Saturday, November 21, 2009

My Health

Some of our friends have asked how I am doing. I have a little bit of time today, so I thought I would post what has been going on with my health.

I had my first breast surgery July 24th to remove a small tumor which the drs. seemed to think was benign. When I went in for followup, I was told that the tumor was very "unusual." It had a name, but you couldn't find more than a couple of sentences about it on the internet. Angiomyoepithelioma. Just to make sure, my dr. sent the biopsy slides to M.D. Anderson, about the best cancer center in the country. M.D. Anderson said that they suspected that all of the tumor may not have been removed and recommended that my dr. go back in and scrape the tissue further out.

So on August 31st, I went in for basically the exact same surgery. It was called a partial mastectomy so that the insurance would pay some of it. Well, unfortunately, I did a stupid thing and went back to work the next day. Wrong thing to do. I was miserable, and ended up losing skin on my breast, which was extremely painful. This time J and I were sent to a radiology oncologist who said that they could not tell me it was cancer; they could not tell me it was not cancer; they could not tell me I needed radiation or that I did not need radiation. It is our choice. No one seems to even have a name for what it was. It is not angiomyepithelioma after all. And it was not made of breast tissue. Instead, it was either made of bone, muscle or blood tissue, or a combination of them.

I was hoping that M.D. Anderson would want to track me for further research, but I guess they don't. Since radiation will be about $12,000 cash upfront from us and the "C" word has not actually been revealed to us, we are opting to do nothing at this time. We can only hope and pray that it does not come back. I am to have yearly mammograms and self exams and exams from the dr.

I am very angry right now about all the talk in the media about the new guidelines for getting mammograms. I know that mine was not found by a mammogram, but mammograms are much cheaper than the treatment for Stage 3 or 4 breast cancer. I know they are saying that the numbers say not many cancers are found in the early years, but if it is you or your sister or your daughter who moves to the latter stages because she couldn't get a mammogram in her 40s because her insurance company followed those guidelines, you would feel differently.

So now everyone knows - I don't have cancer, and I don't not have cancer. I don't like being on the fence, but it's better than being told you need chemo.

1 comment:

Maria said...

Yes, it is better but it must be incredibly frustrating. Hang in there. I went through chemo and it was the hardest thing I ever walked (limped) through. I hope that you stay well....