When you think of Antarctica, and the research station at McMurdo, what do you "see"? Probably a small cluster of connected space-lab-looking canisters, and a land covered in ice and snow, miles thick. Right?
Well, it's nothing like my mental image. Something I read sent me off to look at pictures. McMurdo Station looks like any small town in the US, and as for all that snow and ice, check out McMurdo Dry Valley. It's like that all year, not just summer.
Amazing. So very different from what I imagined.
I've been among the missing lately as far as blogging goes, mainly because there's nothing much happening, and politics is disgusting (to use one candidate's favorite word). Favorite joke right now - "Orange is the new Black."
I think things are going to heat up pretty soon, though. I've been visiting the Jacqueline M. Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center at the Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ. I'm impressed and happy with my impression so far. It's the first in the region to be designated a Certified Quality Breast Center of Excellence, the highest recognition attainable from the National Quality Measures for Breast Centers and is also a recipient of the Women’s Choice Award as one of America’s best breast centers.
I had a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound Thursday of last week, and an ultrasound-guided core needle biopsy last Tuesday. The lab results from the biopsy came back today, the radiologist called me this morning. I have a 1.5 cm invasive ductal carcinoma in the lower outer/right quadrant of the right breast. I didn't ask for details as to grade and so on in the phone call. It really doesn't matter right now, and I'll get all that info when I see a printout. My lymph nodes seem to be fine, but we haven't checked them yet other than by ultrasound.
I'm very relaxed about this whole thing. I don't have that feeling of doom about it, and neither does Daughter. In fact, when I first felt the lump (about six or eight weeks ago, yeah, it took me four weeks to finally admit that I had to make an appointment with a doctor, I hate doctors that much, but I lucked out there, the PCP assigned by my insurance company, although Egyptian, is very nice and really talks to me without condescension). Anyway, my first thought, and I'm serious about this, was, "Oh, wow, maybe I can spin this into a double mastectomy."
I have to talk to a surgeon next. I chose a woman from India who has been at Monmouth for five years, has fellowships at Mount Sinai and Beth Israel. Have to make an appointment with her. My PCP recommended a male surgeon at Monmouth, but he's going on vacation on Monday and won't be back until August. Actually, I'm a bit relieved. I'd rather a female, and this woman was recommended by the radiologists (male and female) who did the biopsy. So, we'll see.
[Flash - just got a call from Monmouth - tentative appointment with surgeon Friday 7/1, secretary is going to try to rearrange her schedule to get me in sooner, schedule MRI before that.]
My reasons for wanting double mastectomy (no reconstruction):
- My first bra, at age 12, was a B-cup, and they grew quickly. They've been DD since my 30's. For men and women alike they've been my defining characteristic all my life, ahead of any of my other skills, talents, or abilities.
- Men of slight acquaintance walk up behind me, reach around, and grab them, so often that I have developed an automatic back-elbow-jab response. They always look embarrassed and say, "I just wanted to know if they were real..." Yes, they all say the same thing. I don't want or need this. I want people to see ME when they look at me.
- I am now 4'8.5" tall, with DD boobs. I have a fragile back. These things hang off the front and pull. They're too heavy. I walk around the house cupping them in my hands to lift the weight and center it more over my spine, and it feels so much better. With them gone I'd almost feel like I could fly. I need double, because one gone would unbalance me even more.
- Once you have a tumor in one breast, you have five times the chance of another in the other.
- Face it - they have no use whatsoever once you're past childbearing age. If I need something to make clothes hang right, a nice light padded bra would do just fine.
One of the technicians at the breast center warned me not to get my hopes up, because surgeons are highly reluctant to remove healthy tissue. That's one reason I'm fine with switching from one of the male surgeons recommended by my PCP to a female. I'm hoping she might be more understanding, (men get emotional about breasts), easier to convince, and able to convince my insurance --- but if the insurance refuses to pay for the other breast, I will.
So, further developments as they occur.
Please don't leave mushy comments. I'm not a hugger, and really, I'm fine with this. It's just news from my corner.