Biopsy 2: Electric Boogaloo

Forgive me for the title.  I’m an 80s kid and couldn’t resist.  😃

Cancer isn’t funny.  It sucks.  However, thinking you might have cancer, or are fighting cancer, sometimes having a dark sense of humor comes in handy. That’s how I’ve tried to handle things since starting down this road to finding out what the hell is in my boob.

Last Friday morning,  I took a step closer to solving this mystery of “That Odd Tentacle Thing in My Left Breast.”

First off, I’m wheeled down to Radiology to get another mammogram, so my doc can insert a wire in my breast to surround the questionable area.  This will help the surgeon to take out enough tissue to be tested.

Ah… the lovely Boob Smashing Machine.

received_1218037608344136

Dr. G and her assistant prepped me by inserting a numbing shot. “A prick and then a little burning,” Dr. G said.

little burning? I could feel my eyes water as I inhaled deeply as what felt like FIRE enter my breast! Thankfully, the burning passed quickly.  A young 20 something tech smiled at me emphatically as I winced.

“Now we’re going to insert the wire. Look straight ahead,” Dr. G gently warned me. No problem – I have zero desire to look at myself turning into Frankenboob.

After a few minutes, the procedure was done. The extra wire poking out of me was taped to my upper chest (I’m still numbed up), gauze packed on my underside area, and I was whisked away to surgery.

On my way to surgery, we passed my hubby in the waiting room.

He kissed me. “I love you.  It’s going to be all right,” he half whispered. “I’ll be here when you wake up. ”

After the nurses began inserting an IV,  getting additional info from me, and taking vitals, the anesthesiologist gave me a pill to prevent nausea. “I’ll get your medicine to make you sleepy; I’ll be right back,” she gently touched my shoulder.

For the first time since checking in, I was alone.  Suddenly, the room felt too big, this whole thing felt like too much. I wanted to leave. My hands began sweating.

WHAT IF YOU HAVE CANCER?

No,  I thought.  You’re not going to do that.  You’re not going to let IT win.  If I do have IT, then I’m fighting.  All The Way. You’re not going to let the Fear or Cancer take over your life, I swore to myself.

After the drugs were administered, I didn’t give a damn what happened. I was floating in bliss. Then, the oxygen mask was placed on my face.  “Take a few deep breaths for me. There you go.  Take another.”

“Melanie!” I heard a woman’s voice, followed by patting of my cheeks. “Melanie, wake up. ”

I open my eyes.  “You did great,” the nurse smiled.  “It’s all done. ”  That felt like 5 minutes!

It’s been a few days since the surgery.  My poor boob looks like Mike Tyson used it as a punching bag, and it aches.  No weighs over 15 lbs, no bathing or hot tubs, and no raising my left arm over my head for a couple of weeks. By the way – I didn’t realize how much I used my left arm until I couldn’t raise it!

The doc said I should know the results in about a week’s time, but unlike the first Biopsy, I’m ready for whatever result will happen. In that surgery prep area, I killed off the What If. I am not afraid.

If Cancer is what I’m facing, then Cancer better strap in for a helluva fight! I’ll be ready to whip some ass.

received_285482328747986

Love, laughter, and shoes-

Xo, Melanie.

 

 

 

Advertisements

How a Pimple May Have Saved My Life

It was annoying and wouldn’t go away. A mid sized blemish on my left breast popped up unexpectedly and just wouldn’t totally go away, even after using hypoallergenic soap and softer bras.

Out of ideas how to make it stop, I went to my doc to have the blemish examined.

“Hmmm. You’ve never had any like this before?” she asked.

“No. It’s the only one I’ve had on a breast, ever.”

“Well, it could be something for Dermatology to look at – but I’d like to get a mammogram done just to rule out things. When was your last one?”

My mind started to race. Did she think this was something serious? After I told her my last date, she continued. “I think it would be good just to have another mammogram done for comparison’s sake. Chances are, everything’s fine,” she reassured me.

Two weeks later, I stood at the not-intimidating-at-all mammography machine, ready to have my poor boob smushed.

“There! All done. I’ll have the Radiologist look at these real quick to see if he needs any more images. Be right back,” the cheerful tech chirped.

10 minutes passed. This seemed a little long. Then the door opened.

“Ma’am, we’d like to have a few more images done just to get a closer look,” the tech explained. “There’s nothing to worry about; the Radiologist just wantsto be sure of what he’s looking at.”  Well…ok, I thought. Nothing to worry about, I told myself.

