Since retirement last June, there have been a number of health issues that required taking care of and were generally a pain in the kazoo. Nothing that was going to kill me or anything, just issues that needed resolving. I did do my usual Google-thing and read up on everything and was glad retirement hadn't interfered with my search skills. Then came March 2018...
After going in for my annual mammogram, I got the phone call saying I needed to come back in for another mammogram. Fun times. The second mammogram was followed by a sonogram and I got to sit in a stuffy room while the radiologist read the results. Seems there were a "cluster of microcalcifications"... not as bad as a "line of microcalcifications" but still worrisome. Went home and Googled "microcalcifications" and then... "breast cancer."
Now, no lumps were felt during the manual exam and no tumors showed up on any scans, just the microcalcifications. Then, since it was late Friday afternoon, I got to wait over the weekend to hear from my primary care provider. Don't you just love waiting?
My PCP called (not her nurse) and she had set me up with an appointment with a surgeon, (more waiting) who set me up with an appointment for an outpatient biopsy. Wait for that appointment. Then came the wait for the results, then wait for the next appointment with the surgeon.
The diagnosis was ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which means abnormal cells in the milk ducts that have not yet spread out of the ducts.... and is considered Stage 0 breast cancer. There was a lot of Googling for additional information... did you know that 1 in 8 women get breast cancer?
More waiting around for a lumpectomy followed by waiting for the pathology report on the excised tissue. That came through an electronic portal that the hospital has.... giving me a detailed report written in medical-ese that required more Googling. Now I am waiting on the post-procedure appointment where I'll find out if my interpretation of the report matches the surgeon's.
I am recovering well with no pain and recovery is supposed to take 2 weeks. I'm able to do more each day but still need to rest some in the afternoon. In addition to resting, I'm doing things that make me happy / lifts my spirits. Today, I had a cute hair appointment and ran several errands before heading home, including a stop at a local yarn shop.
I don't know why I wasn't afraid during all this. I was irritated by all the waiting around and being messed with.... just wanted folks to leave me alone. I do know that prior to surgery... radiation was not being discussed.... so that's good. I marvel at the miracle of the new machine that detected the microcalcifications (seems that my immune system was going after the abnormal cells, laying down calcium during their efforts). I'm in awe that the surgery was so targeted and precise. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that 5 days post-surgery, I was sleeping on my tummy again.
I will be doing a bit more waiting until the Thursday afternoon appt.... but I'm grateful to know that my 5-year survival rate is close to 100%. Final comment for today: Don't skip your annual mammogram!