Friday, February 14, 2020

2.14.2020 Imaging Results


I had the diagnostic mammogram of the "lump" on the left breast, followed by an ultrasound, on Wednesday.

I was impressed with the mammography technician, who handled the breast well, manipulating the tissue to get it on the plate just right. She took 3 images, each of which I went over to the screen to look at when she did. Amazing, the technology of the 3D filter. Before she started, though, she asked about the lump. I'm not good at locating it, but described where it was. She turned around to look at the computer, and reading the description of the location, she placed her fingers in the area and found it right away! And put a marker on the skin, as well as markers on the scars of the lumpectomy and the axillary dissection. And, yes, it was very "uncomfortable", made my eyes leak just a bit. I was thankful it was only one breast being squoze. (like that word?)

She went out to talk with the radiologist, came back in, saying the images were good, and she showed me to a small waiting room to wait for the ultrasound technician. That seemed like forever, but may have been 15 minutes.

She was very nice, too, and did a great job. Because of the location of the lump, positioning was a little unusual. She asked if I could hold my arm up in the air while she scanned, and I replied that I could, if she turns the screen so that I can see it. She got good images, too, turning the transducer in different directions, changing the settings, and so on. She didn't take measurements of anything, though.

My untrained eyes did not see anything odd. The initial tumor of 2007, and the few calcifications, showed bright white in the mammogram. The old tumor was obvious also, in the ultrasound, and there were lots of measurements taken. These current images looked like striae, or the lines of tissue, with the usual wiggles and shadows. And while she was trying to get a good picture directly over the current lump, there really wasn't anything identifiable.

She went out to talk with the radiologist again, and when she came back in, he came with her.

He questioned, a couple of times, about actually feeling it. He says there is nothing showing, either radiographically or sonographically, and seemed puzzled. He said the only thing he saw was some edema in the breast. He recommended "keeping an eye on it", following up with the Clinician, and consulting a surgeon.

Well, my surgeon left town, my oncologist left town, the replacement oncologist left town, and has probably retired. The only thing left in Lansing is my records.  I had a lot to ponder.

This morning, Lisa, the Clinician, called to talk with me about the results. (of course I had already read them in the electronic health record, MyChart).  I've been thinking a lot about what I wanted to do, if anything.

So, here's what I had on the list.  1.) Just follow up in 6 months with Lisa, or sooner if I felt the need.  2.) Maybe repeat the blood test for the cancer markers. (those have been done annually, most recently this past June, and have been negative)  3.) Surgical consult.  Ugh.

Looking back at the choices I made the first time around, if an option had been presented that had a  %  (percent) of  disease-free survival, no matter how small the percentage, that was the treatment I chose. And we all know that early detection has the best outcome.  So....

The blood work is ordered, and the surgeon consult is scheduled for March 4, 2020.

Not that I'm looking to have a biopsy or have anything removed, especially because it's not identifiable on imaging. Maybe it will be gone by then. Maybe it is just radiation fibrosis.

Whatever it is, or isn't, it will hopefully be a non-event.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.


This post was written a few weeks ago. It's been an interesting introspect as to why I didn't post it then. The awareness that my purpose of this blog is to share my journey, and that this is part of my journey. This part, almost 12 years out, is a reality that never goes away.  

This Tissue Feels Different....Radiation Changes??

The wound bed from the lumpectomy has always been sore.

I've been seeing The Wonderful Leah (my massage therapist) consistently, every 5-6 weeks or so, since B.C. (before cancer). She always includes focus on the left upper quadrant of my body, as the lymph fluid puddles over my ribs at the outside and around to the back, right around where a bra band fits. Sometimes my upper arm feels full, and often the lymph nodes on the underside of my arm feel like bumps under my skin. And if the interval is a little longer than the 5-6 weeks, sometimes my fingers feel full, and the circumference of my wrist looks full to me. I've not had any pitting edema though, thank you Lord. So far, it's been relatively easy to manage with professional massage as well as self-treatment, though I can't reach around to the back side of my ribs.

