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%.

26 comments:

alejna said...

I will be thinking of you lots, and holding onto that 60%.

Bon said...

what Alejna said. and xo.

Liz said...

Oh, Sarah - as you know, I'm a 'pink sister', with one breast lopped off, so I fear saying too much here, if anything. Too much because the odds are good that you are not joining the sisterhood any time soon (or ever!!). I'm sending a HUGE hug to you from the Southern Hemisphere. Just wish I could pop over to make you a cuppa and let you debrief. I will send you my email address in case you want to use it any time. Deep breaths, lovely lady, deep breaths. xxxx

fara said...

waits can be so torturous. deep breaths and visualize and focus on a positive outcome. kudos for you paying attention to yourself and tending to it immediately. thinking of you.

Sarah Visbeek said...

Thinking of you from afar, my friend.

Veronica said...

I hate numbers, percentages, because between the assurances and fears are thousands of individuals, thousands of human stories, including one where a woman waits over a long holiday weekend for answers.

Sorry you are going through this. Thinking of you.

cinnamon gurl said...

Oh that sucks to have the long weekend to wait! I just had a head CT scan yesterday to rule out a brain tumor or aneurism -- both highly unlikely and yet catastrophic -- so I'm in a similar boat. It's hard to keep the imagination in check. Thinking of you...

Amy said...

Just know that you have support, no matter what you are dealing with. You have lots of people you can call, anytime, including me.

vanderpug said...

((Hugs))
Thinking of you.
Karen V.

Erin LaMotta said...

I have also played this waiting game, Sarah. Not with breasts, but with a pancreas. It's torture. I am thinking of you! Positive thoughts!

De said...

I'm sorry you're going through this. The waiting is tough. I'm here for you.

Helen Richardson said...

I understand the mind game of "the odds." When Sophie had cancer, she had a 75-80% chance of survival. One's mind gravitates to the lower percentage.. it just goes there. At least it did for me. For Matthew, he always looked at the 80%. One wise doctor said the odds don't matter, for the patient, it's 100% or nothing. I'm NOT NOT saying here that you are looking at a life or death thing - not at all, just that I understand you the mind does gymnastics when presented with percentages and odds and outcomes. I've looked into my crystal ball and you are going to be 100% fine, the Ds will be hanging out with you (I swear I don't mean it that way) for a long time to come. Love you.

jess said...

Waiting with you, my friend. I went through a scare a few years ago; everything was fine but I know how hard the wait is. Try not to let that 10% get carried away with you. Odds are that all will be well.

Stimey said...

I have been thinking about you and sending you all my good thoughts and hopes. I will be waiting to hear. Please reach out if you need to talk—about things serious or silly. I love you much.

Rima said...

Sending a lot of healthy, peaceful vibes your way. -xo Rima

Tara R. said...

I'll keep positive thoughts for you. The waiting is so frustrating.

I have a marker in my right breast too. I rather like the idea of being like a shark.

Amanda said...

Like I said earlier, standing with you always. xo

ozma said...

Thinking of you Sarah. Big hugs and hope.

Ugh. Waiting is horrible. I hope you get a relieving answer and soon.

Christine said...

I hate that this is happening. I'm here waiting with you. Xo

Janet said...

I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. I hope you have lots to occupy you until Tuesday, and that it will be a simple thing.

Neil said...

Hoping you are having some relaxation over the weekend while you wait.

Alison Percival said...

Hugs to you. x

Joy Palmer said...

My mother has just had exactly the same symptoms (blood and puss from her nipple and surrounding area) and last week was told it was a cyst. She's all clear. I really hope it proves the same for you. Joy x

Bibliomama said...

Waiting is the worst. My mother is in much the same boat right now. Hugs and empathy. xoxo

Vodka Mom said...

SARAH!! I know it will be fine.

It's nothing.

But yet it's everything, isn't it?


And that fear in your soul is God's way of reminding us to love each day......even if it's a crappy reminder.

Magpie said...

Thinking of you. And, been there. In my case it was nothing, but still. ((Hugs)).