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.

1 comment:

  1. I had an ultrasound at the same said large midwestern university for the same reason. I was grateful mine was nothing. But, you know my family's history, so..... So sorry you are (hopefully not) going through this again. I am thinking of you.

    Oh, and you always write totally funny, interesting, and eloquent posts. Don't kid yourself!


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