So, it’s easier to just put this into a blog post than repeat things over and over for peeps who don’t know yet. I haven’t been around much the past few weeks for writing or anything else (other than horror movies and related distractions) because I’m in the middle of a thing.
It turns out, finding out I have breast cancer is a cognitive pause in brain function, followed by a weird hotdish of panic, practicality, research, and learning how to just not know what the fuck is going on.
Get your mammograms, peeps. This is not how I expected to spend my favorite season.
Facts as of today:
- I have “Invasive Ductal Carcinoma” which is the most common (80% of all breast cancers, according to the Komen website) form. It’s very small, very early, and wouldn’t have been found without going to a routine mammogram.
- I’ve done a couple of tests and have a couple more coming up, but overall the treatment right now is a lumpectomy scheduled for early November, and most likely a round of radiation after.
- Final determination for treatment will be decided by the pathology results after surgery, so chemo/hormone therapy could still happen, but as of today not likely.
- I am expected to recover fully – this is non-aggressive (Grade 1) and I’ve never heard “you’re young” so often from anyone since I turned 40, but apparently my age and the size/grade make a HUGE difference.
This is a shitty path to take, but right now it’s just another series of things I have to fit into my schedule. That’s not to say it’s no big deal: the past couple of weeks have been full of terror, but today is good.
Today I have a plan.
And I’m convinced by my medical team it’ll be ok.
And I need a good name for the tumah (it IS a tumah, and if you haven’t seen Kindergarten Cop you’re probably too young to read any of this post) so I can say I’m kicking its specific cancerous ass.
Fucked Up Things I’ve Discovered (so far):
- I am WAY TOO TALL for the stupid half-gown shirt things used at the breast center. Sigh. I am not a midriff-baring-shirt person…wtaf.
- Everything after the radiologist says “we see something, you need a biopsy asap, how’s next Tuesday” sounds like the Peanuts adults mumbling.
- Breast biopsy needles look like an ear piercing gun’s meaner older sibling, and sound equally as obnoxious.
- Breast biopsy procedures look suspiciously like a Xenomorph’s second mouth taking super fast tiny Alien bites on the ultrasound machine. WELL OF COURSE I WATCHED IT…do you know me?
- Breast MRIs are significantly more undignified than anything I’ve done outside a gyno office. Yes, I’m certain my indignity has only just begun, but you know…that was a new one for me. You sort of kneel/lie face down on an unholy offspring of a massage table and udder-milking setup, with all upper body weight on the sternum and ribcage between/under the boobs, because they have to hang into boxes for the scans. There is no full breath to be had (just re-reading that sentence made me take a HUGE breath in), and the 1/2-milker-box thing takes up any extra space in the MRI tube.So there is NO room to adjust. Related: I really need to lose some weight. Also related: SURPRISE I’m not claustrophobic.
- Turns out I can be in a seriously uncomfortable position without moving for 20 minutes out of sheer stubborn refusal to have to do this bullshit again (if you move during the longest scan, 9 minutes, they reschedule you for another day).
- I am capable of meditating while my ribs bruise.
- Spa music and noise cancelling headphones don’t get rid of the MRI noise.
- No amount of music can distract from feeling a troupe of fairies frantically dancing on my back during the final scan. Fucking weird.
- MRI dye doesn’t give you superpowers. I’m sorely disappointed.