Thursday, July 22, 2010

The dolphins call

Yesterday I spent the day meeting with doctors ... my surgeon and then driving down to Mayo Clinic to meet with Dr. Ghosh of the Breast Center. I was so grateful to have my partner with me for the entire day and to be by my side as we met with my doctors. I brought with me a CD containing all the actual images from previous MRIs, mammograms and ultrasounds. In addition I had copies of the pathology reports from my two surgical biopsies. The latest report showing that I was now borderline DCIS.

My first visit was with my surgeon. I just love and trust. She has always been thorough and taken whatever time is needed to answer questions I have .... for what was supposed to be a quick 6 month re-check she spent 45 minutes with us. In the end she felt like it was reasonable to follow the recommendation of the doctors who read my MRI and following ultrasound: to do a 6 month MRI follow-up. I shared with her a new lump I was feeling again in my left breast but wasn't sure anymore if it was a new lump or just scar tissue from my previous surgeries. She felt like it was more scar tissue. I was relieved.

Next stop Mayo Clinic for a second opinion. I was so impressed by my experience at Mayo. It was my first trip there. I met with Dr. Ghosh. As she walked into the room she looked directly into my eyes and extending her hand to introduce herself. I could feel warmth and compassion radiate from her. She spent a over an hour and a half with us! It was obvious she had reviewed the written reports and then she asked me to share my story and what has happened thus far ... she listened attentively, taking notes. A team of specialists was reviewing my MRI, mammogram and ultrasound. She also wanted the slides from my previous surgeries so that the Mayo pathologists could review them. I never imagined they could do that. She shared how critical it was for them to be able to take a look at them ... all the while never disregarding any of my current doctors and health care providers. She called and put a rush for my slides to be delivered from Fairview Ridges to Mayo Clinic. Her pathologists will either confirm my previous diagnoses of atypia/borderline DCIS or they will indicate DCIS. She went over all the various options for "screening" and "risk reduction"if it remained atypia (which she said I am doing all the right things!). She said close surveillance was a very reasonable choice with atypia. If however the pathologists come back and say it is DCIS/early stage cancer then she said she would not be comfortable with surveillance and that we need to be more proactive ... she went into what some of that might entail of which meeting with a team at Mayo that includes a surgeon and oncologist would be a first step. Dr. Ghosh did notice the "lump" I had been feeling and said that it was of some concern to her. But she's got a plan for that too!!

I asked her if I continue close surveillance is breast cancer slow growing. She said it depends on the type of breast cancer. I guess I wanted to know if I could jump from atypia to invasive cancer and skip DCIS. I guess the answer is yes although most go through DCIS. She stressed the importance of the Mayo pathologists re-reading my slides.

So for right now we wait for her to call. She assured us it wouldn't be long and she would call me immediately. Of course, we told her we are leaving on Saturday morning for the Bahamas and won't be reachable for 8 days!! My partner and I are heading to Bimini, Bahamas to go swim with the dolphins .... wild, free dolphins!! We are going through WildQuest. It's been my dream to swim with dolphins ... and with all my health issues this past year with my breast and my pancreas I decided it was time to PLAY!! So on Saturday we leave St. Paul and along with leaving St. Paul I will leave all connection to electronic devices and the internet .... when I think about this trip and I think about being in the ocean with the dolphins and spending time with Mary ... it's like I was given the biggest dose of some magical medicine! I probably won't know get the call from Dr. Ghosh before I leave, at least regarding the re-reading of my slides and what the Mayo pathologists say ... she told me she will call immediately but to go enjoy my time in the Bahamas with the dolphins.

The dolphins are calling us and we are going!! Bimini here we come!!

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