Thursday, December 3, 2009

[New Hospital] Visit

I'm exhausted and this will be short. My mom and I got up at 5:30 am to drive to the hospital, and didn't get home till about 2:45 pm, so it's already been a 9-hour day and I have to go to work in half an hour. Aaahhh!


Today I got a chest X-Ray, bloodwork, a brief physical, mammo twice, and an ultrasound. I met with a nurse, social worker, and surgeon. I am tired and on information overload!!

Brief synopsis -
X-Ray - super quick and easy, and everything looks normal/healthy.
Bloodwork - also super quick and easy, and surprisingly did not hurt. I have great veins! Everything came back normal, except I'm a little low on potassium. Okay, so more bananas.
Meeting with nurse and social worker - They're both very nice and helpful and had good info about financial resources, health insurance, etc. They weighed me down with articles, books, pamphlets, etc. that I still have not had the energy to wade through.
Meeting with surgeon - The pathologists here confirmed the diagnosis of early-stage mucinous carcinoma. However, they say the tumor is 1.06 cm, which is larger than the 8x7mm figure I'd been told by the previous doctor. There's also a tiny bit of microcalcifications near the tumor, which are likely benign but may be cancerous. They, too, will be removed during the lumpectomy and what this means is that the amount of tissue my surgeon will need to remove is a bit larger than expected. My breast may end up looking weird, I don't know. But as I told her, I mostly don't care; I prioritize health over aesthetics. My surgeon is great, and I feel very comfortable with her. She had me laughing a lot! UNTIL SHE SAID THE "CHEMO" WORD. She wanted to prepare me for the possibility of it. She felt bad that I visibly deflated when she said that word... because yeah, I hadn't been thinking of chemo at ALL. I was naively assuming that since the cancer in me is so tiny and so early-stage, and the mucinous/non-life-threatening type, that there's no way I'd need chemo, and maybe I wouldn't even need radiation! Well. Radiation's pretty much obligatory, and chemo's a possibility. We won't know until after the lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. That's when the doctors will know more details about my cancer, stuff that I'm too tired to write about write now, but basically there are just a bunch of factors to consider and I'll have to have meetings with oncology people to talk about whether or not they recommend chemo.
Mammo and ultrasound - the surgeon wanted me to get a mammo of my right breast, just to check it out, since I'd only had a mammo of my left breast previously. This took a long time because I hadn't had it scheduled in advance and thus they had to squeeze me in (no pun intended :P ) between other patients. Then they had to do the mammo AGAIN because the results weren't clear enough the first try. Then we sat in the waiting room for a looooong time and then they called me in for an ultrasound. I started freaking out a bit, thinking it was because they had found something... but no. They just wanted to be super duper thorough, and young, dense breasts often don't do well with mammograms. And the ultrasound went well - I am ALL CLEAR on the right breast! Everything is fine and normal! That's what the MRI said, too.

Okay, more later. TOO TIRED.


  1. sending love. get lots of rest. <3 <3 you. cathryn & grace

  2. Hi Britta

    You're doing GREAT. So much to take in, and you are handling everything with your usual flair and peace. I'm so proud of you. I've been thinking about you and am so glad you posted your day. So much, so much. Rest, rest, rest. Bubble baths, hot water bottles, cozy movies. Your surgeon sounds wonderful. So glad.

    As a reference, the tumor I had was 1.8 cm. My breast looks entirely the same now as it did prior to surgery, except for the scar. Ask about oncoplasty -- that's when they fill in the gap with tissue from your lat muscle. That's what I had.

    I love you, hon, and send you warm fuzzies for a peaceful night. You're awesome.