Friday, June 24, 2011

A Xanax, a Sonogram and a Great Big Needle

That's how I spent my morning on June 17th. I didn't even get to enjoy my coffee before I was undressed, draped in paper and being swabbed down with iodine. The doctor's nurse held the transponder (that thing that looks like a computer mouse that they move around to get the images when doing a sonogram) and the doctor wielded the needle.

It all started with a lump I found in my breast about a month ago. Felt to me to be the size of an egg but later found out what I was feeling was the surrounding tissue that was inflamed. The actual lump was only about an inch across.

Anyhow, doc sent me for a mammogram and ultrasound and the radiologist recommended aspiration and possible biopsy.

I went with aspiration so there I was laying on the table, draped in paper, dripping betadyne solution.

First there was a burst of cold when he numbed my skin with a topical spray, then a slight pinch as he gave me a local anesthetic, and then a pretty good size pinch of the aspiration needle despite all the prep to numb me up.

I watched on the screen as the cyst collapsed. Doctor, nurse and I all cheered. It was fascinating. Would have been more fascinating to watch on Discovery Channel while snug in bed eating ice cream or something. Not really crazy about being in the lead role.


That was a week ago today.

Yesterday I went back for the results. I was told there is no cancer (YAY!!!) but that there were too few epithelial cells present to make a diagnosis.

So we discussed various things. Because of all that angry tissue that had surrounded my cyst my doc wants me to have a consult with a surgeon to discuss whether or not a biopsy is in order. He did say that he suspects his answer will be to let things settle down for a few weeks and see if it all goes back to normal. Chances are it was just an inflammatory response to the presence of the cyst.

That appointment will be on the 6th of July.

The other things we discussed dealt with the fact that he took me off Estradiol which I had been given to help with my Osteopenia and increase my absorption of calcium. The fact that it also brought an end to night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia and other "old lady" afflictions I had been suffering due to menopause was just icing on the cake.

He took me off about 3 weeks ago so now I'm back to sweating, flashing and not sleeping but other than that I'm fine.

He talked to me about Evista and perhaps getting me started on that instead. It's a targeted estrogen that will tell my bones "yes there is estrogen present" so they can do their calcium absorbing magic while telling my boobs "nope, no estrogen here" so maybe I will quit trying to grow my own implants.

An added benefit of Evista, according to him, is that it reduces the chance of developing certain types of breast cancer by a major percentage. I don't remember the figure. At least 40% but maybe he said 70%? I am just not sure.

He said he would LIKE for me to get a BRCA1/BRCA2 test to find out if I am carrying the gene that would make me a higher risk for developing breast cancer but I am on Medicaid with a share of cost and I'm pretty sure they're going to balk at the idea of that even if my mother's sister DID die of breast cancer at the age of 54.

At any rate, I am so very thankful to have this doc on my side. He is so rational and thorough and has a very calming effect on my psyche. I can go into his office on the verge of a panic attack and come out feeling like I'm floating on Xanax. I just know he's going to be my body guard and do his best to protect me from whatever strange things my boobs can throw at me.

Next up: My first neuro checkup since the TRANSFORMS clinical trial ended back in January 2011.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Here we go again... One Lump or Two: Revisited

About 18 months ago I was blogging about how I had found a lump in my breast and had to have a mammogram and it turned out to be a cyst.

Well here I go again. I found a HUGE lump in my breast a couple weeks ago and went to see my GYN. He said it was GOOD that it hurt as breast cancer is usually not painful. But he agreed that it was huge, about 2" across, and set me to go have the mammo and ensuing ultrasound.

The radiologist came to speak with me and showed me the blown up image of my cyst on the screen. It was not a simple cyst according to him and he suggested aspiration followed by cystology. If the cystology comes back fine, we're done. If there are any suspicious cells in it, then I have to have a biopsy. Ugh.

I was told I have Fibrocystic Breast Changes, a condition where the breasts are lumpy, sometimes tender and often grow cysts which come and go. Great.

I told my GYN that my attempt to grow my own implants wasn't going like I'd anticipated.

He took me off Estradiol and mentioned some drug called Evista which he may put me on later for my Osteopenia. Yeah, like I can afford that.

So Friday morning I will be eating my happy pill, (a/k/a Xanax) and then going into the doctor's office so he can do a needle aspiration on my boob as he looks at it with an ultrasound.

I've got news for him. If we don't hurry up, that cyst is about to disappear and he may be jabbing around in there for nothing.

It's hell getting old. I never had any of this junk going on when I was younger... or maybe I did but I was too oblivious to care or too stupid to realize the consequences. If age has taught me nothing else it's that life is a crap shoot and every day I get older is one day closer to going bust.

Bust. Heh. That was not an intentional play on words, but back to the topic at hand.... if any of you prayin' types out there want to add me to your list of things you bug God about, by all means please do. I'm bending his ear non stop so you may just get a busy signal, but if it goes to voice mail, leave Him a message. He'll get back to you.