The Breastern Front

I’m so close to being finished with treatment that I can taste it.

My last IV is scheduled for September 14, 2011. I can get my mediport (the small, implanted device through which I receive medications) removed later that week. And, then, I’m done.



For the past month, I’ve had this feeling that something was off. I hadn’t felt any lumps, and both of my oncologists said that my Clinical Breast Exams were clear. I wondered if I was experiencing some anxiety or depression, as happens with 30% of breast cancer survivors out of fear that the cancer will return. Yet, that’s not normally how I react to health issues.

The last time I had this feeling was spring 2010 when I thought I had cancer. (And, we all know how that turned out.)

I haven’t written or told anyone that I sensed that there was a problem in Tata-ville because it just comes off as unnecessarily negative. I knew that I had a mammogram scheduled so I tried to remind myself that I didn’t need to stress about a concern that didn’t exist!

Yesterday, I had my mammogram. The technician took four films of my two breasts, and then I was sent to a small waiting room. (One of the many reasons I love Sibley Hospital is that they give you the results before you leave the Center. Most places send you home, and then you receive a letter or call to let you know whether the films look good or there’s an area of concern.)

The first woman in the waiting room received notification that all was quiet on the breastern front. She was free to go. One of the technicians then opened the door and signaled for me to come back inside.

Me [smiling with a slight laugh]: No! I know what that means!

Tech: You’re fine.

Me: I’m fine then?

Tech: Well, the doctor just wants more films.

Me: Exactly. I want to go out the ‘Exit’ door. Not in for more! [We laugh.]

In total, I was brought back into the mammography room four separate times so that my left breast could be photographed eight different ways.

My left breast.

For those of you who don’t remember, I had cancer in my right breast. If anything is abnormal in my left breast, this would be deemed an unrelated problem to what I’ve gone through over the past 13 months.

When the doctor finally came out to speak with me, she said:

You have enough calcifications in there to feed a small army. [We laugh.] Wait…is it okay that I said that?

Me: Definitely. I know that there’s a lot of mass there.

Doctor: Well, I can see an area of abnormal calcifications in the left breast that wasn’t there last year. I don’t want to put you through anything if it can be avoided, but I think that we should do a biopsy.

Me: I figured after the second time that I was brought back.

80% of all biopsies are benign or non-cancerous. Over the years, I’ve had 11 biopsies and only two of them came back positive. This is probably nothing.

I’m not sad or mad, but I feel numb.

I don’t want to deal with this again.

I want to be planning my party to celebrate the end of treatment, not contemplating:

What if?

I’m tired of my breasts looking like a patchwork quilt.

I want life to go back to normal.

My biopsy is scheduled for Monday, and I should have results a week from today.

It’s going to be benign. It’s going to be benign. It better fucking be benign.

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