After wincing through another smushing, I sat and waited a few minutes. I had gotten mammograms done before and have never had to wait around – usually, it’s pics done, go home, and they’ll call or send results.

Then the door opened. Three people came in.

The tallest guy introduced himself as the Radiologist. Another doctor accompanied him with the cheerful tech, who wasn’t so chipper this time.

“Ma’am, after looking at your images, I’m seeing an usual area in the upper part of your breast. It’s not a lump, but it’s a little odd looking. It could be fibrous or scar tissue, so would you be able to stay and have an ultrasound done? We could probably get a better idea that way.”

Ok, I said. But inside, I thought – is this really happening? Is there something wrong? This was supposed to be a pimple.

Though I calmly laid on the table as the ultrasound took place, my mind swam. Don’t let your imagination get away from you, I told myself. They’re just being thorough. I tried to study the radiologist’s face as he rolled the device over me. I looked to the monitor to try and see what the others saw. The doctor pointed out a tiny area which looked like what I could best describe as “tentacles.”

“This doesn’t resemble a mass or a lump, but it is unusual,” the doctor said. “We are looking at a few options. One, we could do nothing now and do another ultrasound in a few months. Two, we could try and get a MRI to get a closer picture. However, we may not be able to get you scheduled for a month. Third, we could do a biopsy and have the tissue tested.”

“Do you think it’s cancerous?” I asked.

“That’s something a biopsy could rule out,” the doc said. So, I agreed.

Crazy enough, the area of concern wasn’t even the pimple in question! That pimple was most likely a clogged/infected hair follicle.

Jesus, I thought. What if I didn’t get this checked out? I wasn’t due for a mammogram for another eight months.

Unfortunately, the biopsy didn’t give a definite answer (and let me tell you – even though you are numbed up for the procedure – it is NOT fun. I was sweating buckets the whole time!). “Benign with unusual markers” was the official report.

My doctor, however, wants to know what those unusual markers are. I do, too. It could be nothing – but it could also be precancerous tissue, or Stage 0 breast cancer. She, along with my husband and I, decided it’s best to do another biopsy where a larger sample is taken to be tested (thankfully, I’ll be put under for this one!). The surgery takes place in a few days and I should know results in a week’s time.

I have never heard of Stage 0 before, but with the new technology available to several hospitals, images can be seen in 3D now, versus 2D. The hospital where I go has this technology, and it’s possible to catch cancerous activity in its earliest stages. Though I’m nervous, I am thankful this can be caught quickly.

My biggest takeaway from the whole situation is – Trust your instincts. When your body is doing something different from the norm, get it checked out! Though my annoying pimple had nothing to do with this situation, it was probably God’s way of sending me a signal before things potentially got out of hand.

check yourself

Women Over 40 – GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS DONE. 

Here are some resources to find free or reduced cost mammograms: Free or Low Cost Mammograms

Or – try The National Mammography Program for facilities in your area: National Mammography Program

I share my story to spread awareness – don’t put off something that doesn’t feel right.

I am also so thankful for my rock, my partner, my love – he has been so supportive and  lets me cry, vent, or gets silly with me. I am blessed!

40533995_10217329209047656_8569703908761403392_o

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo, Melanie.

Shopping for the Cure by Forever 21

October is a special month for many reasons; there’s beautiful colors on the leaves, a briskness in the air, the excitement of Halloween, and also many events focusing on breast cancer awareness.

One of my favorite retailers, Forever 21, put out sweatshirts, tees, and jewelry to promote breast cancer awareness. With every purchase of a special item, Forever 21 donated a portion of the sale to The Keep a Breast Foundation!

I bought this cute black tee and the ribbon earring set. Stylish and makes a statement!

F21 Ribbon Half

F21 Ribbon shirt

F21 Ribbon full

Tunic – H&M Ribbon Tee – Forever 21 Plus Jeans – Forever 21 Plus Sneaker Wedges – Forever 21

Want this shirt? Click here!

By the way – how was your Halloween? I followed makeup artist Kandee Johnson’s tutorial on creating Maleficent, and here’s my result!

IMAG2972

Magnificent Maleficent

I even won $100 at the costume contest! Woo hoo!

I hope you all had a wonderful October! Stay tuned for surprises in November!

Love, light, and shoes!

xx Melanie