Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Stage 0 Grade 3

Poppies are blooming in my garden.

Before I was distracted by rivers of chocolate puke, I was planning to use this to sort out my experiences to date with a little bit of breast cancer.

It started with a mammogram. Actually, it started with my screening colonoscopy, which I finally got around to doing at age 53. One polyp removed, very nice drugs, and I got cocky. It had been five years or so since my last mammogram, so I scheduled one for a Saturday morning. Got the call Tuesday morning - a stereotactic biopsy was recommended for the microcalcifiations that have been there since my first mammogram ten years ago.

The biopsy was June 1. (That's a long funny story for another day). The radiologist kindly showed me the calcifications they had vacuumed out, explaining "This one looks benign but these over here look like DCIS". That's what I expected from the mamography report, ductal carcinoma in situ. That "in situ" is good news, medical for "not spreading".

The next task was to pry the biopsy report out of my internist. She ducked my calls for two days and finally sent a message that I would have to come to the office for results on June 6. She came in obviously distressed and blurted out "Its bad news. You have breast cancer. You need surgery. Then chemo and we'll have to see about the nodes..". She was so flustered I took pity on her and stopped her. I told her the surgeon I wanted to see and asked for a copy of the report and she fled. She sent the med tech in the the number of the surgeon (which I already had) and I managed to get as copy of the report after several more requests. By then I was anxious. DCIS is not life threatening and not treated with chemo. But the report was basically what I expected. DCIS with comedonecrosis - the worst kind of a not-so-bad diagnosis.

I'll deal with that doctor later.

The surgeon saw me two days later. "Can't we just remove everything and get it over with?" I asked. "You don't really want to do that," she told me. On reflection, she was right. Partial masectemy with sentinel lymph node biopsy on June 15. The pathology resultts on that were more good news. The nodes were clear, no signs of invasive disease, estrogen receptor positive.

Next: follow-up mamogram, vistis to the oncologist for aromatase inhibitor prescription, and the radiation oncologist.

And pick Sookie up at the vet and clean up more chocolate poop.

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