PROJECT: 05-DJC:174.9

This is Deirdre's Breast Cancer Diary. I try to update this blog at least every evening. This is an easy way for me to keep a journal of the experience, and at the same time, I can keep my friends and family up-to-date on what is going on. I find it is not so bad to have cancer, but it is awfully depressing to talk about it. I hope you laugh as you read along. You can find the beginning in February the archives. Thanks again for reading :o)

Saturday, March 12, 2005

0 - Breast Cancer in ?? days

  1. I felt a fullness under my left arm sometime around December 2004, but I did not investigate by palpating the underarm area - a little afraid, actually
  2. In January 2005 I felt a definite tenderness in my left breast when getting into bed and pressing against Mark - used to make a joke about it "Be careful - don't fold my boob!" At this time I was not aware there was a lump in my breast.
  3. On January 21st I had an emotional breakdown at work that lasted all day - for what seemed like no reason at all. I did not put my health and the emotional situation together at all.
  4. On January 23rd 2005 at bedtime, I noticed the lump in my left breast.
  5. On January 24th, 2005 I called John Muir's Physician Referral number for a doctor to see for a clinical breast exam. They gave me a few names of doctors who were relatively new so I would have a greater chance of being seen right away. I got an appointment for that day at 3:00 pm.
  6. On January 24 2005 Dr. Sreenivasan became my Primary Care Physician and confirmed that I had quite a lump in my breast. She referred me to Diablo Imaging for a Diagnostic Mammogram. (a diagnostic mammogram is requested when there is no mistaking that a lump is present. It includes not only mammogram xrays, but also ultrasound films, as well.)
  7. I couldn't get an appointment earlier than February 10th, so Dr. Sreenivasan spoke with someone at Pacific Imaging and managed to get me an appointment the first week of February.
  8. I was afraid that the mammogram would be painful - even though the other mammogram I had back in 2001 didn't hurt one bit. I was really scared that somehow the squeezing would burst whatever the lump was and squish stuff all around inside of my breast....but it didn't hurt at all. I didn't think the ultrasound would hurt, but it did. I was watching the monitor while the ultrasonographer was doing her thing and I was struck by how irregularly shaped the lump seemed to be. It seemed to be shaped like two toilet-paper rolls - perpendicular to each other, my perspective being that of looking through one of the tubes. Strange. After the xrays and the ultrasound (the ultrasound hurt a lot more than the xrays - the xrays didn't hurt at all), the Doctor at Pacific Imaging told me it definitely needs further investigation (the lump) and that I should expect a needle biopsy in the near future, and that he would be speaking with my doctor soon.
  9. My doctor called me that same day and asked me to come right back to her office for a discussion. Dr. Sreenivasan then told me that my lump was suspicious for invasive cancer. (I could see the doctor's preliminary report - I was reading it upside down). It said the lump was 2.5-3.0 cm. She went on to tell me I need to look into support groups, and that she was going to refer me to a breast surgeon, and that she would be supportive in every way she could. I said, "Ok, so let me get this straight: are you telling me that this is suspicious that I have cancer, and that it could be invasive variety? Or are you telling me that I have cancer and that you are suspicious that it is invasive cancer?" Dr. Sreenivasan told me that she is as certain as she can be without a biopsy that I have cancer. Whoa. Mark had come with me to my first appointment, and that was basically a quick clinical breast exam and a referral. He asked me if I wanted him to come along for the mammogram, so I told him "No" based on the previous uneventful doctor appointment. I wish I would have had him along. If ever I needed Mark with me, it was then.
And then the blog started, I think. Notice item numbers 1, 2 & 3. They were all signs that I should have started to string together but had not. You know why? I hadn't selected a Primary Care Physician yet. Hello?! Actually I could add an A. at the top of the list, because I remember telling my friend Kathy W. about a concern last year around the holidays - she told me to get in to see a doctor, but I was sure there would be no way I would allowed to get out of work to see the doctor during the *S.O.B.* Project. (Sigh) I can't really say how long from the time I first suspected something was amiss until the day it was confirmed that something was amiss...but then again, I don't know if anyone can. You'd have to be a helluva note-taker to trace it back.
Moral of the story:
  1. Get your bee-hind into the doctor - only you know your body. Never mind the S.O.B. Project, or any other projects.
  2. Get yourself a Kathy W. She's a smart lady.


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