Sunday, August 31, 2014

Odds

Frightened.

My first instinct was to call my mother. I can't call my mother.

So I am going to write here, and yes, I know that this blog is supposed to be shuttered, but if I don't write this through I think I will explode.

Warning: Physical details ahead may make some uncomfortable. Stop here if I am describing you.

Last week my right breast started bleeding. The nipple, I mean. (Aside: I hate the word 'nipple.' Also 'moist.') I looked on the internet, of course. "See a doctor immediately," I read. Ever obedient, I saw a doctor yesterday. She had me take a blood test to monitor prolactin levels and set me up with an appointment on Tuesday to see a breast surgeon.

A breast surgeon. I didn't even know the specialty existed. But why not? Heart surgeon, lung surgeon...

Here is what I've gleaned from my research:

The source of the bleeding is most likely to be benign - a ductal papilloma, they call it - but it will still need to be excised. (60% of cases fall into this category and need no further follow-up.)

30% of the time biopsies show precancerous cells, and further treatment is warranted.

And the other 10%? Cancer: ductal carcinoma in situ.

I have a long weekend during which to ponder all of this. I am trying to focus on the 60%. But my mind is stubborn and keeps sneaking out to smoke and drink and generally get up to mischief with the unlucky 10%.

You see, my right breast has been wonky for decades. So wonky that I have a little tag in it to mark a spot that does not need further biopsy. Like a cow, or a shark, I have been tagged.

Yesterday I told the doctor that my breasts have always been more trouble than they were worth. D cup, anyone? That she could feel free to lop them off, and I wouldn't care. She laughed. I laughed.

But I'm still not sure that I was kidding.

There is no end to this post, not yet. Perhaps on Tuesday I will be able to finish it off in a satisfactory way. The odds of that look to be around 60%.