Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Well, Fudge

Yesterday morning I went to my mega-appointment with the breast people. (If you missed the first part of this story, pick up the thread here.) Matt and I got there just after 6am and stayed until after noon. We were finished talking to the surgeon BEFORE THE SUN ROSE. I am not kidding. There is nothing like getting a jump on the day, you know. The surgeon is an older lady who seems super-competent, but she's also warm in a no-nonsense kind of way. She put up a lot of images from my mammogram and ultrasound and talked to us about them. At this point, the student in me took over and I was just interested. She pointed out something about how part of the mass looks spiky-shaped, and I found myself saying, "Yes, that looks bad," and I forgot for a moment that I was talking about myself.

She told me that I would have an MRI that day and more xray and ultrasound to be sure, but she thought we were dealing with a bigger tumor than the previous report showed. Only a small part of it was palpable, the little lump that sent me in to be checked in the first place. But more of it was visible on mammogram. The takeaway from this part of the discussion is that a lumpectomy is not happening. She said that because of its size, and the fact that I don't have a lot of boob to begin with, that it would not have a good result, in cosmetic terms. So we are talking about a mastectomy, with reconstruction at the same time. Also she thought a couple of lymph nodes on that side looked abnormal, but they wouldn't know for sure until during the surgery.

Fuckity fuck fuck. As the poet says.

I was a little numb at this point but I was hanging in there, trying to process this information and all the different options she was talking about. Matt and I asked her a lot of questions. Apparently, if I wanted to throw all my energy into "breast conservation," that is, keeping as much of my boob intact as possible, doing chemotherapy for four months before surgery would be an option, in hopes of shrinking the mass into lumpectomy-range. Four months of chemo was just not something I wanted to say yes to. I asked her if there was a possible future in which I would have the mastectomy and need no follow-up. She said it was very possible, about "fifty-fifty."

So then I went off and had another mammogram just to check something on the opposite side (it was all clear), then an ultrasound, and then it was time to get ready for the MRI. I've never had one of those, but I thought it would be like an episode of House, where I'd lie on my back in a pool of greenish light while attractive young doctors worked out their personal problems behind the glass wall. Well, actually I had to get IV gadolinium and then lie on my stomach with my arms above my head, not moving, for thirty minutes. It was some kind of fancy breast MRI machine, so there were openings in the sliding drawer thingy for my boobs. Kind of like a massage table, except with extra openings. Oh, and no massage. Once again, the worst spa treatment ever. I am not a panicky or claustrophobic person, but even so, the sensation of being slid backwards into that machine was a little upsetting. Then the stillness. Oh the stillness and the not scratching of my nose. Then I zoned out.

I thought it would be funny if they got some plastic wrenches, toy chain, and plastic nails and stuck them to the side of the MRI machine. Maybe they've never thought of that. I forgot to mention it.

We left after six hours. I think we were both pretty wiped out. I know that I went home and took a three hour nap. Even after that, I was lacking in my usual zip. I noticed this because I was on the phone with my friend, I started a sentence, and I had to stop in the middle and rest, because the talking, how did I not ever notice how exhausting it is before? Always with the talking and saying words.

Normal Neighbor brought over lasagna and salad for everyone. She texted me beforehand, and I was like, "Everybody, hide last night's lasagna and DO NOT mention it!"

Today the surgeon called me to talk over the MRI. It had just confirmed what she suspected: a single mass, funny shaped, 4-5cm, two lymph nodes that look a little iffy. I quizzed her and she explained why a lumpectomy is not feasible. I have an appointment to meet a plastic surgeon on Monday. Matt is keen for surgery to happen as soon as possible, with or without reconstruction. He has told me this several times, that reconstruction is my decision and he knows it's important to me, but don't think it's important to him. But he has never been a boob man. Now, if I were dealing with butt cancer, this would be a whole different thing.

Today I felt fine, and Matt's mom and I went to Target and bought a lot of the Liberty of London stuff that I'd missed the first time. Kind of all of it, actually. So if you're looking for some of that, it's here at my house. Sorry! You will hear more about that, obvs. Thank you for all of your good thoughts and sweet words, my friends.

40 comments:

Carrie said...

omg, i just saw this post and then backtracked to your last one. Becky, so sorry this is happening to you! Hope I have the same grace and common sense if it ever happens to me.
I know my husband would respond the exact same way in the boob vs. butt conundrum. I suppose it's no accident that we small-busted women are married to the men we are married to.
Please keep the updates coming and I will be thinking positive thoughts for you, which is about the best we atheists can do.

