Thursday, January 21, 2010

Boob job

Lucky me, to have woken up with a headache yesterday.

I knew just what it was, too -- I tend to get dehydrated at Ellis Island, and I guess I didn't drink enough water when I was there on Tuesday. It was a really fun day (more on that later) but not worth a headache on a day when I couldn't take any aspirin and had to get my boob poked.

So, anyway, the big biopsy.

I guess if it had to happen (especially with a headache that made me feel all tired), it wasn't such a horrible experience. The breast center at Overlook is very nice and comfortable but doesn't go overboard on the "oh, poor baby" aspect of the situation. Fortunately I'd been pre-admitted, so all they needed was my signature a few times, and my insurance card. Then I went to put on a gown and hang out to wait in a comfortable area on my own.

The nurse, radiologist and doctor each came in separately to talk me through the process and answer my questions, which was nice. (Nice that they were all consistent, and all open to conversation.) The doctor noted that given how small the calcifications are, it was possible it would be hard to find them, so they'd likely have to do a bunch of mammograms to get to the spot. In fact, that would be the longest part of the whole process; once they located the spot, it was just a matter of injecting some lidocaine, letting it work for a few seconds, and then going in for the core biopsy. And the radiologist told me that once they found them, the mammo paddles wouldn't be compressed too firmly, just enough to hold the tissue in place. I've had some really uncomfortable mammos, so that was good to hear. If they're keeping you smooshed for five minutes, you really don't want to be in a vise. Believe me.

Of course, me being me, it did take a while for them to find the spot in question. And then they discovered that the number of blood vessels around it was making it difficult to route a path to the spot that wouldn't result in a fair amount of bleeding. And the whole time they were making this determination, my boob is in a vise. Oh, joy. The doctor explained that it's always possible to do a surgical biopsy; they can control the bleeding in that case. It's just that breast tissue acts as a sponge, so I'd end up with a hell of a hematoma if they hit a vein during a needle biopsy.

While I wasn't all that concerned about ending up with a big bruise, it did concern me that there could be complications, so I wasn't about to get insistent on doing the procedure regardless. I did ask whether it appeared that anything had changed since my mammo in October, and the doctor said everything looked the same, more or less. No new calcifications, and it didn't appear that the others had grown.

Bottom line, the doctor's going to talk with my surgeon about the situation, and we can make a determination from there. Right now, I'd rather do a wait-and-see, get another set of films taken in a few months to see if there's any change. I mean, the calcifications were so tiny that the original radiologist almost didn't see them. That doesn't make them any less questionable, it just makes me believe there's time before they could become anything truly dangerous. I really don't want to have any surgery unless it's truly necessary, even a biopsy.

More to come...


  1. Well, the fact they are so small is a good thing and as you say allows you the luxury of time to make decisions. I had kidney cancer a few years ago. It was so easy I don't normally even tell people. They found it, removed the kidney and I am fine. I know breasts aren't kidneys but maybe IF there is anything wrong they found it early enough to make it just as easy for you. Good luck. I really hope everything works out for you.

  2. Thanks for the insights and the good wishes, and glad to hear you're doing well.