Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cancer and all that Goes with it--Again

St. Agatha prayer card
Note: This was written in May.  I have had another mastectomy since.  I will write on that soon.

Well, It looks like I get to go through the whole nightmare, again.  Yes, I should have had my other breast rechecked at the time.  Yes, I probably should have insisted on a double mastectomy.  But, I did not want to have healthy tissue removed.  I was taking tamoxifen.  That was supposed to block the hormone receptors in the cancer cells.  Apparently, it didn't work.

Last week I had a biopsy. The doctor had me go through yet another mammogram.  Afterward, I noticed that the technician had a mammo on the light box.  However, it was the pictures taken in August, not the one I had done in April.  So, if they are working off my old one, why didn't they biopsy my right side then?  Wow, it could have saved me a whole six months of anxiety, wondering, and pain.  However, if the biopsy comes out positive, I may save myself a trip to the OR. I put off my reconstruction for this and may be able to have it done at the same time as my second mastectomy.  Now, I just have to wait a couple of days for the results and the decision on surgery.

As small as our community is at church and civic groups, I find it interesting that people I'm acquainted with don't know about my mastectomy.  I thought that rumor would go around like wild fire.  I am amazed and pleased at the same time that my life is not grist for the rumor mill.  But I also notice that when people do find out about it, they seem to expect me to look like an Amazon warrior--you know, the mythical female warriors who had one breast cut off to make bow and arrow easier to use in battle.  I had a simple mastectomy of one breast.  The surgeon removed all the breast tissue.  He lifted the muscle off the rib cage, inserted an expander, and sewed the skin back together.  I feel very self conscious in tight clothes because to me it looks very odd.  My daughter says no one else notices the odd shape of my left breast or that it has changed its shape and size over the last six months.  It still makes me feel strange, especially the sleepy flesh feel of it.  It is not me but it is what I have to live with now.  My husband is understanding and says he is okay with the artificiality and ugliness of it.  It is one of those strange things you never really thought you'd be talking to your husband about when you were a girl.

So, my cancer odyssey has begun again.  Hopefully, if I do have another mastectomy, I won't have to worry about cancer again.  But, you never know.  I had no risk factors for breast cancer (except, as my good friend Paddy says, I have breasts and I'm  a woman. 

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