We are lucky to have the journal entries of a breast cancer survivor (who also happens to be an E.R.
I had a mammogram which showed a small nodule at about the 11 o''clock position of my right breast. I went back for an Ultrasound to try and identify the nodule. They could not identify it with ultrasound, so they did a needle biopsy while I was there. (Numbed with Lidocaine, locally. Not a bit of pain... none at all. I did not even feel the injection..)
I got the results on April 13th, my birthday. It was positive for a carcinoma. I have an appointment with a surgeon this coming Thursday to make arrangements to have it removed.
I do not know exactly what it will involve. I know that one possibility will be a simple mastectomy, as opposed to just a lumpectomy. Either way will involve some chemotherapy. They said that the results are as good with either procedure, the difference probably being radiation if we choose lumpectomy.
At this time I do not have enough information to make that decision yet. I will have to make a trip to the medical library and do some research on the particular carcinoma before I make that decision. I was told this is not an invasive cancer, but I cannot remember the name. (That is really bad for a nurse, isn''t it? But it is not one I am familiar with and I did not write it down.)
The good news is that it is very small....about the size of a pea or pencil tip eraser. You cannot feel it, even with knowing where it is. Also it is away from the rib cage, in the middle layer of the breast. That means it is surrounded by the fatty layer of tissue and not the vascular area. That is also good.
When they did the biopsy I was laying on my back with my right arm up and tucked under my head. I could feel the pressure of the biopsy needle (but no pain) so when I got home I tried to show Tim, my husband, where it was. I thought it was about 4 inches below my collar bone. The bad news is that when I was standing it was at least 1 1/2 inches lower then that. BUT...ha ha.... after the surgery I might have perky breasts, again. At least one will be!
Now here is the reason that I am writing this to you:
I am so thankful that I had the mammogram. It makes this nodule treatable while it is tiny. The reason I am telling everyone about it is to encourage all my friends to do the same. This is going to save me a lot of grief later. I want everyone I know to have her yearly mammogram if she has not done so or if she is past due.
There is no cancer in my family and I was a low risk and was probably a little cocky about it. I want all my friends to be sure they are cancer free or at worst, can take care of it while it is easy to treat. I am very, very lucky. I want you and your loved ones to be too.
Of course, I will keep you informed of the results as we go along. I have every confidence it will be a good outcome.
Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award