Today is June 6th, 2012. Tomorrow I go in for a large section biopsy to determine what stage of Inflammatory Breast Cancer I have and what the recommended treatment shall be. Yikes that's a lot to put into one sentence. Right now I just feel like sitting on my newly built deck at my newly built Tiki Bar and having a bottle of wine! However I can't, I feel a need to record my story to date so that I don't forget it later.
So how did I get here?
On March 12th, 2012, I went for my very first Mammogram. They did my right breast first. The technician forgot to check the calibration on the machine or something, but whatever it was that happened, the machine came down and with a squishing splatting feeling (like that when you squish a really FAT spider), my right breast was crushed. I screamed in pain and almost passed out. After I was normal again, she re-adjusted the machine and did the left side - low and behold, hardly any pain.
March 15th, my right breast is tender and there is a distint golfball size lump right in the middle. I get a call later that day to come in for a repeat Mammogram, but on my left breast, they said my right one was fine, no signs of lumps or anything to be concerned about. I mentioned the pain, they said to talk to the technician when I came in for 2nd Mammogram.
March 16th, my right breast is now quite tender and the nipple has begun to invert? What's with that!!!!
March 22nd, second mammogram on left breast. All good, I ask the technician about the right breast and he said it was probably just a hematoma and should go away on it's own. If it hadn't in a few weeks go and see the doctor.
April 1st I go to the walk in clinic because the pain is unbearable I am told I have mastitis and am prescribed an antibiotic.
April 8th, now the pain has moved into my armpit and across my entire breast which is hard as a tennis ball and about the same size. I go to emergency, they put me on intravenous antibiotics every 12 hours and order an ultrasound.
April 11th Ultrasound: Results as per notes: The appearance of the breast suggests a degree of mastitis!!! Hello, we've already been here, but they don't listen. After 2 days of Intravenous antibiotics I am put on another 7 day dose of antibiotics.
Week of April 20th back to clinic I go to see another doctor who finally agrees with me, this is NOT mastitis. So he refers me to a breast surgeon - that takes 10 days to get in.
May 3rd, I meet with Dr. Bush, nice man, does an exam and suggests we do another ultrasound and schedule an MRI. He said if this was hematoma or fat necrosis, it should get better in the next few months.
May 7th, 2nd ultrasound, reveals no change, only a few more cycsts or spots or what ever they call it. Still no date for MRI and I'm loosing it. I can hardly work for the pain, sleep is impossible, my breast is now as big as a baseball and hard as concrete.
FINALLY!!!! May 29th I get a call for the MRI and only after my friend Wendy and my brother Chris had to pull in every favour they had, so much for the doctor doing anything for me! If I had relied on them I would still be waiting.
THE BOMB DROPS: I'm out on my evening bike ride with Waldo and my husband and my cell rings. It's a long distance # and I'm off work hours so at first I don't answer it. Then eventually as he keeps calling I am forced to. It's the Breast Surgeon. "Michelle, he says, it looks like you have Inflammatory Breast Cancer"
Are you kidding? How can that be? It must be a mistake? This is damage from the Mammogram, it has to be, how can it happen at the same time? Something is just not right?
"Sorry, he says, that is what the MRI technician has told me and so I've referred you to a special surgeon and Lions Gate"
Okay I say to my husband that night over a bucket load of tears and confusion, this must be a mistake. We'll go get that biopsy and see what's going on. Unfortunately I have to wait 5 whole days to get in to see the Dr. for the biopsy. My husband has to go out of town for work, so my sister and my mother come up for a few days, mainly to keep me sane and also to act as a buffer with the children as I am finding it very hard to be around them right now. I feel like I have failed them. It is my job to raise them and I have no right to leave them while they are this young.
My thoughts over the next few days have been all over the map. I have been in tears for hours, have been laughing with mum about how I'll finally get to be a blonde and perhaps I'll get a nice tattoo on my bald head...oh and the best part, I can eat ALL I want now. I love food and have always been watching what I eat. Now I don't need to worry about that.
Oh, but yes I do, because remember, this is all a big mistake right!.
June 4th "C" Day: I meet with the surgeon in North Vancouver. Nope he says after examining my breasts, lymph nodes, stomach, this is not fat necrosis, this is Inflammatory Breast Cancer (there's that stupid BIG word again), and it's spread to your lymph nodes and a small biopsy won't do and, and, and! ENOUGH ALREADY! I shut my mind. Blank, I'm just going to go blank. I'll do what he says...... general anesthetic...blah blah.....Lions Gate.... Thursday....help........results.....large piece biopsy....what???.....nothing is registering. All I am thinking is sorry dear husband, sorry kids.....sorry family...sorry....I don't know what I did wrong??? I've really screwed up now haven't I. How do I fix this one?
So today is my last day of somewhat normalcy. Tomorrow I get the full diagnosis and prognosis. I will update the blog when I get time. Right now, I think I'm going to go and drink some wine and relax in the sun with my lovely doggie.