Several weeks ago I noticed my left breast was feeling tender. No big deal, it's tender off and on. It was massage time. And a couple weeks after that massage, it was still tender. Hmm. I did some gentle "feeling around". Yup. Tender. All over, not just the wound bed. And feels lumpy, bumpy, fibrous. Hmm. Different than it has been.

So I recall, those many years ago when I was deep into reading all about the treatments I was receiving, reading about the long term effects of radiation treatment. Something about the tissue changing, and how it continues to change throughout the lifespan. Radiation Fibrosis, progressive, ongoing tissue changes as a result of radiation.

A couple weeks ago, as I was touching around again, I wondered who I could make an appointment with?  My treatments were all done in Lansing at the then-named Ingham Breast Care Center. The surgeon moved away. The oncologist moved away, and another took over. That oncologist moved away, and has since retired. The only thing left in Lansing is my records.  After some prayer and a couple of days, a name came to me.

Lisa, the woman in the picture with me in 2008 Relay for Life, is now a Nurse Practitioner who works at the Women's Center here in town and does breast exams. She could do an exam and either order tests or make referrals for me!

So I called and made an appointment. I purposefully kept away from touching, because yes, it was tender, and I didn't want to aggravate it.

That appointment was this past week, January 15. Lisa did a very thorough breast exam, feeling the lumps, bumps, and fibrous stuff that I had felt. She then brought my fingers to feel a small pea-sized bump that I hadn't felt before. She documented it well and ordered a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. The "first available" appointment is February 12. We were very professional with each other. I was glad the appointment was over and had a moment to myself, as I thought my eyes might be getting a little wet.

It's just the fear of the unknown. And I know that whatever the imaging shows is going to be negative or positive, and I know that my faith is strong, and that God brings me the people that I need.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday 05.21.2017 It's Been A While....

It's been a while since I've posted.

I felt like I needed a break from the online world.

During the past month I was attacked by The Crud, upper respiratory stuff (with a 3 day temperature) which is almost all resolved. It amazes me that I still have an occasional cough that brings up stuff.  (just. ick.)

We also held our Education Fair for our staff.  Fortunately, I was the most ill the days I was not scheduled to work. Though fatigued, I was able to fulfill my role for the event, and it went well.

I'm looking forward to summer weather.

I'll be posting again soon.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Saturday 04.08.2017

Another great day!!

Sunshine and birdsong. Temperature was high 30's when I went out for a run, and mid 40's when I got back in. The warm sun is showing us what's coming for the next few months...

Breakfast, shower.

Spent a lot of time in the kitchen yesterday, making a cake, and partially decorating it last night. Today I put another layer of frosting on, then mixed up another small amount to "color".

Went over to Frank's--we picked up sticks and he raked in the back yard, tidying it up. Looking good...

I went out for "party things" on the list, picking up what he hadn't. I dropped those items back at his house, and he and I went out for food.

I then spent the remaining evening hours in the kitchen, as he wanted a couple batches of brownies, but doesn't have the right size pan. While those were baking, I put the remainder of the frosting decor on the cake.

Tomorrow is party day. I think he's a little geeked about having guests--his first "real" party.  Happy 40th to my last born....

Thank you for reading. Hugs.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tuesday 04.04.2017

Another great day!

After doing the therapy exercises, went out for a run.

Very wormy out there.  Some places I had to watch my step so as to not step or slip on the crawling creatures.  Birdsong, and a very cool breeze that smelled like...snow?!?  I had heard that there was "weather" moving in.

Breakfast, shower.


Cleaned the interior of the car of  "winter".

Enjoyed the crockpot dinner.

Packaged the remainders, cleaned the kitchen.

A quiet rest of the night.

Tomorrow is a work day.

Thank you for reading. Hugs.