It turns out, finding out I have breast cancer is a cognitive pause in brain function, followed by a weird hotdish of panic, practicality, research, and learning how to just not know what the fuck is going on.
Get your mammograms, peeps. This is not how I expected to spend my favorite season.
Facts as of today:
- I have "Invasive Ductal Carcinoma" which is the most common (80% of all breast cancers, according to the Komen website) form. It's very small, very early, and wouldn't have been found without going to a routine mammogram.
- I've done a couple of tests and have a couple more coming up, but overall the treatment right now is a lumpectomy scheduled for early November, and most likely a round of radiation after.
- Final determination for treatment will be decided by the pathology results after surgery, so chemo/hormone therapy could still happen, but as of today not likely.
- I am expected to recover fully - this is non-aggressive (Grade 1) and I've never heard "you're young" so often from anyone since I turned 40, but apparently my age and the size/grade make a HUGE difference.
Today I have a plan.
And I'm convinced by my medical team it'll be ok.
And I need a good name for the tumah (it IS a tumah, and if you haven't seen Kindergarten Cop you're probably too young to read any of this post) so I can say I'm kicking its specific cancerous ass.
Fucked Up Things I've Discovered (so far):
- I am WAY TOO TALL for the stupid half-gown shirt things used at the breast center. Sigh. I am not a midriff-baring-shirt person...wtaf.
- Everything after the radiologist says "we see something, you need a biopsy asap, how's next Tuesday" sounds like the Peanuts adults mumbling.
- Breast biopsy needles look like an ear piercing gun's meaner older sibling, and sound equally as obnoxious.
- Breast biopsy procedures look suspiciously like a Xenomorph's second mouth taking super fast tiny Alien bites on the ultrasound machine. WELL OF COURSE I WATCHED IT...do you know me?
- Breast MRIs are significantly more undignified than anything I've done outside a gyno office. Yes, I'm certain my indignity has only just begun, but you know...that was a new one for me. You sort of kneel/lie face down on an unholy offspring of a massage table and udder-milking setup, with all upper body weight on the sternum and ribcage between/under the boobs, because they have to hang into boxes for the scans. There is no full breath to be had (just re-reading that sentence made me take a HUGE breath in), and the 1/2-milker-box thing takes up any extra space in the MRI tube.So there is NO room to adjust. Related: I really need to lose some weight. Also related: SURPRISE I'm not claustrophobic.
- Turns out I can be in a seriously uncomfortable position without moving for 20 minutes out of sheer stubborn refusal to have to do this bullshit again (if you move during the longest scan, 9 minutes, they reschedule you for another day).
- I am capable of meditating while my ribs bruise.
- Spa music and noise cancelling headphones don't get rid of the MRI noise.
- No amount of music can distract from feeling a troupe of fairies frantically dancing on my back during the final scan. Fucking weird.
- MRI dye doesn't give you superpowers. I'm sorely disappointed.
And now, I'm off to snuggle one of my favorite babies AND have dinner and watch horror movies with some of my favorite family.
Today is good.