So, once I was diagnosed with Invasive ductal carcinoma, next steps were in place. Meet the doctors, genetic testing, and an MRI. All of which were just fine and quite easy to do. Don't get me wrong there were some bad days here and there and Hallmark, and Sunday night movies always seem to bring the tears on. Anyway, here were the final results leading me to this time and place right now, the day before surgery.
Tip #1- If you can try to leave your kids, if you have young ones, at home. Listening to the doctors is much more challenging if you are chasing little monkeys!!
I was referred to a breast specialist. All she does is surgeries. I know when you think cancer you think oncologists, and yes at some point during this journey I will need to see one. (Trust me I called an oncologist too to find out if this is what I am supposed to do. The lady was so sweet and confirming. Oncologists don't do surgeries, they to the treatment plans when the cancer is still in your body. Good to know.) She gave me the results from the ultrasound, biopsy, and mammogram all over again. And then included when the genetic testing and MRI will occur. She was nice, and very professional. But how was I to know if she was good or not??? I know nobody here and I was referred by a radiologist who was very nonchalant!!! Again, here comes that trust in God. "K, God send me a different route if I need a different doctor. Send me some sign that indicated I need to search for someone else. Amen." Nada! Nothing! Zip! Ziltch!! Guess I am good to go.
Waiting for my final MRI and gene testing felt like forever. You know, like when you know you first find out you are pregnant, and you can't tell anyone yet because you have to wait until the test is confirmed at your 8 week appointment. You know, how it consumes every thought and you feel like you can't hear or listen to what anyone else says?? You try so hard to keep busy, but you want to call the office, 2 or 3 times a day just to see if they know anything yet.... ugh!! WAITING BLOWS!!! Especially when you are nervous! Finally, I called them and said that I cannot wait an extra 12 days to find out the results to this testing. Please have the doctor call me. I can't wait that long. And she did. THANK YOU GOD!!!
Tip #2: You are your only advocate. Make sure you speak up, and tell people what you need and how you are feeling. Chances are your gut is a much better gage then someone else's.
Results are this. Gene testing came back negative. No, it's not genetic. It is most likely hormonal, or environmental. (Great, get me 3 large bubble so that I can put my kids in them!!!) The tumor, (which is what they call it; I had no idea) is a bit larger then the ultrasound indicated measure 2.0 cm on the ultrasound and 2.7 cm on the MRI. Not surprising there is alway a varied measurement, and they are not that different. And, guess what?? They just give you a range. They have no idea the actual size until they take it out... NO IDEA!! They also found some spots branching off toward the front of the tumor and they will need to take these out as well.
Now, to get all of the tissue plus some more they need to remove a 5 cm area all the way around. This will hopefully get out all of it and we will have clean margins. Meaning it hasn't spread, or we don't think. This will leave my left breast fairly disfigured due to the placement of the tumor. Now, you all know how much I love my boobs (and if you didn't, now you do), and math. There is no way I am not going to have symmetrical boobs!! (I know, I know....but, gotta keep some of this light and positive.)
Tip # 3: Crazy thought!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!! There are sooooo many women who have gone through this. Try to contact one or even two. They are looking back at their own journey and have amazing insight and advice. As well as get the only book I read. There is no place like Hope, by Cancer Survivor Vickie Girard. It is an easy read and very positive.
So, with the results and talking to others I have come to a decision to remove both of my breasts, a.k.a. a bilateral mastectomy.