I woke up one morning, in August, noticing that my left nipple was leaking blood. I also noticed that it was starting to invert just a little.
I didn’t think too much about it. I figured I’d slept wrong and another cyst had popped. Having had fibrocystic breast disease for the last 20 years, it sounded logical………until i woke up with blood on my sheets the following morning and a tiny blood clot on the end of my left nipple. When I scraped it off, like any other curious person, it leaked a more blood. THAT was when I got worried and started thinking of every single thing that could possibly cause that kind of bleeding.
Being the coward and over-educated idiot that I am, I knew this wasn’t good.
I called the doctors office and made an appointment. They actually got me in sooner than I expected. After explaining everything to the doctor, she did the usual breast exam, felt a few lumps, and started ordering tests.
The first test done was an ultrasound of both breasts, then came the MRI of both breasts and then the ultrasound guided needle biopsy. I won’t go into details because the name says it all. My radiologist, who I’ve known for years, did the procedure but also did the right breast, as well, after the ultrasound showed some abnormalities in it. It was a good thing he did because it pushed this whole fiasco into high gear.
Now, let me backtrack a little just for the sake of continuity and to make clear one thing…….there is no history of breast cancer in my family. NONE. NADA. ZILCH. NOTHING.
Other kinds of cancer like lung and throat, yes, but no breast cancer.
(PSA: Get your boobs checked. If you feel a lump get it checked out IMMEDIATELY because you never know. This goes for guys, too. Men DO get breast cancer so check for lumps, bumps, abnormal looking nipples and discharge, puckering and odd looking skin)
So………….Instead of waiting 3 weeks until my next appointment, I get called back into the doctor’s office less than a week after the testing. I know right then and there that it’s going to be ugly and most likely cancer. The joy of being a realist, I guess.
I go back to the doctor for the test results and got something I didn’t expect. Nothing about my left breast which, in case you forgot already ( I wish I could), is the one I was worried about because of the bleeding.
Nope. Instead it’s the right boob that has several papillary neoplasms. And the doctor tells me it’s cancerous.
Well, me being the smartass that I am, I look it up. This is what it says:
“Neoplasm: Neoplasm is an abnormal growth of tissue, and, when it also forms a mass, is commonly referred to as a tumor. This abnormal growth usually but not always forms a mass. “
But it’s not cancerous.
However, since she said the word “cancer”, I started researching even harder and kept coming up with the same answers.
Then I went to the surgeon.
The surgeon was excellent. She explained things clearly and concisely. Answered all my questions and explained that a papillary neoplasm is NOT cancerous but it does need to be removed to prevent further problems. I can understand that. It makes perfect sense. Why keep something in your body that doesn’t belong? Get rid of the damn thing.
That will be the first surgery.
The left boob was another matter. It is a DCIS grade 3. Translated into English it means, Ductal Carcinoma in Situ.
“Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is the presence of abnormal cells inside a milk duct in the breast.
DCIS is considered the earliest form of breast cancer. DCIS is noninvasive, meaning it hasn’t spread out of the milk duct to invade other parts of the breast.
DCIS is usually found during a mammogram done as part of breast cancer screening or when there is another concern with a woman’s breast. Because of increased screening with mammograms, the rate at which DCIS is diagnosed has increased dramatically in recent years.
While DCIS isn’t life-threatening, it does require treatment to prevent the condition from becoming invasive. Most women with DCIS are effectively treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation.”
It IS cancerous but, thank God, it’s extremely rare and is rated “0” for malignancy. Which, for me, is a lucky break. It is located solely in the milk ducts and, while I’ll have to have a mastectomy and a few lymph nodes removed, I get to keep my life.
And that, my friends, is the most important thing.