Friday, October 3, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: I Got Squished Conclusion

Continued from Parts 1 & 2

The doctor finally came in and asked me a bunch of questions, many the same as what the nurse had already asked.  She had me get on the examining table and she did an exam.  The reason for my visit is a discharge from one breast.  The color of it was the biggest concern.  She took a sample and put a bit of solution on it to see what color it turned. 

Apparently, discharge is not that abnormal.  It’s the color that they are concerned about.  She told me that tan and green are generally not abnormal.  To me, if I had green coming out of my breast, I think I would have fainted.  Clear and bloody are of concern.  After putting the solution on the sample she took, she found it had blood in it.

We went over the images and test results on a computer screen.  The results of the mammogram and the ultrasound were inconclusive, but because the discharge has blood in it, I have to have some other procedures done.

I have to have a ductogram which basically requires a little numbing of the area before a dye is injected into the ducts of the nipple.  It will cause the ducts to light up, so to speak, so that they are clearer on a mammogram. 

I also have to have a biopsy.  This requires surgery.  I will be placed under anesthesia and the doctor will slice an opening at a spot near the areola and remove the affected duct. 

They will be able to determine through these procedures what the cause of the discharge is. 

It is one of three possible issues.  1) The walls of the duct are inflamed and the irritation is causing the discharge.  No big deal.  2) There might be a papilloma, which is most likely not a big deal either.  It is basically a non-cancerous cyst.  3) It could be an early warning sign of cancer. 

I am not afraid of the ductogram.  I had done research prior to going for the mammogram and had determined I would probably need this.  I had hoped they could do it right there and then, but no such luck. 

I am afraid of the biopsy though, and not as much for what they might find as for having surgery.  I am afraid to be put under and to be cut open.  I know it’s outpatient and not considered a major surgery, but I have never had surgery.  I have heard the stories of what can happen to people.  I have a friend who works in surgery.  I have heard her stories. 

This again is something I have to talk myself into.  I know it is best to have it done soon.  The doctor said it is not urgent and to schedule it at my convenience.  I am glad for that in that I do need to talk myself into it.  I had hoped to have to do whatever it was immediately so I would have zero time to think about it and freak myself out.

I have to find out when my mom can go with me as she will have to drive me home and then make the appointment.  I am hopeful that it is one of the first two options; however, I am very aware that it could be the third option.  If it is, I will face it and deal with it.  I am not immune, nor is anyone else.

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