Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Diagnostic Mammogram and Ultrasound.

Now that I made my own official diagnosis thanks to Dr. Google, I decided to prepare.  The internet comes first, so I picked this blog name, and I registered on a breast cancer forum.  I stopped shopping for clothes, not knowing what my figure would be like in the future.  I spent a lot of time on google checking out my options and learning the lingo.  I started reading breast cancer books, including the "bible" of books, the Susan Love book.

I guess bibles aren't for me in any sense, as I didn't care for it much.  I did find Meredith Norton's "Lopsided" hilarious though, I recommend it even if you aren't a cancer patient.

I start haunting the radiology sites to see what cancer looks like, so when I get my sonogram I'll recognize it.  I learned the Birads system.

I'm ready.

All that was left to do was get the official diagnosis.

August 17.  My appointments are for 2:00 and 3:00.  I arrive on time and redo the paperwork and sit down and play games on my iPhone.  In front of me are a gangster and his girl.  And, of course, a baby in a stroller they were ignoring.  Their conversation was revolving around somebody who'd been shot and killed the night before.  The girl kept shhhing him and looking at me, but I don't care if they want to kill each over opposing sides of the color wheel - none of my beeswax, I say.  Ya feel me?   My only concern about them is they not steal my phone.    I play Bookworm until my name is called.

First the mammogram, which fortunately, due to the day of the month, wasn't painful.  My first lucky thing in this whole situation - I get scheduled the day after my period when my breasts don't hurt. Then came the sonogram.

I couldn't help but make a lame joke about the last time I'd had a sonogram when I was pregnant, and asking if there was a baby in there?.  Yeah, I know, I was under stress, okay?

I did see the lump and it did look just like the cancer I'd seen on the radiology websites.  And, the cysts looked just like the cysts on the website too. The black circle on my sonogram below is a cyst.

The techs were very nice.  I made sure to tell them I already knew I had cancer.  They can't tell you anything but I wanted to make sure that people knew it wouldn't come as a shock to me (meaning, I didn't want the radiologist to give the news to my doctor first and make me wait another day for him to tell me.)  One of them said I had a "cyst farm" in my breasts,  and it was no wonder I'd not been concerned about a lump.

The radiologist came in, and said, "I hear you suspect you have cancer." and I said I did.  He told me that he was very sorry, but that the tests came back highly suspicious for cancer, Birads 4c.  He said that while he typically tried to give women some hope, he couldn't do that with me.  He thought there was an 80% + chance that it's cancer.

I could see that he'd read the book on how to break bad news.   He sat at my level, stared at me straight in the eyes and never blinked.  He was very warm and comforting, but so clearly not wanting to tell me this that I wanted to hug him.  I did reassure him that it was okay, I already knew.  He would have gotten a C on the "breaking bad news to patients" test because he actually said that "It was as hard on me to tell you as it was for you to hear" which I'm pretty sure is a no-no.  Then he backtracked, "Oh no!  I didn't mean it that way."

And, he didn't, he was very compassionate.  And, he was right in this case, I do think it was harder on him to tell me than me to hear it.  Dr. Google had already broken the news to me.

He said he'd fax the radiology reports to my doctor immediately.

I went out to the car and called my husband and told him my suspicions had been confirmed, and we discussed when to tell the kids: wait for biopsy confirmation and hope for the 20% chance of it being negative, or just admit it?  Then I called my sister - she's as into google as I am and she kept finding all these things that meant it wasn't cancer, and I kept saying it was, so being the big sister, I had to say ... 

I told you so.

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