Friday, July 2, 2010

I Wanna Be Sedated

As you read this I am either at the hospital undergoing a surgical breast biopsy or I'm finally home, and am holding down the couch. I wavered about whether to share this personal aspect of my life with you or not, and decided to share. I know that since I received my diagnosis of "atypical ductal hyperplasia" a few weeks ago it has weighed heavily on me, and I have been seeking as much information as I could. It seems that many women don't talk much about this, and I think that might be a mistake. Turns out a close friend had this procedure (essentially a lumpectomy, but in my case there is no lump) some years ago, and all is fine with her. My reason for letting you know is so that you'll be reminded to attend to this aspect of your health as a woman.

It hadn't even been a year since I had a mammogram, but I went in for some painful fibrous cysts on the left side - a condition that many women have and can be managed in various nonsurgical ways. A comprehensive (read: painful) series of mammograms ensued and they found what they called some "suspicious" looking calcifications on the right side, the side I hadn't been having problems with. A few days before leaving for Mexico I underwent a sterotactic biopsy procedure involving a table with a hole in it and a computer-guided needle. I'll spare you the details about that one but it wasn't much fun at all - I'm pretty sure that this device is also in the Medieval Torture Museum in Buena Park.

I got the phone call with the results when my friend and I were changing planes at LAX enroute to Mexico. While no cancer per se was found, this is a "pre-cancerous" diagnosis and they want to take some more surrounding tissue to be sure that nothing was missed. Sometimes these cells turn into cancer at some point in the future, and sometimes they don't. I don't have much extra meat in this location to spare for their tests but in this case I'll make an exception. Clearly this additional test is the right thing to do, even if it means my nerves are in a jumble and I'll be useless for a couple of days. At least there's some sedation involved in this procedure.

I feel fortunate that there is no history of breast cancer in my family, but the Bay Area is known for having a much higher percentage of it than other areas, particularly in the North Bay (I live in the South), and you just don't know. I have lost a number of people I love to cancer, and it's nothing to be taken lightly. Early detection and treatment is everything.

So, I'm sharing this so that you'll remind yourself to get to your doctor for those painful but critically important tests. It's a real chore sometimes to maintain a healthy female body, but I don't care to consider any of the alternatives. Give your boobies some love and make that phone call. Enjoy this mammogram cartoon as a reward when you've got it scheduled.

And now enjoy this:

8 comments:

mairedodd said...

patty, i hope that by now you are holding the couch down... i am sorry that you are going through this emotionally and physically... and i thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing... i have never had a mammogram, and with the running around of the kids and their appts often miss other important appointments... i will attend to this... thank you - and i hope for you news that can be managed and resolved...

TesoriTrovati said...

Patty... I am praying for you. For strength. For peace. For hope. My officemate is undergoing chemo for breast cancer right now. My college roommate was diagnosed at 35. She will be 41 next week and is the most amazing survivor. And me? I finally had my first mammogram and I am almost 42. Don't know what I was waiting for. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. Take deep breaths. Know that we are thinking of you. Wishing you wholeness. My favorite quote...
"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day."
Enjoy the day.
Erin

Snowcatcher said...

I wondered if what you were going through was related to breast cancer. I had a similar procedure last year, and the before was far worse than the after.

Still wishing you a quick recovery and a cheery and non-life-changing diagnosis. Take this next three days (assuming you have them) and just relax. Celebrate being free of the mamo-flattener for a while!

Sue Doran said...

Here, here, I applaud you Patty. We MUST talk about this more. One of my sisters survived breast cancer last year (though she lost a breast). She is fine now though has to take medication for the next five years. I didn't go into details on my blog to protect her privacy but I think I would have done if it were me. It is very, very important to check yourself and go for your check ups when they're scheduled. I fervently hope for a favourable outcome for you, sounds like whatever it turns out to be has been caught very early.

Softflexgirl said...

Thank you for sharing and for the thoughtful reminder. I think it is great for people to talk about these sort of things in such an open and honest way.

Patty said...

Ladies - thank you so much for your caring and support. The procedure was less of an ordeal than I feared it would be, and after an afternoon wasted by narcotics and daytime TV I'm on my feet again.

Mary Jane I'm glad to hear that you're going to make your appointment. :-)

Laura said...

Sorry to hear your news, Patty. I hope that you are feeling a little better today. I have everything crossed that it all turns out okay for you.

Laura x

kate mckinnon said...

So glad to hear it was less of an ordeal than you feared, and hope that the results are fine as well. Thinking of you.

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