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.


  1. Hi, Jeri!
    You poor thing! What a wild ride. Hugs and keep the faith. Since the cyst collapsed (YAY!) your doc is probably right, and it probably is just a reaction to the cyst. But - make sure you do get the consult and although I am sure all is or will be well, just make sure you (and the surgeon) are informed about inflammatory breast cancer.
    I have a question about the Evista - will it help with the hot flashes, et al? And the cost?
    Also, I manually added the feed for the new blog so it will be on my Google homepage. I know zip about following on Google Friend Connect. :-) Suze

  2. Hi there! You might remember me (frogsweb), I still read your blogs from time to time. This post reminded me of a very interesting talk I saw about cancer growth and diet. Thought I'd share...

  3. Hi Scott!! Sure I remember you! Was just wondering how you guys were a little while back... Thank you SO MUCH for taking time to post that link. I watched the video and it makes so much sense. My dad always said "you are what you eat" and he couldn't have been more right. It certainly can't HURT to follow William Li's outline for eating foods that promote anti-angiogenisis. I was really surprised to see MS on the list of diseases where angiogenesis is out of balance. Even more reason to eat right.

    I know since I quit eating fast foods and stopped smoking I feel a heck of a lot better. Might be the meds too tho.... or probably a combination.

  4. Thanks for the input Suze! The Evista question... no, it won't help with hot flashes or any other menopausal symptoms. All it does is let the bones know that estrogen is present (it only targets the bones and not breasts or vascular system etc) so that they will more readily absorb calcium since I have osteopenia from a combination of age, lactose intolerance and corticosteroid use.


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