I have a doctor’s note and everything!
Writting a blog is an interesting experience, I have made many friends through this medium and grown as a writer. I have around 3000 regular readers, in the blogosphere is a drop in bucket, but which I am so grateful for. I debate how much is oversharing and how much to keep back. It’s a fine line. Rather than just not post for awhile and leave you all wondering what happened. Here it is, the short version is: On October 8th I went in for a surgical breast biopsy and I have DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) in my right breast. The good news is that it’s 100% curable by surgery. The bad news is that means on Wednesday, they are going to remove my right breast.
It totally sucks. I have cried and I’m crying right now. However, as cancer goes, this is pretty straightforward. I will be in the hospital for two days and more or less housebound for two weeks. My breast reconstruction date hasn’t been set since we have to wait for the pathology report to come back negative before we can start.
You may want to grab a cup of coffee now, because here is the long version:
On Tuesday, October 1st, I noticed that I had some blood on my right arm. Thinking it was from a mosquito bite, I searched and discovered some more on my breast. I brushed it off and didn’t think about it until the next day when I was in the shower and found more blood and realized that my nipple was bleeding. As you all know, I don’t go to doctors if I can help it, so it’s a measure of my concern that I immediately called a few friends asking for a recommendation of a good OB-GYN. Since we are self insured, I simply called the doctor’s office and went to see her that evening.
Doctora Carla Ruz examined me. She reassured me that while the bleeding is not a normal thing, it was most likelya benign condition called an intraductal papiloma. However, since I hadn’t had a mamogram in 10 years, she thought I should have one and an ultrasound too. Normally, I don’t go to Star Medica, but it was more convenient since her office is there.October is breast cancer awareness month, that particular irony is not lost on me, the lab had a special package deal on a combo mamogram and ultrasound. I had my tests on Thursday morning and picked up my results on Friday.
While waiting for Dra Carla, she was attending a birth,I snuck a look at my results. The doctor interperting my scans circled several spots the size of my thumbnail that she felt were susupicious. My heart felt like lead when I read.” Grade four, a biopsy is recommended.” DrCarla was as shocked as we were. She immediately refered me to Dr Gabriel Sanchez, since it was after 8pm, she gave me his cell phone number.
Dr Sanchez listened to me explain my situation. After about my second sentence, I discovered that I had lost my ability to speak Spanish, but Dr Sanchez speaks English. He told me to come to his office at CEM (Centro de Especiales Medicas del Sureste) and bring my studies the next day at 1 pm.
On Saturday, Husband I left the house with plenty of time and decided to take the Reforma bus and walk to CEM, a pleasant walk. We arrived about half an hour early. As I stood at the desk checking in with Nancy, his receptionist, I realized that my scans were still sitting on the dining room table. Nancy confided that the doctor was running late due to an operation taking longer than planned so I had plenty of time to head home and return.
As we walked across the street to the Hyatt, a FUTV taxi came by. Normally, I prefer a metered taxi, however, I was just happy to snag a taxi, especially midday on a Saturday. We negotiabled a fare of 95 peos for him to take us home and back. I didn’t even quibble or mention that the price should have been closer to $60mxn. The taxista fancied himself a grand prix driver, we joked that while our destination was CEM it wasn’t their emergency room. The 45 minute round trip was completed in a breath taking 30. We staggered out of the cab and headed up to the waiting room.
Dr. Sanchez looked at my scans while I changed into the standard hospital gown. I perked up as I overheard him tell Husband,” Those spots are benign, I wouldn’t worry about them”. My relief was short lived as he continued,” However, see these tiny spots. I don’t like them one bit.” At this point, Husband made a comment, which you are also probably thinking, regarding my policy of one mamogram a decade. Dr Sanchez disagreed, he said that those spots were so small and so recent, that they might not even be a month old.
Due to the tiny size and the way the cells were spread out, a needle biopsy was ruled out. The soonest that I could have my surgical biopsy was in three days at CMA (el Centro Médico de las Américas). Meanwhile, I also had to have some bloodwork done. Except for the tiny detail that I have cancer, my blood work came back that I am exceptionally healthy. Even my breast tumor cancer markers are low, I have a score of 20, which is in the normal range. All through this process, I was certain that they would tell me that it’s a mistake. I shouldn’t have cancer. I am really healthy, I don’t eat sugar, grains, or much dairy. There is no history of breast cancer in my family.
As a Buddhist, I realize that I have many lessons to learn on this earth. The one that I am learning now, is that I have to let go of my attachment to specific outcomes. Every step in this journey, I have decided that I knew the answers and how things would go, every single time I have been wrong. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, this giving up of control and I admit to fighting it. I will probably always have to work on detachment, but I have made some strides in that direction.
This is all I can write for now. I will continue later.