Wednesday, December 12, 2007

big brains for a strange turnip

one thing i haven't written about yet is the breast conference at OHSU. every thursday a huge team of doctors and nurses, 45 skilled professionals, sits down together to review the special cases. guess who was a featured special case last thursday? yes, yours truly.

it's amazing and comforting to know that all of those surgeons, oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and many more i can't even imagine were all gathered together looking at my health. they studied the many mammogram films and ultrasound images, wondered over my freaky pathology report and combed their collective brains for answers.

not so comforting is the fact that in that group of 45 top breast cancer professionals, none of them had ever seen a phyllodes tumor with a mass of DCIS cells hidden inside. i checked in with the rare cancer talk forum online (not part of OHSU) and world-wide, only one other woman has reported this same strange twist in her story.

my mom jokes that i am taking this whole "being unique" thing a bit too far this time. that maybe i should take it down a notch towards normal. ah, if only i could, i would in this case. i have always been an unusual person, not very average in any way. but i'd love to be average in this case.

my point today is really this: i am getting excellent care at OHSU, some of the best in the country, i am certain. the collective experience of that conference is impressive. they have seen more phyllodes cases than any other group in portland, for certain. and because they are also a medical school, a research facility, i feel like their brains stay sharper. medicine is imperfect, yet even knowing that, i still feel that i couldn't be getting better care.


salmonpoetry said...

it's great that you are getting such expert care Tay, along with the good news of the expert reconstructive surgeon yesterday. we are lucky to have OHSU so close- I go to a naturopath for everyday care but as soon as something goes wrong I rush up to OHSU to see the experts. The pediatric dermatology clinic up there was able to solve Kiran's horrific and mystifying skin condition, after we came back from Nepal.

When you first announced your DCIS news, I did a quick google search and found an article of a case study of a woman with the same situation. It's from a medical journal and filled with jargony terms, but it says that less than 30 such cases of phyllodes with carcinoma imbedded have ever been reported in the literature. So yours is rare indeed. (I can send you the link to the article if you are interested.)

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

That's wonderful. I come from a family of doctors and both my mother and brother are affiliated with teaching hospitals. It definitely allows for cutting edge care and a pool of medical professionals who are deeply interested in learning. I am so very glad for you.