Monday, January 16, 2006

my timeline: from lump to diagnosis with one noteworthy detour.

December 2: the lump
While getting undressed at night, I find a lump in my right breast. It's feels about the size of a walnut.

December 3: the referral
A very nice Dr. (who looks about the same age as Doogie Howser was in that series) is concerned enough to refer me for a mammogram.


December 8: the mammogram (and ultrasound)
After calling around, I am able to schedule a mammogram in less than a week. The mammogram itself (which involves having your breast mushed between glass plates) is no big deal. Uncomfortable but not painful. I had been told to expect my results within a week but the technician comes back from developing my films looking very serious. She decided to show my films to the radiologist on call, who has referred me for an immediate ultrasound. Everyone I deal with from that point on looks very grim to me.

After the ultrasound, I am herded into a consultation room for an impromptu meeting with the radiologist. I don't remember much from this conversation except "It doesn't look good," and "hope and pray for the best but prepare for the worst." I also remember the word "urgent" being used several times. I later learned that this radiologist also called my GP to reinforce the "urgency" of my situation.


I do what any sensible person would do and spend the rest of the day drinking with friends.

December 20: the detour
I'm on my way out the door when my doctor calls. She sounds furious. Instead of being forwarded to the cancer centre, my mammogram films are in the film library at the hospital. My "urgent" films have been put into storage. I drop everything, go pick up my films and deliver them to the cancer clinic.

I receive a call the next day to set my biopsy appointment for early in the new year.

December 30: the second lump

I find a lump under my arm, about the size of a large raisin, or a small grape. This is new. It was definitely not there when my GP examined me on December 14.

January 3: the biopsy
I have an ultrasound guided biopsy of both lumps. Once I am injected full of Novocaine, I feel nothing. I will be a little sore for the next couple of days but all in all, I am more traumatized by the sound the larger needle makes as it takes the sample from my breast (a loud sort of "kachung!") than by physical discomfort. Also, I'm not really sure why, but I can't raise my arm above my waist for the next 24 hours.

January 5: the diagnosis
My GP calls me at work with the news I have been expecting but still hoped not to hear. I have cancer. Technically speaking I have "infiltrating ductal carcinoma in my breast and metastatic adenocarcinoma in my axilla that is consistent with the carcinoma in the breast" (Translation: Garden variety breast cancer located in a milk duct. This same cancer has spread to my lymph nodes).

January 13: the surgeon.
My experience with the surgeon deserves an entire post of its own. The good news is that my physical exam reveals no lumps above the collarbone (this is a huge relief). The not so good news is that my tumour appears to have grown to about 5cm (the size of a plum, to continue using fruit as comparators).

My surgery will take place February 2nd.

Three observations:

1-I must act as my own advocate. I'm not sure that the snafu with my mammogram films would have been discovered so quickly if I hadn't been pestering my GP and the cancer clinic with daily phone calls. As a cancer survivor put it to me, "People may be concerned and mean well but it's your life that's at stake."

2-Our public health care system does work reasonably quickly and well. And the competent, caring health care practitioners have, in my experience so far, been the rule, not the exception.
Watch this space to see if I still feel this way in a few months' time.

3-One should always bring a small army of supporters (or at least one very good friend) to every appointment.

5 comments:

Celia said...

Hello

I just started a blog in this space a few days ago. Tonight, I was randomly searching blogs for ideas about layout and hit upon yours...I thought I might comment.

I'm an Oncology nurse and thus see a lot of people with breast cancer and it does just suck. It sucks a lot. So, I'm sorry it happened to you. If you ever have any questions or want to talk about issues please feel free to drop me a line in my blog or send me an email (anya1214@hotmail.com) and I'll do my best to answer. I have access to some pretty great minds. If I may ask, what kind of surgery are you going to be having on the 2nd?

Tomorrow night I'll raise a glass of Oregon wine to you for this fight; I hope for the best for you.

Celia

Anonymous said...

[u][b]Xrumer[/b][/u]

[b]Xrumer SEO Professionals

As Xrumer experts, we from been using [url=http://www.xrumer-seo.com]Xrumer[/url] for the benefit of a sustained time things being what they are and remember how to harness the massive power of Xrumer and go off it into a Banknotes machine.

We also yield the cheapest prices on the market. Numberless competitors will cost 2x or consistent 3x and a destiny of the term 5x what we debt you. But we feel in providing great service at a low affordable rate. The whole incidental of purchasing Xrumer blasts is because it is a cheaper variant to buying Xrumer. So we train to keep that bit in recollection and outfit you with the cheapest standing possible.

Not only do we have the greatest prices but our turnaround heyday payment your Xrumer posting is super fast. We intention have your posting done before you certain it.

We also outfit you with a roundish log of loaded posts on contrary forums. So that you can notice for yourself the power of Xrumer and how we be struck by harnessed it to benefit your site.[/b]


[b]Search Engine Optimization

Using Xrumer you can trust to realize thousands upon thousands of backlinks in behalf of your site. Tons of the forums that your Location you intent be posted on have great PageRank. Having your link on these sites can categorically mitigate found up some crown quality endorse links and uncommonly as well your Alexa Rating and Google PageRank rating owing to the roof.

This is making your instal more and more popular. And with this increase in popularity as well as PageRank you can envisage to witness your milieu in effect rank high in those Search Mechanism Results.
Transport

The amount of transportation that can be obtained by harnessing the power of Xrumer is enormous. You are publishing your locality to tens of thousands of forums. With our higher packages you may regular be publishing your position to HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of forums. Create 1 mail on a popular forum drive usually enter 1000 or so views, with signify 100 of those people visiting your site. These days assume tens of thousands of posts on in demand forums all getting 1000 views each. Your traffic will associate through the roof.

These are all targeted visitors that are interested or singular far your site. Deem how many sales or leads you can fulfil with this titanic figure up of targeted visitors. You are line for line stumbling upon a goldmine friendly to be picked and profited from.

Keep in mind, Above is Money.
[/b]

TRAVERSE B RECOVER YOUR CHEAP BURST TODAY:


http://www.xrumer-seo.com

Anonymous said...

[B]NZBsRus.com[/B]
Lose Crawling Downloads Using NZB Downloads You Can Hastily Search Movies, Console Games, Music, Applications and Download Them @ Electric Speeds

[URL=http://www.nzbsrus.com][B]Newsgroup[/B][/URL]

Anonymous said...

[B]NZBsRus.com[/B]
Escape Laggin Downloads Using NZB Downloads You Can Rapidly Find High Quality Movies, PC Games, Music, Software & Download Them at Rapid Speeds

[URL=http://www.nzbsrus.com][B]Newsgroup Search[/B][/URL]

Anonymous said...

[B]NZBsRus.com[/B]
Skip Crawling Downloads Using NZB Files You Can Swiftly Search HD Movies, Games, MP3 Albums, Software and Download Them @ Fast Rates

[URL=http://www.nzbsrus.com][B]NZB Search[/B][/URL]