Friday, 20 September 2013

Day 10 (Thursday 19 September): How long is a piece of string?

Have I mentioned that I don't like the unknown??  I actually feel ok with it at the moment, but that might just be denial.  More information will be useful, but I'm not sure that I really want it because when I have it this will actually be real.

I waited as patiently as possible for 10 days for my first appointment with "the surgeon", Dr. Andrew.  In my mind, he was the guy who was going to answer my immediate questions (how much is there, how bad might it be, when do we start moving, what's the likely treatment, what's the prognosis).  He was to be the one who would know about this cancer stuff.

After nearly 30 mins of waiting, his fellow, Rebecca, called us in.  She'd read my pathology.  She asked for my mammogram and ultrasound images.  She explained to us the picture that these two pieces of information gave her: early breast cancer (called DCIS), easily treatable.  The path includes lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy (day or possibly overnight surgery, leaving everything in place but making my left side smaller after removal of the cancer) followed by radiotherapy for approximately 6 weeks.  I can handle this.

Then we move on to the "squeeze test" (exam).  Here she doesn't find what she expects. She takes out the ultrasound to have a look but can't see anything clearly. But she doesn't worry me.  Instead, she goes to get Dr. Andrew.  He comes in and has a look.  He questions Rebecca on what she recommends.  When she says that she thinks an MRI might be good because she isn't sure she has a good enough idea of what's going on he tells her "that's pure fence-sitting".  Then he, too, takes out the ultrasound.  He checks my lymph nodes, which he says look clear.  He has a feel and notes that there are some irregular lumps and some areas that are "alarming".  He then decides that I should go have an MRI.  Fence-sitter.

So I'm booked to be the first cab off the rank for an MRI at 6.30a on Monday.  They confirmed that an MRI is ok for my titanium hip (I swear I'm only 47!) and they have my details on file at the Mater Hopsital Imaging.  If they find anything "suspicious", they'll biopsy it. Yippee.  When I'm finished and have found a coffee and some food, I'll make my way back to see Rebecca and Dr. Andrew to discuss what we really have, when I go for surgery and what they'll do.

The upside is that we do get to go on our scheduled holiday to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.  We'll be able to take the kids snorkeling on the reef and they can ride around in the golf buggies.  They are so looking forward to it so I'm glad I don't have to disappoint them.  On this.  For now.  We will have a great time swimming and playing.  Life is too short not to.

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