Friday, October 10, 2008

Life Can Be a Roller Coaster Ride, Sometimes!

What I share is very personal, but I do so with the hope that it can help others, especially those women who are dealing with Ductal Carcinoma In-Situ (DCIS). This was not something that I ever thought would happen to me. I didn't feel that I was in any high risk group. I was surprised to learn that most women who develop breast cancer are not in a high risk group. Please remember that everyone's experience is different. I know that my experience is unique. How I chose to treat this was right for me, but might need to be completely different for someone else.

"How long have you had this cyst?". Those words were the first indication that something was not quite right. I didn't even know I had a cyst in my breast, so that was a surprise. So, off I went for an ultrasound. The first report that came back, said that it just looked like a cyst. A couple of weeks after that I get a phone call. Someone had reread the ultrasound report and they felt I needed to have a biopsy. Something looked suspicious. So, I went in for an ultrasound guided needle biopsy. The doctor that did the biopsy said it was just a cyst. However when the report came back it showed cancer cells, so off I went to see a surgeon. Within a week I was having a lumpectomy.

Do you see what I mean by roller coaster ride?? So many ups and downs. But, it gets worse.

Waking up groggy in the recovery room, the surgeon came in and said to me, "We have good news, you do NOT have cancer! However, you do have ductal carcinoma in situ and will need to have a mastectomy." SAY WHAT??? The anesthesiologist came in with the same news. Was that his job?? Was I dreaming this?? At this point all I wanted to do was to see my husband. When he was finally allowed to see me he had a big smile on his face!! All the doctor told him was that I didn't have cancer and he was thrilled!! The doctor forgot to mention the mastectomy part of the equation. Just a little oversight. In the mean time, my excited husband had called friends and family to share the "good news".

What an emotional roller coaster ride!! Now was the time for me to learn all I could about ductal carcinoma in situ?? It has the word carcinoma in it?? How can it NOT be cancer?? I found out that DCIS is cancer inside the ducts, it is NOT considered invasion cancer because it has not invaded breast tissue. It is consider Stage 0 cancer. Treatment after excision with clean margins is usually radiation, no chemotherapy.

First thing I did was fire the surgeon. Funny, thing he is locally very well renowned. However, he was not a doctor I trusted to be open and honest. I went to a breast cancer center at a major medical center for a second opinion. They suggested another excision and to get clean margins, since I still had DCIS cells remaining. That sounded reasonable to me, so I found another surgeon had the excision and still had cancer cells in the margins. So, the DCIS was extensive.

It was difficult to wrap my head around losing a breast. How could someone who has a stage 2 cancer get by with breast sparing surgery, and I could not. Slowly and patiently the Spirit began to whisper to me in quiet moments that I needed to have this one more surgery. They were whisperings that I could not ignore. I knew I needed to obey even though my head did not agree. When I made the decision to have the mastectomy I felt a remarkable peace and didn't look back.

Here I am, twelve years later. Cancer free, so that is important. Mike has been wonderful through it all. He still thinks I am beautiful, at least that is what he says. I think he is crazy!! His unconditional love has been incredible and healing.


Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

I had no idea. And you ARE beautiful. Believe Mike. This was rather a scary post. I thought you had just been diagnosed.

Cindy said...

Sorry, Lynne, didn't mean to scare you!!

Catherine said...

I'm really frightened about this terrible illness. And I think the more optimistic cases I hear the better I feel. Thanks to share your good-end-story, Cindy.
You get the husband you deserve. He gave you the proof he is your husband for the entire life. What did you think ? ! ; )

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