I have been reading some of the posts and can identify with the emotional roller coaster. I cry awhile and then I get up and take the dog out for a little while to play. I am a nurse, so I have been doing my research about this cancer. I am also a Medical Laboratory Technologist and Paramedic, so I know too much for my own good (at times). I am 3 weeks from noticing that the fibrocystic lump was bigger and harder than normal and the nipple went to an "inny". I knew something was not right.
This is a scary thing for me. Especially when I read that this cancer is on the increase (with boomers, such as myself) and that it is rarely caught, early, by mammogram. Seems mammogram is NOT the best screening tool, MRI is. We don't all get MRI, so 10-15% of breast cancer victims won't know it till at least stage II. The reason: MRI is too expensive for everyone to get. Per one radiologist "it would bankrupt the system". This situation really makes me angry.
Like another poster: I am self supporting. I am a travel nurse, so having to really hustle to find work at home long enough to get through this. Scared to death I will wind up with no boobs and financially destitute all at the same time. Hard to travel nurse and get a mastectomy at the same time. Plus, I work ICU and ER, not real great places to be while on chemo, which I will have to have after surgery.
Got the bilateral MRIs today. Real question here is will it be just the right one or both? I have already decided I'm getting bigger ones to replace what I lose. The biggest issue here is that even though the tumor is 2.5 cm at it's greatest dimension, the breast is too small to leave anything that resembles "normal" and get "good" margins. Could get lumpectomy with the ductal CA, but not with lobular. This B/C likes to make multiple tumors in the same breast and if you have it in one there is a 30% chance it is "mirrored" in the other.
Just got back from the MRIs and stopped at Lowes and bought myself two blooming orchids for the collection. I deserve them. (even if they were extra pricey with the flowers). I usually get the ones after they flower and are reduced for quick sale.
I have great support from medical friends, regular friends and family. My travel recruiters are calling me weekly for updates. One friend may be my "recovery room" nurse. All nurses, here, plan on visiting just to make sure I don't get "ignored" by the hosptial staff. My sister is a Nursing Student and plans to stay by my side to make sure they treat me right. Even though my surgeon assures me that the hospital nurses treat "his" patients well. I am sure he wouldn't stand for anything less.
I think my greatest comfort is that I know I will LIVE and that there is life after this. If I lose it all and am healthy, I can earn enough to get it all back.
Did I say that I am really angry that I have only had my hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia under control for the past year? I was just starting to make inroads on the debt from that and grad school. Sometimes life just isn't fair.
I admit I didn't get a mammogram for 3 years. But, I forgave myself as this one most likely wouldn't have been see until recently, on mammogram (no calcium deposits).
They seem to have a good program where I am: counseling and groups for a community support network. Breast center has been awesome. I will have surgery within a month of finding the problem. I have the surgeon other doctor's use for themselves and their families. He does a lot of breast cancer. Not sure the story why he has a special interest in B/C. Seems there was someone close to him who suffered with it.
I am glad this forum is here. I have read lots of good advice. Thank you all!!