Meghan said...

Hey Becky, I've been checking the blog all day for the update (knowing that things weren't as simple as they may have initially appeared). So sorry to know this bump in the road is bigger than originally predicted. I share the poet's sentiments precisely. I'll be continuing to pray for you and the whole family. This pretty much sucks, huh? But it sounds like you have some great people coaching you through the process. I'm glad for that, on your behalf.

Keely said...

Well....fuckity fuck fuck. I was reading that and waiting for the, "but it turns out it was all a big misunderstanding!" or something.

Lots and lots of hugs. Like, a buttload.

Veronica said...

Well, fuckity fuck fuck is right. I'm giving a big virtual middle finger to those MRI results, and a much bigger virtual hug to you. I wish I could be sitting on your couch with you right now, hugging a fabulous Liberty of London throw pillow and drinking a great big cosmo and talking about how you are going to be just fine. Because that is what's going to happen--no matter what they have to do, you're going to be just fine. But oh how I hate that you have to deal with this! Love you, Beck. xo

Ginny Marie said...

Oh, crap. I was hoping you would be able to go the lumpectomy route. It was the same "star-shaped mass" conversation with my surgeon that gave me a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I ran out and bought the latest edition of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, and that helped me with some of my decisions.

I remember going to the mall during that decision-making time, thinking "I've got cancer" but at the same time feeling amazed that I didn't feel sick at all. I felt just the same as I did before I discovered that damn lump.

I'm still praying!

Dighti said...

If you do get re-constructive surgery, check out this t-shirt :)

http://www.zazzle.com/yes_theyre_fake_my_real_ones_tried_to_kill_me_tshirt-235967244701746601

Fantastic Forrest said...

I'm with Matt. Get that surgery done so that you don't have to worry about anything continuing to develop.

You WILL be fine. You simply HAVE to be. And that is all there is to it.

XOXO

Beth said...

It's sweet that Matt is like, Whatevs on the boob reconstruction. You will be fine because it sounds like this is a very treatable situation and because it sounds like you have great doctors. And a great family and support group. Oh, and you are shredded, girl. Shredded.

Mad Woman said...

I think it's fantastic that Matt is so supportive of your decision about reconstruction. I too was hoping that after the fuckity fuck fuck bit was going to be a "Ha...turns out its not that bitch cancer after all". I'm prayin' for ya sweetie. Kick this thing in the ass!

The Dental Maven said...

Okay. So we should look for more information on the lump chronicles on Monday. Is that right? But from what you've said so far, it still sounds like we're talking a compressed treatment period and excellent prognosis. I hope I'm reading this correctly. None-the-less -- MORE POSITIVE VIBES pouring out from my end Girlfriend!

Amy said...

Grace, not to mention wit, under fire. And you and Matt are one heck of a team. Will stay tuned... xoxoxoxo

Viki said...

Keep asking questions and finding out the answers. You will figure out what the right thing to do for you is. As a BC survivor, I'm available if you would like to email anytime if I can help in anyway. Hang in there.

Elisa @ Globetrotting in Heels said...

Fuckity fuck fuck is right. thank you for keeping us up to date on this - I wish I lived closer so I could bring over some of my tiramis├╣ (because clearly you have had enough lasagna for a while) but I'm sending you lots and lots of hugs and get well vibes.

Pamela said...

ugh. prayers for you.

Stephanie said...

I locked my keys in my car yesterday thinking about you. Fuck is right. Love you, girl.

Corinna said...

I've been thinking about you a ton, Becky, and I appreciate you sharing with us, there is a lot of support out here for you.

Michele R said...

Becky, you're in my thoughts morning, noon and night. I'm so sorry you are going through this and am awed by your common sense and beautiful demeanor. I'm so glad you have Matt right by your side.

mmeperpetua said...

The "well, fudge" should have tipped me off that this would lead to a fuckity fuck fuck situation, and not something like, "oh, the mass is made of chocolate, no prob."

Will continue to think positive thoughts. You keep napping and shopping.

Amy Whitley said...

I know you don't know me, but I read you all the time, and you always make me laugh outloud at least twice per post. Even on these last few posts, which is so utterly amazing I just have to tell you two things: 1. Your point of view of the world is so very refreshing and enjoyable, so thank you for that in our lives and 2. I'm thinking of you and hoping for the best for you. I REALLY am, as though I actually knew you and you lived next door. I was walking down the hall at work yesterday and found myself lamenting your situation and wondering how you were feeling. I just though you should know that's how powerful your words here are.

