Thursday, August 4, 2011

When will the fog lift?

Photo from Flickr
My surgeon called me yesterday afternoon with the results of the pathology report. "Good news and not so good news," she says. The good news, she says, is that the report is benign and that there is no mention this time of DCIS or borderline DCIS. The not so good news is that we have more of the atypia, the pre cancer cells. She says we have multiple foci and this time we are moving outward in your breast. Previous surgeries removed lumps/tissue from central in my left breast. This past surgery removed a lump/tissue at the outer edges of your breast. My surgeon says these abnormal cells are near the margins ... they are close to the lateral and superior edges ... "we can only infer that it is everywhere." I ask her, "since i've been dealing with atypical ductal hyperplasia now for a little over two years and they haven't become cancer is it possible that my body is just predisposed to having these abnormal cells and they won't become cancer?" She responds, "No, you can't take comfort in that." She goes on to say that there is something going on with the cells in my body, that I am extremely high risk and that she strongly recommends I meet with an oncologist. There are no guarantees, she says. She mentions tamoxifen and bilateral mastectomy. My surgeon, my internal medicine doctor and even the team of doctors I've worked with at Mayo tell me there are no guarantees and that my case is a unique case. There are changes going on in my body at a cellular level; they can't monitor these changes with any of the screening mechanisms available (mammogram, ultrasound, even MRI). Interestingly, it's been me telling my doctors that I feel a lump in my breast; it feels different and it needs to come out. Previously, my doctors challenged me saying that it felt like normal fibrous tissue. They now tell me, 'you know your body best.'

All we know is that the cells in my breast are changing .. they are in essence taking on a life of their own; they are spreading. They don't know how far it's spread. The reality is that there are a lot of unknowns. So this foggy health journey continues. I meet with an oncologist on August 16th. My surgeon, whom I love, knows me so well. She recommends an oncologist whose philosophy is: "I strive to provide hope, encouragement and holistic care to both my patients and their families. I am a strong believer in the power of the human spirit and positive thinking...."  I am looking forward to meeting my oncologist and to exploring what my options are.  I hold in my heart what my primary doctor told me just recently, "You are being diligent about your health. Some times life just isn't fair and there are a lot of things we don't understand in medicine. There are no guarantees. Whatever path you choose is the right path."

To be honest, my bigger issue right now is my heart. I've been having trouble sleeping again. It's not as bad as it used to be, but i'm waking up at night again from the palpitations and my heart feeling like it's going to pop out of my chest. I'm going to give it a little more time as I remain hopeful that it will pass. If it doesn't then I know I need to call my cardiologist. I know that everything in life happens for a reason. There are moments, however, when I just want a little relief, some clarity .... I would be grateful for a week, or two, of not having to deal with health issues or worry about my dog Ahnung. Well ... hope ... sometimes that's all we have to hold onto. I sometimes just have to remind myself when the fog lifts there's an amazing sun that will be shining brightly ...

1 comment:

  1. You and Ahnung are always in our thoughts,
    Marilou. Continue to take care of yourself
    as you are doing the right thing.