Wednesday, December 5, 2007

some answers, part one

at long last, i did get a call from dr. naik yesterday afternoon, tuesday. i just was too shook up to write about it. the news, when it finally came was not what i hoped for. it wasn't even what my doctors expected.

the body holds surprises.

i don't have the full results of the pathology report yet, actually. the margins are still at the lab, getting another once over. there is an area of question, as i understand it. what i do know now is that the turnip was indeed a reoccurance of my last tumor, but with a progression and a strange twist. this tumor is classified as borderline, which means it is somewhere in the middle of that malignancy scale. which means it is more aggressive and if it had continued to grow, potentially dangerous.

the good news, it's out.

the strange twist that no one expected because it is extremely rare (a rare tumor with a rare surprise? what the hell?) is that within the tunip, there lay some other breast cancer cells. yes, the garden-variety kind that i have been so thankful not to have. i don't fully understand the science and i couldn't bring myself to do a lick of research online about it because i am just reeling. how dr. naik described it is that the cells they found are called DCIS and are low-grade, pre-cancer cells. they are the cells that grow to become invasive breast cancer.

i didn't know how concerned to be until she said that the treatment for these cells being present is either a mastectomy or radiation. she wants me to meet with the radiation oncologist this week to talk over the treatment options. with these new developments, it is critical that those margins be clear. if there are phyllodes cells or DCIS cells in the margins, they will have to go in and take more tissue.

that is all i can write today, my friends. i am stunned, overwhelmed and sad. i keep thinking i want to beat this with positive energy, but i can't seem to summon much. i was hoping this long sprint i just ran was the last of the race, but it looks like i am in for a marathon or two.


Sondra said...

Sending hope hope hope.

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Oh Tay.......! God, this is all so heart wrenching. I wish I could hop on a plane and fly out to support you. I am very good at making inane/take-your-mind-off-stuff conversation during the waiting period.

Standing by in support.

Tay said...

I know, it is awfully scream-worthy. I don't even have a energy to be angry right now. My breast is swelling up with fluid because I slacked off on the ice and started to do more activity (not much, really) so I'm struggling so much with what is right here in the present.

Maryam, just reading your blog and the delightful adventures of late is a wonderful, welcome escape. I am not keeping up with many blogs these days, but yours I always count on for a little relief from my reality.

salmonpoetry said...

oh no, how upsetting. the saga continues, what a disappointing turn of events. i am feeling for the stress and strain it's imposing on your life, and sending you good healing thoughts.

in the midst of the bad news, the good news is that DCIS, like phyllodes, is not in a spreading mode. spreading is really bad from a cancer standpoint. but it could turn into a spreading variety later if it sticks around, which is why you have to be so vigilant about getting it all out.
radiation sounds scary, but they have really perfected the art of it, and since the breast is localized on the surface of the body, you can zap it without too many side effects on the rest of the body. hopefully the radiation specialist will have some good tools at hand and it won't be as scary as it sounds.

i know this is not necessarily reassuring, and nothing can take away the pain, both literal and figurative, of having your body carved up because there are some wildly proliferating cells in it going out of control. but as a friend and supporter, i am breathing a sigh of relief that it does not appear to be life-threatening as breast cancer can often be, and that you caught it soon enough to stop it in its tracks.

you will beat this thing, Tay! and your life will return to its normal, happy self when it's all done. in the meantime, just stay present with the process, angry, sad, depleted, whatever, and take care of your beleagured breast. and as always, let me know if you need anything. i am cheering for you (even if you don't feel like cheering).

Tay said...

Thank-you Lisa, your cupcakes yesterday meant so much and it was a big step for me to say "yes, come over to my messy life", so I am also grateful that you continue to reach out to me.

I really don't know much about radiation, but it scares the bejeeses out of me.