Saturday, June 25, 2016

5070 Mammo, pictures!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

“The flag is a symbol, and I leave symbols to the symbol-minded."
-- George Carlin --


It took me literally hours today to figure out how to read the mammogram disk from last Thursday, then to find out which of the fifty or more folders and files on the disk had the actual mammo pictures, and then how to copy/print/snapshot them.  Finally had to take a screen capture (another hour trying various methods to accomplish that).  So, anyhow, here they are.  (Just the one orientation - there were several.)  

This is the left, the "healthy" one.  I kinda wonder about that denser part in the middle....

This is the right, the "bad" one.  It's pretty easy to pick out the tumor.  This is a little deceptive as to location.  It's actually in the lower outer quadrant.   They had me twisted funny.
The hollowness just behind the nipple is a cyst.  They drained it and checked the fluid, and it's of no further interest.

You notice all the "processes going on" around the tumor?  That makes the lump feel much larger than it is (it feels about ping pong ball sized, although the actual tumor is about the width of my thumbnail) and that's the reason lumpectomy will not be acceptable to me.  I don't like the looks of that at all.

On to the next steps.

Friday, June 24, 2016

5069 More appointments, minor rants

Friday, June 24, 2016

Attention to detail: An apostrophe is the difference between a company that knows its shit
and a company that knows it’s shit. 


My MRI is scheduled for Monday.  That's going to be both without and with contrast.  I'm not looking forward to the contrast (see my previous experience at, but if they don't insist that I be dehydrated, it might be ok.  Might.

The surgeon appointment is Wednesday.  Apparently my biopsy results are interesting, because she requested that my appointment be moved up from Friday.  Interesting.  I have to be there about 8 am, to see her before she goes into surgery. 

On the subject of double mastectomy, I've been thinking about what the radiologists said about surgeons being reluctant to remove healthy tissue. 

Bull poopy. 

They were perfectly happy to remove tonsils, even when they didn't know what they were good for.  Same with the appendix.  I don't know if it's still true, but when I lived in St. Louis, it was a state law that if the abdomen was opened for any reason, the perfectly healthy appendix  had to be removed.  Again, no one was sure what the appendix did.  Also, all non-Jewish baby boys were to be circumcised, by state law.  I especially remember that one because I caused a furor with the hospital when Daughter was born (1975), when I said that if she was a boy and was circumcised without our permission, I was going to sue for mutilation. 

And of course there's plastic surgeons.  They are more than willing to remove half your nose for no reason, or masses of useless fat anywhere. 

I consider my breasts to be masses of useless fat that cause more current problems (back strain) and possible future problems (5 times more likely to have future tumor in the other breast) than they are worth (having no worth).  So what's the problem?


Missouri scared me.  There was the appendix thing, and the circumcision thing, and all this didn't come from doctors, it was the state legislature that made those decisions.  Then, the legislature decided that if someone was discovered unconscious and taken to the ER, and their blood pressure was below a certain level, internal bleeding was to be assumed, (regardless of medical history or nature of injury), and the chest and abdomen were to be opened forthwith!  (And of course I guess the appendix would be removed.)

What scared the heck out of me is that, at that time, my normal regular BP was below that cutoff.  For more than a year I wore a medical bracelet with my normal BP noted on it, just in case I ever fainted from the heat or something.

Finally, there was Roe v Wade.  The Missouri legislature freaked, and in their infinite wisdom, said, "Ok.  You can have an abortion if you want.  But you ain't gonna like it!", and passed (either proposed or passed, I'm not sure, although I believe it passed with almost no discussion) a law that said all abortions in Missouri for any reason would be by hysterotomy only.  That was the first time I'd ever heard that word.  It means "caesarean section".  Missouri's doctors finally had enough, I guess, and rose up screaming. 


I found this in reference to Britain's vote to leave the EU:
But this was not democracy in action. This was fascism in action. People voted because they were ignorant, and they were ignorant because the fascists are terribly, terribly good at propaganda. The people were manipulated.

What's amusing was that when I first read it, I thought it was referring to the Republican primaries.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

5068 Anniversaries!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Checking the calendar to note future appointments (MRI next Monday, surgeon Friday of next week) I noticed two anniversaries.

1.  Happy belated birthday Becs!  (it was Monday.)  I hope you treated yourself to Indian food and a kutri.

2.  Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of this blog/diary.  Over the years it has been very useful, to go back and find when things happened, and so on.  I don't intend to quit.

5067 News from my corner

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will make you mad.
-- Aldous Huxley --


Most people will interpret "mad" in the green quote above as "angry", but given the source, it's more likely "insane". 


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):
  1. 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.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Once you have a tumor in one breast, you have five times the chance of another in the other.  
  5. 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.