "what do you get if you cross a _______ with a ___________?" jokes; we love those. Here's our favorite: What do you get if you cross a puppy with a computer? A lapdog!

Oh, one more thing. While I'm not terribly thrilled, I am grateful for this "adventure." I'm not sure why yet, but the Lord has commanded us to be grateful in all things (Eph. 5:20, Mosiah 26:39), and I figure I ought to do my best at obeying since I really have so much else in my life to be grateful for.

Many thanks to you wonderful folks who make me feel better just knowing I am not alone at this time. God bless you all!

Friday, April 20, 2012


Most people who know me know that I am not afraid to share just about anything regarding my life.

I have not kept it a secret that I was getting a biopsy today, mostly because verbally processing helps me adjust and adapt. Especially to potentially tragic scenarios.

So, beware, this post may be too much information.

For those special friends and colleagues who prayed for me today and/or who sent good thoughts and energy my way, so far it worked. My biopsy wasn't ANYTHING like the one I had 10 years ago. Ten years ago I had a core biopsy (spring loaded gun shooting into my chest wall; see previous post). Today I had a stereotactic biopsy.

For those who like to stop right here, I'll just tell you this. I left the Breast Center practically euphoric at the lack of pain.  Mind you, I'm not oblivious to the bomb that may drop on my head; it's just that I'm not brooding about it. It is what it is. And I'll find out what it is next week. So, do keep the prayers, and positive thoughts and energy, coming my way. Please.

For those curious about a stereotactice biopsy you can read about it here or read on. I'm about to tell you. AND I have pictures!

First, here's the "gun."

 Picture quality is bad. I forgot my camera and had to use my cell phone. Sorry. But for reference sake, the tech holding that gun is a petite thing. That mama-jammer is big!

It was the results of the two Valium I took that got me on this table. Heavenly Father helped a bit, too, I must admit. I have another picture with my ticking time boob (TTB) hanging through the opening in the table that in this shot you cannot see. I spared you that. You're welcome.

The first thing the radiologist did was shoot some Lidocaine into the TTB. Yay! I little pin-prick, and I felt no pain through the entire process. God bless modern medicine.

There's a modified mammogram machine under the table. It was used to guide the needle for the stereotactic biopsy. Seriously, God bless modern medicine. This was an entirely different process than the core biopsy. I assume they still do those, but thank goodness my little spots made that procedure inappropriate.

After the procedure, they took me into the room with this monster. Those of you who have had your mammograms will recognize Mr. Smasher. Mr. Pancake. Mr. Flatten-Me-Silly. You pick.

That cloth is the sanitizing wipe. This mammo was not like the screening one. This one was just to make sure they could see the little titanium clip ("the size of an eyelash" eveyone kept saying) that they implanted in order to reference it in later mammograms. So I wasn't flattened beyond the threshold that most women find not only excruciating but plain bizarre.

So, if you didn't think there was too much information (TMI) before, how's this?

See the little circle? It's highlighting that little titanium clip.

I am well on my way, I guess, to becoming a cyborg.

I will post again what the outcome of the biopsy is, probably on Wednesday or Thursday.

Thanks again for all your wonderful thoughts, well wishes, prayers, and kind words. It really does help.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ticking Time Boob

Yeah, I've got one.

One in 8 women have one. Or two.

I had been contemplating giving up my blog because when I do have time to post, I've got nothing interesting to say. And when I have something interesting to say, I'm too busy or I'm fatigued from a sinus infection. I've had 3 since last September, and I feel another coming on.

Anyhoo, I've got something interesting to say, and I'm not going to be able to sleep tonight anyway, so ta-da! New post!

On Thursday, April 18, 2002 I was lying in bed unable to sleep because I was going to interview the next day for the Special Education - ABA doctoral program at a large midwestern university. Out of insomniac boredom, I did a self-exam on my breasts. And found a lump.

The following Monday I made an appt. with my primary care physician's nurse practitioner who did another exam and told me I had nothing to worry about. "It is too mobile to be a tumor" were pretty much her exact words. But she referred me to the Breast Center at same large midwestern university. Two days later I had my first mammogram. I was 38.

Immediately after the mammo, the worried tech completed an ultrasound on my right breast. While I was still lying flat on the table, she called in the radiologist, who took my hand (no kidding), and said, "None of the oncology surgeons are here this afternoon. Promise me you will come back tomorrow." I promised, and I did.

The next day, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Surgery (lumpectomy), chemo, radiation, Tamoxifen. 10 years later (almost to the day), I am a survivor.

About two weeks ago I had my annual mammogram on which 3 suspicous spots appearred. I finally got in to see my surgical oncologist this past Tuesday. He ordered a biopsy, which he couldn't do right then because I had taken ibuprofen within the past 48 hours. I'm getting it Friday, April 20, 2012.

Ah, the symmetery. I love symmetry. Mark Twain once said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." It's been almost 10 years to the day.

Rhett is going with me. I want him to record it for my blog (How cool would that be!? A live core biopsy of a breast!) but there is no way he'll do it. He can be a stick in the mud sometimes. I will try to get a picture of the biopsy gun.

Of everything I've been through, my  memory is that that core biopsy was THE most painful thing I endured, with the possible exception of the 4th chemo round when the nurse couldn't find a vein. Ugh. I want a Valium just thinking about it.

Speaking of Valium. When the nurse practioner told me on Tuesday that my biopsy would be Friday, I exhibited classic drug seeking behavior: I asked for drugs. She--and I'm serious here--she asked me why. Um....because when a hollow needle is thrust into one's chest wall  at a speed roughly equivalent to that of a bullet being discharged from the barrel of a gun, not once, not twice, but three times, it HURTS!

She actually wasn't going to give in, so I told her I wasn't coming in for the biopsy. And then she caved and prescribed TWO Valium. One to take two hours prior and the other a half hour prior. I guess the pain I'm going to feel afterwards isn't ...wait, I guess I won't be feeling any pain afterwards! Booyah! (Lie.)

Here's a thought. If a procedure has no negative side effects, doctors and nurse practioners should have to experience it. Then the perky, fresh-out-of-school (she could not have been older than 27, I swear) NP has the right to tell me 'no' when I ask for drugs. But if that was standard protocol (NPs for cancer docs getting biopsies for "educational purposes"), I wouldn't have to ask. The core biopsy order would be PRECEDED by a prescription for a week's worth of Xanax.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should clarify that I have to have another mammogram right before the core biopsy; my doc said that it's possible that the spots won't show up, and if so, no core biopsy. How cool would that be if I get to take 2 (!) Valium within 2 hours and NOT have to have that hollow needle gun shot into my chest wall! Yay!

Cross your fingers for me!

But, of course, if that happens, I go back in 6 months for another mammo. And then 6 months after that. And so on. And so on.

Ticking time boob.