Friday, January 22, 2016

And Here's the Wind-up ...

I met with my surgeon today.  Colleen App - she's fabulous. 

I donned a floral cape (SO not a gown) and pretended to be an organic super-hero as she did an in-office ultrasound, comparing my various images with her own taken today, and clarified our plan for surgery.  What, when, where, how, expected outcome for the bosom. 

                        *slightly reddened cheeks*

I'm having surgery next week Friday, January 29th. 

What kind of surgery?  Good question.

That depends on the outcome of my two MRI-guided biopsies on Monday.  Beyond my tumor - located at 11 o'clock in my left breast - my breast MRI identified two other questionable areas, one in the lower outside quadrant of my left breast ... and one in the lower outside quadrant of my right.

You can imagine the concern, right?  One area of one breast vs the whole breast vs oh-crap-it's-in-BOTH-breasts.  The biopsies I'll have on Monday will answer that question.

So, come next Friday, early in the morning, I'll be headed into surgery.

If the biopsies are negative, I'll be getting a lumpectomy of my left breast with the surgical removal of several sentinel lymph nodes (to double check that they are clear for cancer).  It will take about 4 hours.

If the biopsies are positive for cancer, then Friday, I will be having surgery specifically to check my lymph nodes.  Are the sentinel lymph nodes - those nodes to first encounter fucked up breast cancer cells - clear?  If so, yay.  If not, if there is evidence of cancer in my sentinel lymph nodes, then they'll take all of them.  Then, a week or two later, I'll have a mastectomy, single or double depending on what's needed.

Oh, and there's a drain.  DRAIN.  Once they start taking lymph nodes, they'll need to insert a tube into ... well ... my underarm so that fluid that would normally drain out the lymph system can drain out the tube into, I swear to God, a clear grenade that I then empty as needed.  This continues over 5-7 days while, I guess, the area heals from the surgery.  It helps to prevent infection.

                           Yada yada yada.

I heard ... GRENADE filled with fluid from my body that I have to empty. And depending on whether cancer is found in my lymph nodes, I get to have this drain for 5-7 days or more AND learn all about what I would need to do to avoid .... conditions I hope to never need to explain to you without the benefit of wine.

But wait! There's more! Dr. App explained to me what she would do during a lumpectomy to make my left breast whole again.  She explained where the incisions would be made and how, once the tumor is removed, she would lift the breast, make it round and whole, and sit the nipple oh-so-perfectly on top.  A round breast with the nipple perfectly placed.

I'm 45 years old people.  What do you think my first thought was?

[Let me get this straight.  BEST case scenario is my left breast is cleansed of the cancer and basically reconstructed into round perfection then I undergo chemotherapy and radiation and, all that while, I have a perky left breast and my normal 45-year-old droopy ass right?  So, I'm short, bald from chemo, with a perky left breast and droopy right.  Gotcha.  Proceed.]

Would I forever has mismatched tits?

[Because that's the important question when fighting cancer but ... whatever.]

The answer, surprisingly, is no.  No, I will not.  Because the law, believe it or not, guarantees me a matching set.  At some point after all my treatment is done - after the chemo and after the radiation - a plastic surgeon will lift my right breast so that it matches the left!  How AWESOME is that!?

Random, unexpected, and awesome.

So, that's it.  Surgery on Friday  - one way or another.  Hope with me, if you will, that my biopsies are negative.  I'd really love to have my lumpectomy Friday and move on to the next step.

[I'm a bit skittish these days about hoping - it seems whatever I hope ends up a bit skewed.]


I had one last happy hour with some coworkers tonight.  Well, last for a few weeks anyway.  Obviously, next week, I'll be hopped up on painkillers post surgery.  The week after, who knows.  It was nice to sit and talk and listen to the odd cases.  To get a "cheers" to the surgery. 

In the midst, my little brother called me - not a usual thing - to apparently tell me about some depositions in a current case.  I took this to be code for ... "I want to call her, I'm not sure what to say about her boobs, so I'll talk work to really say I love her" ... see how I interpret?  It was sweet. 

Honestly, the most frightening part of today was going through the drive thru at Taco Bell tonight - which I do not typically do - and getting to the window with my exact change ready only to have the worker say my food was FREE because of the wait.

        Huh.  Taco Bell.  Free?

               What fucked up hell is THIS?

I'm not ready to die, dammit, it's just fucking breast cancer!!


And ... here's the pitch! 

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