Seriously, you guys really know how to lay it on me! I cannot thank you enough for the sweet words, thoughts, and encouragement that have covered me over the past 24 hours. I feel it. I know it is there, and I am grateful.
Not surprisingly, I had quite a few follow-up questions today so I will try to answer a couple. It is not a cancer diagnosis at this stage. It is a high risk cell type called atypical ductal hyperplasia. These abnormal cells were found on needle biopsy after a suspicious area was found on mammogram (get those girls squished and get them squished yearly). In a “normal” woman, they would not even come close to considering a bilateral mastectomy for ADH cells. Not. Even. Close. You would get a lumpectomy, make sure nothing else is in there (ie: cancer cells) and keep on trucking. Also in the normal folk, the risk of ADH on biopsy showing up as cancer after they take the whole area out is about 20%. My problem is that with my history/meds, my “upgrade” risk that this is cancer approaches 40%. I have other risk factors (in addition to the ADH) that increase my overall risk for my lifetime. And lastly, the things they would use to treat it are not options for me. That is how we got to where we are today.
The schedule as I know it is as follows. Next week I will get an MRI. This is done to make sure there is nothing “scary going on in there”. That was word-for-word what the doctor told me. Even her using the word “scary” made me scared. But essentially, more aggressive cancers (invasive) show up better on MRI than mammogram, and the surgeon wants to make sure there isn’t anything worse going on before surgery. She did assure me that the risk of anything aggressive at this point is very low. But, I look forward to ruling out the “scary”. The following week I will meet again with the surgeon. We will go over the MRI, he will explain the procedure, and we will proceed. As of now, October 28th is the date they are holding for me. Like a reservation, I guess. At a very expensive table.
And finally, I do not want anyone to think that I am in a negative place about all of this. I feel SO lucky that we realized the nature of my risk/risk factors at a time that we can do something about it. I cannot believe that with one (albeit large) surgery, I will be able to not worry about breast cancer putting my life in jeopardy in the future. I cannot imagine what those of us with TA would give if only one surgery would cure our illness. Please don’t feel bad for me. That is not my goal. My goal is to express my thoughts. Feel mad or angry when I need. Laugh at the awkward moments, inappropriate jokes and wardrobe follies that are surely coming my way. In other words, enjoy what we can about the journey, even when the road sucks. Thanks again for all your support. We’ve got this.