Archive for March, 2011

the “c” word!!!

And the word of the day is….. cyst!  And the word of the day is also not cancer!!!

About two months ago, I found a lump in my right breast during my monthly self-exam.  I cannot describe the fear that shot threw me.  My hopes and dreams crashed to the floor.  My mind began racing and it wasn’t pretty. 

I saw my oncologist recently.  I didn’t tell her about the spot in my right breast.  However, she found it on her own and said it felt ok and “you’re having your mammogram in April anyway”.  I left that appointment thinking the wait until April would kill me. 

Remarkably, I think I’m completely unwilling and then find the phone in my hand begging the radiology department of Kaiser to push my  mammogram appointment to the beginning of March.  I just had to know.

So today was a carbon copy of my mammogram last year in many ways.  I had to put a very pretty sticker over a not-so-pretty lump in my breast.  I was told that they would need to do a sonagram to investigate the lump further.  I sat in that same room again and held my breath as the radiologist rolled the machine across my chest.  I held my breath and looked at the screen.  And there it was.  A perfect circle.  I saw it and the radiologist said, “it’s just a cyst”.  Never before has a fluid-filled sac seemed so miraculous and wonderful!!! 

Last year, I went alone to my mammogram.  This year, Trent met me there and was in the waiting room when I came out.  Last year, when I looked at the screen of the sonogram my heart sunk.  I had a black mass that covered a ton of the sceen and was far from circular or even.  Last year, I was told I needed a biopsy and the weight in the room was enormous.  This year, the radiologist was so happy for me.  I was so happy for me.

I finally will be able to sleep tonight knowing for sure that I don’t have cancer in my right breast.  I’m so glad I went.  This is, finally, the “c” word I wanted to hear!


Lately, things have felt difficult for me.  I suppose the pink cloud of not having to go back to chemo has worn off.  I am in no way ungrateful for my newfound health and my new hair growth.  I am, however, quite aware of all that I have lost also.

At times, I find it surreal that I actually lost my breast.  Other times, I grieve for it and miss it terribly.  The craziest things can cause me emotional pain these days…. Bathing suits, bras, lingerie.  

And of course, I haven’t left breast cancer in the dust.  I have a mammogram scheduled one week from today.  It hasn’t been quite a year since my last one but I literally can’t bear to wait until April to do it. 

The universe still has a sense of humor though.  I called Kaiser for the mammogram appointment and the scheduler said, “I see you’ve had breast cancer”.  Yes, I say.  “You’ve had a mastectomy?”.  Yes, I say.  “So we’ll be filming both breasts?”  Um, no, I say.  I only have one now.  “Do you have an implant”, she says.  Becoming irritated now, I respond.  Yup!  “So we’ll need to x-ray that?”.   G-d how I wish I didn’t have a filter sometimes and could just say exactly what I’m thinking….  In the end, I explained to her that there is no breast tissue to x-ray on that side and that an implant doesn’t become cancerous….  It can’t be easy being so stupid…. The poor thing.

O and there’s the hair.  I’m ecstatic to have hair.  I mean being bald was unbelievably hard.  I think, though, had I worn my hair short before this may have been easier.  As it is, though, my hair was halfway down my back prior to my diagnosis.  I was able to wear it up, down, pinned, etc.  This new short hair is a big change for me and while I’m thrilled to have it, I cannot help but miss my long, long hair sometimes.  Like my breast, I sometimes cry because I miss it so much.

Finally, there’s Tamoxifen, hot flashes and menopause at age 45.  The Tamoxifen isn’t too bad but it does cause joint pain.  The hot flashes are hardly bothersome really.  Menopause is a cakewalk too really.  In fact, I am suffering none of the common symptoms of menopause really.  BUT, I am 45.  I couldn’t have gotten pregnant safely at this age but I still hate the fact that cancer destroyed my fertility – regardless of how weak and waning it may have been. 

Nine months ago, I had two breasts, long hair, my time of the month, and was a size 4.  So sometimes this is still hard as hell.  But nobody said it would be easy and I’m going to keep on keeping on.  Keep on moving on…Or trying anyway.