April 6th, I went to Mount Sinai for my first mammogram since radiation. It's been 6 months since radiation and while I've lived every day as normal as possible, and it's hard to explain exactly how I've felt...the easiest way to describe it is this....Without a doubt at least 25 times a day, I would think about if they 'got it all' with surgery and treatment. I'd like to say I had an 'instinct' and the knew I was all 'good' but until you get those results, you never really know.
Every time I look at Reece, I couldn't help but think' will I be here when she gets married'? It's amazing and scary at the things you think about once you are given that diagnosis. I have talked at great lengths with Sean about this, and as much as he's tried to convince me that I'll be here, you just never know.
When some people found out I had breast cancer, some of the reactions where 'Oh, well if you had to get cancer, that's the best one to get, it's the easiest to beat'.
I volunteered at a hockey tournament a few weeks ago, for a girl I went to school with. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and 18 months later , she was gone. She was a year younger then I, and was only 39 when she passed away. Funny, I guess sometimes when people don't know what to say, they stay stupid things.
Back to the follow up mammogram. Sean and I headed to Toronto..with nothing but positive thoughts in our heads. Did the mammogram, had to wait 2 hours for the appointment so we went for lunch. I already knew something was up...when the technician did the mammogram, because I was seeing the surgeon that day for the results she said she wanted to make sure she had lots of 'good pictures' so it wouldn't have to be repeated. I waited after the initial mammogram, only to be told the radiologist looked at them and they saw something, so he wants more pictures to be sure. Here we go again. Squish, squish squish....more pictures.
The technician I think screwed up , because she said the radiologist mentioned a biopsy because he saw 'areas of concern' but it was ultimately up the surgeon.
I knew a biopsy was in my future. Once you have had the interaction with as many doctors and radiologists as I have, you begin to know who makes what decision. I knew that the doctors rely on the radiologists to tell them what they think is the next step. It's their job. I knew once we met with Dr. Easson, she's say I should have a biopsy.
We meet with Dr. Easson..and sure enough...she wants a biopsy.
My first biopsy when I found the lump was done by ultrasound. Basically what that means is a technician does an ultrasound on my breast while the radiologist takes samples from the lump. This method can only be done if the lump is large enough to be seen through ultrasound.
This time the 'areas of concern' were too small to be seen using ultrasound (bonus for me I guess!!) so it had to be done using mammogram. This is called a Stereotactic Mammogram and Core Biopsy. Dr Easson said they'd call with an appointment for the biopsy. So we leave the hospital. I cried, I didn't want to cry..but I did. I decided a long time ago that crying admitted Cancer was beating me and damn it , that wasn't going to happen. I'm an emotional person to begin with ( this might shock a few people ;) ) but I am. I wear my heart on my sleeve when I'm not being a tough bitch! I wasn't crying because there was a possibility that I still had cancer, I was crying because I was disappointed. I had it in my head that I was cured..completely...there were no if , ands or buts about it. I was cancer free. That's what every cancer patient wants to hear with there first post treatment check up...so when I didn't hear that...I guess the only way to describe it was...my balloon was deflated.
I received the phone call that my biopsy was scheduled for April 26. Now I'm scared...I mean even the toughest of people can get scared every now and then so cut me some slack ;)
I can't even explain the feeling of waiting to be called. I know the test is going to be uncomfortable...but I had no idea.
The first biopsy I was LUCKY enough to have Sean by my side. It was a small town hospital so I guess that one of the luxuries.
This time, I was alone. I was called, it was my turn. I walked down the corridor to the room. I followed the technician which by the way was an absolute sweetheart. They all are! After we get into the room, the radiologist 'fellow' came in with an 'observer' which was a male. The technician and the fellow were both women. NOW, don't get me wrong, I've literally shown my boob to at least 20 different doctors, technicians, oncologists, radiation oncologists...you name it, it's been done. BUT , this guy that was to be the observer because this procedure isn't don't often...made me uncomfortable...his look, he wouldn't look at me at all. He stared at the floor...he was just weird. Believe me, It makes no difference male or female..unless I'm uncomfortable...I mean to be honest , a boob is a boob but I'm a firm believer that if it's your body, you have every right to always be comfortable with whomever you choose to show it too, regardless of the situation!
I had to lay on a stretcher on my side and position myself close enough to the mammogram machine to be 'squished' enough for the test. Once I was 'clamped' into place, I was given 3 needles of freezing per site, for which there were two sites. I was literally clamped into the machine for 1 1/2 hours, 45 minutes per site with maybe a 5 minute break in between. I was 'attached' to the machine , by what I can only describe as ' Jesus nailed to the cross'. I had a tube inserted into the cut they put into my breast , then the instrument was inserted into it, that removed the tissue to be tested. I seriously could not move for fear of ripping my breast. Have you ever tried to lay in the same spot for 45 minutes?
Finally they said they had enough tissue to test...blood was everywhere...I was numb and sore...but it was done. I walked out to Sean who was patiently waiting in the waiting room. He asked me if I was ok, I said no, but lets go...I want to go home.
Again, a waiting game.
I only told two of my bestest friends that I was going for this biopsy. You sort of get a feel for who is 'in your corner' and who isn't and who you want to confide in and who you don't.
We went to Dayle's place last weekend. She asked me how I was, and I told her...it was the worst hour and a half of my life...and all she did was HUG me...it was exactly what I needed. Tis true what they say...you do find out who your friends are, and who really does care :)
I have my appointment for my results May 11th
Which brings me back to today (It was a long time getting here, and if you are still reading, I am forever grateful)
Today was my last treatment. Most people think cancer consists of chemo and radiation. There are many other treatments that take a lot of time to complete. It's funny though...once you are done the initial treatments, people stop asking...they stop worrying, or stop caring..who knows.
Anyway, I was a Herceptin patient. That's 40K per patient...basically it's an antibody that I don't normally have, but now that my treatments are done, there is a guarantee that the cancer won't come back by 50%.
Sean and I got home at 5:30, we had to leave again at 6pm for Reece's soccer. As I'm making toasted western sandwiches for supper, the phone rings...Reece says 'it's probably the hospital'..then she walks over and gives me the phone.....
It was Dr. Easson...my surgeon.
I was in the middle of cooking dinner, Reece handed me the phone...When I answered..this is what I heard..............................
Teresa, It's Dr. Easson...I have your results. The tests all came back benign.
I said'"Does that mean it's good" ...Yes, I was a little in shock that she's was on the phone...big time doctors don't make phone calls.
She said " yes, there is no cancer, you are cancer free. It was only scar tissue. I'm so happy with this outcome" OMG...My response.." I LOVE YOU" ..YOU JUST MADE MY DAY" " I JUST HAD MY LAST TREATMENT...YOU HAVE JUST MADE MY LIFE"
SO, There You Have It...
I'm a survivor <3