Monday, March 01, 2010

Mel Results

Yeah...I like it.  I'm sure it will offend some.  I do apologize...but again...I like it.  It puts into words exactly how I feel about the evil, foul collections of atypical cells that invade millions upon millions upon millions each and every year.  It displays fight...and heart...and spirit.  When I was browsing for an image for this post I found countless t-shirts emblazoned with this sweet little saying...and yes...even caps...for those who have temporarily lost their hair to chemo.  I pray I never need one of those caps, but if I do?  You can damn well be sure I'll wear it with pride.

Yes, I'm angry.  I'm angry about a lot of things.  But mostly I'm angry that I have to face my own mortality at least once every six months.  Yes, I am beyond grateful for the advances medical technology has made over the last few decades.  Shoot...I'm beyond grateful for the advances that have been made just since I started having to deal with this.  I know what the alternative entails...but it doesn't mean that that makes it any easier.

My surgeon is an amazing woman.  Even when my ticking time boobs are at their scariest, she is always calm...and normal...and never...ever...mentions the "C" word unless she is holding absolute proof.  I see her every six months and occasionally I'll have two visits in a row with nothing to report.  She'll look at me and smile and say, "If we can have one more like this, we can go to once a year visits!"  I smile...let hope grow...God laughs.  It hasn't happened yet...and this has been going on since well before Hope came home.  I found a lump right before we went to China.  I remember looking at Dr. Van Fossen and saying, "I don't care what you find.  Nothing is stopping me from getting on that airplane."  She smiled at me and said, "Even if we do find something, it can wait until you get back from China with that precious daughter of yours."

The MRI's are the part I suppose I dread the most at this point.  Not because they are scary or painful or anything like that.  They've improved so much that I can just about sleep through them now.  No, the MRI's bring uncertainty...more tests...and giant medical bills.  When she first suggested I have one it was as a kind of baseline.  She wanted me to have one every other year.  Again...hasn't happened yet.  I've yet to have an MRI where they don't find "something".  My first one?  Not only did it find something in my breast, but it also found something on my liver.  Another MRI, two ultrasounds, and two CT scans later, proved that the something on my liver was just a collection of simple cysts...but whatever was in my breast needed to come out.  I was scheduled for an ultrasound guided biopsy.  The nurse explained that the radiologist would use the ultrasound to find the lump and then remove it.  So there I laid on the table, head to the side, draped for the procedure and in walked the radiologist.  He looked at the ultrasound and said, "You know what?  Sometimes a simple cyst doesn't look like a simple cyst.  I'm going to stick a needle in it and try to aspirate it.  If that doesn't work, then we'll do the biopsy."  I remember staring at the sprinkler system while I was being numbed...and I could hear Hope's little voice in my head...singing "The Old Rugged Cross" just as plain as day.  I told him that if it was just a simple cyst?  I was going to kiss him and then do cartwheels down the hall.  He said he couldn't wait.  It was just a simple cyst.

The next MRI...found something...this time in my right breast.  Dr. V has always called my left breast, "the busy breast".  Well...I guess the right side was feeling left out or something.  Did I mention that all of this came after being on Tamoxifen for a full course of five years?  And yes, yes, YES I would take it again in a heartbeat.  I'm already a prime candidate for Evista as soon as I'm able to take it.  So...more ultrasounds...mammograms...did I mention that I have a yearly mammogram...and after each one of those I either have to have an ultrasound or another MRI scheduled?  And let's not forget the other two surgical biopsies.  Ok, so something on the right side.  More ultrasounds...the ultrasound can't find it.  Need another MRI.  Still there...bigger.  Now it's time for an MRI guided biopsy.  Yeah...laying upside down with your boobs in a box underneath you with your arms above your head...scan...pull you out...mark it...push you into the machine...scan...pull you out...adjust...back in the machine...scan...pull you out...numb...cut...all underneath you...insert your own cow/udder joke here.  He then inserted a metal clip next to the spot that would show up on all future tests to show if whatever this thing was would grow back in the same spot.  Oh yes, then I had to go have a mammogram immediately following this surgery to make sure the clip was in place.  You get the idea.  Well...I don't have a whole lot of nice things to say about the radiologist that did this procedure.  The wonderful lady who did the mammogram had to change my dressing...and it hadn't even been thirty minutes yet.  Later that day I was sitting on the couch and realized I had a steady trickle of blood down my side.  It eventually stopped...and then?  It got infected.'ve never known true joy until your boob is infected.  Sooo...start a course of antibiotics for that.  I get the results back...all is well...that was a Friday.  On Monday?  Dr. V calls me and tells me she just got a report from the radiologist.  He didn't feel like he got enough of it for a decent biopsy.  Let's do it again.  She explained that she was just about as happy with him as I was at this point but he's the only one in this area that does the MRI guided procedures.  So we had to schedule it far enough into the future to be clear from any infection.  Three to four days before it was scheduled?  I get a call...the radiologist is going on vacation...we have to a time when Garry had to be out of town for work?  Yeah...special.  It was finally worked was similar to what he did the first time...but this time instead of taking a biopsy he inserted a tiny needle into the area to be biopsied.  I was then wheeled to the OR where Dr. V was waiting for me and where she surgically removed the area and the clip he had placed there earlier.

