Tentative Dates Set

I received a phone call from Wendy, the nurse liaison yesterday. She asked if I would be able to have the surgery done on April 10th. I said, “Yes, please, the sooner the better!” The other procedure will be done the day before, on April 9th, at the same place where the core biopsy was done. Then I will have the wire inserted the morning of the 10th, before the surgery.
I am now just waiting to hear back on a confirmation and the appointment times.
I have a birthday on June 20th. I have hopes that *everything* will be done by then, surgery, healing and radiation.

I dread the pain and discomfort to come, but I also look forward to getting it all taken care of.

Family

telephone

At first, I was not going to tell anyone in the family about my diagnosis of breast cancer.
Then, I had second thoughts, as I realized that this was rather selfish of me.

My son took it well. He has offered to help if my husband and I need anything.

My middle sister telephoned and we had a nice chat. She and I were raised in separate households, far from each other – a long story – and we’ve met only a few times, yet she called and I am touched by that.

While I know my oldest sister better, I also know that she has some quirks, so I can forgive her logic, when she suggested that maybe the surgery would reveal that there wasn’t any cancer – “miracles happen” she wrote.

I read through all of the brochures on Sunday morning. There is so much to assimilate! Slept well last night. I have moments of fear and anxiety, but I do look forward to and also dread the two days when I have the pre-op and surgery to get through. There is some comfort, though, in knowing that so many others have been through it already. If they have done, so can I.

Support System

3

Over the past weekend, we purchased a new desktop computer with Windows 8 installed. It has been a bit of a learning curve, as I transfer files from the old computer and install software.

The appointment on the 19th at the Women’s Health Centre took 3 hours! Most of that was wait time though. The consultation with the surgeon took, perhaps, 15 minutes. He had an intern along. She was very nice.
He says that 80% of women with breast cancer are the first in their families to have it.
Of the two suspect nodules, only one is cancerous, the larger one, which is 2 cm x 1.2 cm x 1.6 cm. In inches that would be .78 inches x .47 inches x .62 inches

After the exam and discussion, I was sent to the nurse navigator. She explained all that is going to be done, I signed papers and she gave me many brochures. These include information on free meetings for pre-op and post-op patients. In addition to this nurse, I have been assigned to a counsellor. Both my husband and myself can call her, and see her in person if needed. She handles issues like how to tell the family and how to cope with cancer.

All of this is free of charge.

I will have a lumpectomy. Here are the three procedures that will be done.

The day before the surgery: sentinel lymph node mapping. The biopsy will be done during the surgery, to check if the cancer has spread.
The day of surgery: breast needle localization, at which time a fine wire will be place in the area of the cancer. This is a marker for the surgeon.
Then the surgery.

I am frightened of the pain that may be involved. Granted, the biopsy on March 5th was not that painful really. I could tolerate it.
It will be good, though, to get this all over with.

After surgery, I will most likely have radiation for 3 1/2 to 5 weeks, Monday to Friday, as well as medication, since the nurse said that I have a protein called human growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

I sent emails out to my 2 half-sisters, and to my mother-in-law. I could have phoned my mother-in-law, but she is elderly and tends to get confused. I hope that seeing something in text will help her understand better.
I have been asked by the medical team if anyone in the family has had breast cancer or ovarian cancer. I do not think there is any history. I must research a bit more though, as my oldest sister told me that she had a lump removed from a breast in the 1960’s when she was in her thirties. She says the results were “inconclusive”. Since she is still healthy, I would assume the lump was benign.

I feel a bit of relief that both lumps were not cancerous. I continue to work on setting up the new computer, and reformatting the old one.

Progress

I woke again through the night – I wonder, is this a frequent occurrence in cancer patients? I am going to talk about this problem at the appointment on Tuesday. I’ve had this insomnia for several months now.

Woke very early this morning. The cat was meowing. He’s started to do this often lately, when my husband gets up to get ready for work. Cat is nearly 18 years old, so I suppose he’s entitled to be a bit quirky. He seems healthy enough, and will be due for his annual shots and checkup soon.

Mid-morning, I finally cried for a couple of minutes. It is a normal progression, I think, since the ‘shock’ of diagnosis on Monday.

I had a nap, a comforting hot chocolate afterward, and now feel ready to face the rest of the day.

Small steps!

An Appointment Booked

I received a telephone call this afternoon, with an appointment booking for next Tuesday, March 19, in the morning. This is at the Women’s Health Centre.
The staff with whom I spoke told me that they will discuss everything with me at that time.
I am so very, very grateful to be able to get this appointment so quickly.

I did not sleep well this past Monday night [the night after my family doctor called to give me the test results]. I woke at 4 am and couldn’t get back to sleep again until about 6 am.
Last night was a little better. I did wake, but managed to *not think about* the cancer, to stop obsessing about it.

I have never known anyone who has had cancer, except my husband’s grandmother, and she lived through many surgeries and many years, living to age 83.

This is all new territory for me. I hope that my experiences will help my readers in their exploration of this topic too. Let’s learn together.

Diagnosis: Breast Cancer

The Call

My doctor phoned me just before supper, to let me know that the test results are in, and that I do have breast cancer.
He tells me that the cancer has not spread into the blood etc. and that he will make arrangements for me to have an appointment at the Cancer Centre. I asked him what kind of cancer I have. He replied that it is ductal.
I have read about ductal carcinoma and it is, apparently, the most common type.

I suppose I am still in shock about this, as I feel distanced from it all. I know that it is going to sink in soon though.

To Tell or Not

Many years ago, a therapist I was seeing told me I was a ‘stoic’. Perhaps that is why I have no intentions of telling anyone in my family about this, other than my husband, who is, thankfully, already being supportive.

I am not close to anyone else, and do not want the family to suddenly start paying attention to me just because I have cancer.
If they ignored me when I was well, I don’t need them now!

The Biopsy

I arrived way early for the appointment. The traffic was flowing much better than I expected. I had a long wait, but was called in on time.
I had been told to not use aspirin or Advil for 48 hours before the test.

The Preparation

I was told to change into a short gown – and remove only the upper half of clothing.
I waited about 5 minutes for the test to begin.

The testing

First, I had an ultrasound. It took about 25 minutes. Painful, but not as bad as at the ‘regular’ lab.
After lying on the ultrasound table for about 20 minutes, the doctor/radiologist arrived.

The Biopsy

The two needles were inserted for freezing the areas.
This was at the six and eight o’clock positions. It hurt, but less than at the dentist’s for freezing before dental work.
Immediately, the radiologist inserted the needle for the testing. This is for the core biopsy. I heard the “click” each time
the needle was set to remove a sample, but it was not that startling and I did not react, only heard the sound. There were
about 8 to 10 clicks.

Then it was over. I went to the room where I had to put pressure on the breast for ten minutes, then I was able to get
dressed and leave.

Aftercare

I was told to not use aspirin or Advil for a while. I used Tylenol 3 when I got home and at bedtime.

I have to shower/bathe and apply a band-aid to the area/s – two areas in my case, at the six and eight o’clock positions, for
four days.

I have had my husband help me with the band aids – I have learned that I am a big sissy when it comes to looking after this.
At the third day, I felt more comfortable. Only Tylenol 3 at bedtime.
The bruising is still noticeable, but the pain is better.

I am still distanced from the reality that I am be facing breast cancer.

I will post again when I have the results.