Kate said...

so sorry. both my parents were diagnosed with cancer last week. at the same time. To have a supportive family is key and you have that. Plus some nice new liberty duds. (I was at Target yesterday really wanting to buy some!!) thinking of you with hope and compassion,
kate

Lindsay said...

Becky, I am so sorry this is going on, and you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Bonnie said...

Hang in there, Becky. We're thinking about you and sending lots of positive vibes in your direction. xo

aimeewrites said...

Fuckity fuck McFuckerson.

And shit.

I'm sending you every healing and strength thought and vibe I can think of. I wish I could send a hug along with them.

melondonkey said...

This is sad news, Becky. I'm glad you've got a great family to help you through it. My thoughts are with you.

Josephine said...

Dang. Sending good vibes for the road ahead. It's a strong reminder for all us gals to check more often.

A Day That is Dessert said...

Thanks for the update Becky. Yes - fuckity fuck fuck. xoxo

Cassie said...

Totally sucks, Becky.

I hope you're able to get good rest-- news like this really does take a lot out of you. The act of Talking, some days, is a lot harder for me than it used to be also.

Continuing to pray, as I have been, and we're thinking of you constantly.

Lisa Lilienthal said...

OK so that was not the news you (or we) wanted to hear. Grace and wit under fire, indeed! Thinking of you.

Michele said...

Ah shit but how sweet is Matt. You do what you feel is important.

You're in my thought.

XOXO

Jenni said...

Well, shit. Fucking cancer. It does not know who it is messing with, though. You're tough and smart and strong and still hilarious through all of this. You will kick this cancer's ass. I know it.

Lots of love to you, woman. Waiting for more updates.

And, it was you who bought all the Liberty of London stuff up? Did you get the throw pillows? I love those throw pillows.

The Smoking Chick said...

I don't know you. I honestly have no idea how I found your blog. I think I actually googled cool blogs, but anyway... I come here almost daily. Ok, I'm pretty lazy, so maybe almost weekly. Whatever, I love reading everything you write. I feel like I know you. That was stalker-y, huh?
I literally shed a couple tears after I read this. And while I know this is really a no worries kind of thing, I know how scary this can be.
And even though I really have no clue who you are or why you blog about your drama-filled neighborhood, I think you're one of the coolest chicks I've never met. I am keeping you in my thoughts, and I am so sorry you are having to deal with all of this crap.

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

Fuckity Fuck Fuck - that's Yeats, correct? He's Irish so it fits.

So sorry to hear about all of this Becky. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

gretchen said...

As I'm late to the party here, I'll be the 30th person to say "fuckity fuck fuck" is right. But it still sounds doable and manageable. I say just get it the hell out of you, and then deal with some kind of reconstruction later. Matt is RIGHT. Listen to him. He doesn't care what your boob looks like, and if you do, you can fix it later.

Much love and prayers and thoughts headed your way.

Maggie said...

It sure is incredible reading all of the comments on your blogs. Becky, you really don't know how you impact the people around you. We all know and are strong in our belief that this too shall pass. You will come through this with flying colors and you are such an incredible person. I am so very proud that you are my niece and I think your hubby is terrific!! Love ya

Becky said...

Scott, YES that is Yeats, well done! Heh. Thanks so much for all this outpouring of good stuff, guys. I am really bucked up by it.

To all of you who are saying Matt is right, he appreciates your support! Though that guy doesn't really need to have any more confidence in his opinions.

Love y'all.

Maureen said...

So sorry this is happening to you. I love your blog, and you're sense of humor even in the midst of all this is simply amazing! Sorry there were no residents working out their personal problems while you were getting that awful non-massage, massage, but see from latest post that you did get a massage, and the hair it is fabulous!

InTheFastLane said...

I've been lurking for a while, but wanted to step out and let you know that I am hoping and praying for the best for you.

Jason, as himself said...

Hi Becky, I'm here because Holly mentioned your blog and your upcoming procedure.

And, damn! This just really bites.

I am particularly honed in on the topic of breast cancer because I just committed to doing the Susan G. Komen For the Cure 3-day walk.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hello, and I want you to know that thousands of people who don't even know you are pulling out all the stops, so the words, "breast cancer" no longer have a place in the English vocabulary.

I wish you the best!

jillbert said...

Hi Becky, I was catching up on blog reading and always enjoy seeing what's going on with you, and WOW, I didn't expect to see this. (Not that you did either.) Be strong. I'll be thinking of you.