I got the call from the surgeon about my biopsy results on a Friday afternoon, when I was tutoring a student. I allowed the call to go to voice mail — I truly felt it would ruin the tutoring session, the student, or both. Once I heard the message, my first instinct was relief. Oh good! It’s not cancer, just pre-cancer (DCIS – Ductal Carcinoma In Situ)! The message stated I could call back or just wait for my appointment that was scheduled the following Monday. That left me a whole weekend to jump on the computer to research. Not the best idea, but it would provide my husband and me with a little more information.
When Monday’s post-op rolled around, my husband and I had prepared ourselves as best we could for the information we really hoped not to hear. The only way I know how to keep myself from fretting over an issue is to allow my sense of humor to take over. So that’s what I did. Throughout the exam on Monday, my general surgeon definitely helped by cracking jokes before providing us with the details. My margins were not clear — leaving me to need yet another surgery. At this time, I had three different types of cells: solid, cribiform, and comedo. The grade of the cells were high — at grade 3 — meaning they were more aggressive and could easily invade the surrounding tissue. They also were estrogen positive. These are the details cancer patients don’t forget, no matter how hard they try.
My general surgeon had consulted an oncologist first, and thought daily radiation treatments and possible hormone therapy would be recommended. This was more serious than I ever thought it would be. These were indeed cancer cells, just not invasive at the time. I left her office with two new appointments: one with a medical oncologist, the other with a radiation oncologist.
Reminding myself, “It is what it is,” calmed me. I cannot change what I am going through, but I certainly can control the future and would not let it ruin my summer.
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