While breastfeeding August, I noticed a lump in my left breast. I didn't think much of it because, well I'm breastfeeding and there's a lot of weird stuff happening in there on a normal basis. I thought it was a clogged milk duct but it didn't seem to go away with the usual treatments. I told my sister-in-law, Cassie about it, who is also breastfeeding her son. She felt it and confirmed that it was unusual so I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. Here's the play by play:
Tuesday: Appointment with my doctor. She thought it felt weird as well and recommended an ultrasound and mammogram for later that day. The quickness of the follow up appointments worried me a little but I was told that I was incredibly low risk. The doctor followed up immediately after the ultrasound and mammogram, stating that it seems like a regular mass that accumulates sometimes due to breastfeeding and would likely go away once I stopped. He recommended follow up in three months to be sure
Wednesday: The doctor called in the morning saying that he thought about my case all night and showed the pictures to a few colleagues that morning and is changing his recommendation to getting a biopsy as soon as possible. Still, I was told that it was very, very low risk and this was just precautionary.
Thursday: My birthday! I requested that we not do the biopsy on my birthday. I didn't know much about the procedure but it didn't sound like a walk in the park. I had a great day with lots of well wishes, flowers, and a surprise date night out.
Friday: Biopsy Day. The doctor also ordered a biopsy of my lymph nodes, which triggered a small red flag but I was still very, very low risk.
Saturday / Sunday: Normal weekend. Twenty-five loads of laundry and a nice visit with friends.
Monday: At 4:30pm, I got a call from the nurse, Marlene, stating that the results of the biopsy came back as cancer. I won't dwell on this here because I'm trying to move on but let's just say that this is all the information I had at this point. "You have cancer. Bye!" I went home in a panic. Carol came over to watch the kids while Lucas and I obsessively Googled.
Tuesday (today): We got a call from a nurse care coordinator, Kristen, who we were told will be with us throughout the whole journey. We got incredible care and information from her and were looking forward to move forward with a plan. We learned that I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, which is the most common kind of breast cancer. I also had a surgical consult scheduled for Thursday, at which point, we'll have the results of the receptor testing and will have the info to move forward with a plan of action. We also met with my doctor, who I had originally seen a week earlier. While this isn't her specialty, she was incredible at walking through the process with us, answering questions, and offering her support in any way that she could. Lucas and I bought a trapper keeper to keep track of notes from appointments, calendar, paperwork, etc., named the "Cancer Keeper". We made some calls and were generally emotionally exhausted.
We're taking this one day at a time (Day 1: Cancer Keeper - check!), and are trying to understand the information provided along with processing our emotions. Day 2 will consist of a chat with a friend of mine who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers along the way!
- Heather Passe
- Jennifer Wagle
- Laurie Blum
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