There have been lots of cysts aspirated in the office either when I go for my six month check-ups or if I find one during my monthly BSE that is new or bothers me.  And no, I'm not having any genetic testing done.  Why?  Is it going to make me any more vigilant than what I am now?  Good Lord no!  I'd hate to see what being any more vigilant would entail!

So, a year ago...time for another MRI.  Yep...something in the right breast.  This time?  Let's check it again in six months.  Okaaaaay.  Six months ago?  Hmmm...that something is gone...but there is a new something...other somethings have gotten something has grown.  If the something that has grown shows more growth?  Surgery.  Another one is six months.  ::sigh::

Last Friday was my six month surgeon's visit.  I knew she was going to find something...because I found it earlier this month.  She said she wasn't going to do anything about it until after the MRI because it would show up on the MRI as trauma.  So...MRI is scheduled for next Monday.  Depending on what it shows for this new something, we'll either leave it alone or she'll do a needle biopsy in the office.  And I refuse to think any farther ahead than that at this point.  As for what the MRI will show dealing with the old somethings?  Again...not a clue...all I know is that surgery is staring me in the face, yet again.

I've told you I love my surgeon...I also love my med tech, Amy.  That is one girl I always want on my side.  She takes no crap...and she loves me.  She looked at me last week and said, "Look at you!  My GOD you look GOODWHAT have you been doing?"  This is the girl who will call me just to talk...nothing about work or boobs or cancer...just because, in her words, "I always feel better after I talk to you."  So we're sitting there after my appointment and she's holding my folder which is easily 5-6 inches thick.  She says, "You's's always..."  I knew what she was trying to say.  I said, "Amy?  This is my normal.  I don't like it, I can't change it...this is just my normal.  This is what He's given me.  Some days it doesn't bother me at all...and others it's more than I can take."

So there you go...Mel Results.  That's what I've started calling my test results.  The results are never what I prayed for...never what I wanted...but they are not a death sentence either.

You know what?  Screw those little caps...I've always wanted to shave my head...right?

Be blessed y'all...until the next Mel Results...


Jay said...

Oh, Mel, what a wonderful post! And yes, I'd wear one of those shirts too!

I'm waiting for the results of a brain scan right now. Had the MRI last Friday, the neuro says I have to wait three months for the result. WHAAAAAT??? Fock that for a game of soldiers! I'm ringing and making a nuisance of myself till that changes, I think. I haven't had the energy till now, but you've given me the kick up the backside which I needed, so I'm going to ring just as soon as I hit send. Thanks for that!

And no. As you suspect, the tee shirt offends me not at all. Good luck with your results and/or the following surgery. Chin up, shoulders squared, loins girded. I'll be following right behind ya. ;)

Mel said...

Three months? Fuck THAT! Actually, I think I win today for using it more times than you print anyway! ") Jay, my friend, I'm glad I could provide a kick up in the backside for you. Your words mean more to me than you can know...because the last two days have been of the "I can't take it anymore" type. We *will* get through this!

Jay said...

Well, I did ring and persist and after getting the secretary to ask the neuro TWICE and getting the answer back it seems I can't be seen any sooner, but they will be sending me the results and also a copy to my doctor, so I guess I'll have to be happy with that. At least, if there is something to worry over, my doc will be able to make a judgement and perhaps request something. Anyway, I am not going to worry over it. I'm gonna say 'fuck it'. ;)

And yes, we WILL get through it!

jay said...

I got my results! And apparently, my MRI was all clear, so that's good!

They didn't notify me, though, just sent the results to my doc, and he wasn't going to tell me, either, until I turned up for another problem! Gee ... what are we, chopped liver? LOL!

How are you doing?

Mel said...

jay my girl...who CARES how you got the results as long as you got them and they were good!!! I'm good post is up!

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