Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The bizarre and tricky world of a DCIS diagnosis...and the best family I could ever want!, a month ago I was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ.  It has been in my left breast since sometime after my last mammogram in March 2012 and discovered during my mammogram of March 2013.  My breast surgeon Dr. Dawson, whom I love by the way, told me that if I were going to get breast cancer, this was the one to get.  Basically once it is removed from the breast, it is gone and you are considered cancer free.  It is considered Stage 0 breast cancer and not even considered a cancer by some authorities since it is 'in situ' or contained within the milk duct.  This is not to say that it won't become invasive in the future and no one knows really how long it would take to become invasive.  My DCIS was found to be high grade and aggressive.

Now you are faced with several treatment options which I won't go into here but suffice it to say, the options present difficult choices.  I read in an article that DCIS was "a fake breast cancer".  The response of the writer was, "so I just had a "fake mastectomy"??  Or words to that effect.  Don't let anyone minimize the fact that DCIS is treated much the same as a higher stage breast cancer minus chemotherapy.  You still either lose part or all of your breast and may or may not need radiation therapy depending on your decision.

And so I sit here writing this with no left breast.  I decided that I wanted the cancer gone, I didn't want radiation therapy nor do I want to take Tamoxifen for the next 5 years.  The side effects of the Tamoxifen alone scares the s**t out of me.  So I decided on having a mastectomy.  My family and friends have been very supportive of my decision and I have no regrets at all.  I do have to go and see a medical oncologist next week to discuss the tamoxifen option but I am pretty sure that she is not going to be able to dissuade me from my decision.  Her reasons for me taking it will have to be very compelling and out weigh the really awful side effects.

This is my very personal story and I do not recommend anyone making the decisions I have without lots of research and questioning of your medical professionals.

In one month I have gone from having cancer to being cancer free.  My mind is still trying to grasp the "I have breast cancer" hasn't quite gotten to the post mastectomy stage yet....until I feel the pull of the sutures and look in the mirror.

I still have two drains in the surgical site and a funky looking left chest.  I had skin sparing surgery so the next step is reconstruction which has already been started with a 'tissue expander' placed during the initial surgery.  I will have a perky new left breast and a saggy old right breast!!  The plan is to perk the right breast up to somewhat match the left breast.  My right breast is looking forward to her 'face lift'.

My niece Sarah came down for the my pre-surgical drugged out state she and I planned our family's next few vacations together...that didn't work out so well since we basically forgot most of the family members in the planning.  We were only thinking of ourselves - ha!

The best husband and cat in the world - here he is reading all
of my breast cancer materials with the help of Bibi

The best sister in the world - she took me out for lots of walks after
surgery...and she washed my hair for me!!!  But not on a walk.

The journey continues...

1 comment:

  1. a very bizarre and tricksy month! but you showed who is boss! I'll gladly wash your hair anytime...just as long as I don't have to deal with Thelma and Louise ; )