Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another near miss and my nerves are shot

I wrote this back in November, but never posted.  It's a bit dated, but pretty important to me:

So if any of you have been following this blog since the beginning, you will remember a little post I did a few years back about a health scare I had on my 37th birthday regarding an abnormal brain MRI.   Everything turned out to be fine, but it was certainly a scary few days.

Here is my breast cancer scare post:

Mid September I found a lump.  I had one back in 1998.  Left breast.  Had it removed it was nothing.  No mammogram, no ultrasound, no waiting around for results, etc. 18 months ago I was getting painful lumps under my left arm. They came and went each month.  I got them checked out.  Mammogram and ultrasound found nothing.  Surgeon was sure they were nothing and said if they get worse to let her know.  They went away several months later and never came back,  So this new lump, whom I've named Floyd, made himself apparent to me once day while I was stretching out my chest muscle after a workout.  A very small nodule the size of a peanut M&M.  I didn't really think anything of it.  I had my husband feel it, just to see if he could.   I decided to have it checked out by my primary physician.  I was really expecting the same sort of scenario as 1998 or 2011.  Either it was nothing or I know exactly what it is - it's benign and let 's just take it out.  So when I spent 3+ hours having a mammogram and ultrasound, getting called back and forth from the exam room to the waiting room, I had a bad feeling.  The radiologist confirmed that it was solid and would need to be biopsied.  The time span between the first doctor's appointment and my biopsy was just 5 days.  The sense of urgency from everyone was concerning.  So was the fact that unlike my previous encounters with lumps, no one was saying, "I really think this is nothing."  And to make matters worse, I got a hold of my radiology report.  While it's great to have all this information, it's best not to get a hold of your radiology report until AFTER you have biopsy results.  I googled every word on that report and every numerical classification and STRESSED over every word.  The 7 day period of time between the biopsy and my "results" appointment is just inhumane.  Insomnia, irritability, diarrhea - you name it.  It was a terrible week.  Nothing compared to what a woman facing breast cancer has to endure, but crappy nonetheless.

My breast biopsy results were negative and I have a benign breast mass.  I had surgery mid-November to have the whole  lump removed, and then some.  Now the bills are streaming in.  My insurance SUCKS.  While I was due for a mammogram last April and didn't get one, the one I got last month was not considered preventive since there was a lump, and therefore not covered - all because of one stupid diagnosis code.  Ridiculous!   I am so lucky that at least I can afford all this garbage.  I can't imagine what people go through that don't have the means, or who end up being truly sick.  I want to shout out to a colleague of mine at work who is a 9-year breast cancer survivor.  I reached out to her earlier this week when I was convinced I had cancer.  She was so gracious and giving of her experience and information.  She calmed me down and was honest with me about her experience.  She offered me her contact info to call her at ANY time and gave me the names of her awesome doctors.  She checked up on me even while away on business. I can't thank her enough, and I only hope that she had an equally generous mentor to go to when she was waiting for her results.  Everyone should be so lucky to have her on their side.  Thank you Sheila!

So despite some funky scar tissue, I'm totally fine.  Things could have been so much worse, and I am thankful this was all just nothing.  I doubt any future mammograms will be uneventful, and I'm sure I'll always panic each year at the dr's office.  But I'm riding the wave for now and enjoying my health.