10 Year Surgiversary

It was 10 year ago today that I had my bilateral open breast biopsies (or lumpectomies).  It was probably the most emotional day of my life.  I was scared, anxious and humiliated.  I remember getting the needles to locate the lesions placed at the Breast Center.  They taped paper cups over these needles.  Then I got a hospital gown, and we had to drive halfway across town to the surgery center.  There I sat in the waiting room with other surgical patients.  I remember one other woman who showed up with the cups under her gown as well.  Everyone else in the room was in street clothes.  It was horrifying to be sitting there with these cups sticking out under the gown.  Tom and I went to the restroom, and I had a good long cry there.  Thankfully I did have Tom with me, and my father had showed up as a surprise too.  I met him in the hallway to the bathroom at the breast center before the needles were placed.  It was such an amazingly nice surprise to see him, and know that he cared.  

I was finally called back to pre-op.  I had a package I had wanted mailed so Tom and Dad found the post office while I was in the operating room.  When I recovered the nurse was concerned because my blood pressure had been quite low.  She said it was from the fentanyl or versed I had received.  But then I recovered and walked out of there.  I was surprised there was no wheelchair for me.  Tom helped me into the truck, and we headed home.  

Later Dad told me that Tom was pretty upset and worried while they were on the post office chore.  But all went well after that.  I recovered at home, and my biopsy results showed no cancer.  I took tamoxifen for 5 years, and my breast cancer risk now should be about the national average of ~17% (which is disgraceful BYW).  I had 5 years of yearly MRI alternating with mammograms.  I have also had several other breast lumps that have not proved to be worrisome enough for biopsies.  

But to commemorate this anniversary I have yet another breast lump and a doctor appointment this afternoon to have it evaluated.  I would love to blow it off, but I know better.  I know people battling breast cancer as I type.  And the woman whose story led to my original lump detection is still living with chronic cancer.  And so the journey continues.  But I really hope I never have to sit in a waiting room full of people with needles, cups and a gown again.  

mammogram

Here are the previous posts related to my breasts’ journeys:

The Prevention of Breast Cancer

Recovery

It’s a Beautiful Day

Boob Friday

Yesterday was the last day I took Tamoxifen

And I will again reiterate what Shadowfax stated in Movin’ Meat over 10 years ago now “Cancer sucks …and if you have breasts, or know someone who does, remind them to take a moment and do a breast self exam.” I would add if over 40 get a yearly mammogram as well.

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12 Responses to 10 Year Surgiversary

  1. What an ordeal Donna, so much to have gone through! Thinking of you today and sending my good wishes! ❤️

  2. Blogpals keep noting ‘anniversaries’ good and bad that make me go, “Wait. What? I’ve been following her blog that long???” I will be praying that this new lump is ‘nothing,’ too; your track record has been GOOD but like you said, you must stay vigilant.

  3. Chloe Reynolds says:

    The emotional turmoil can be so abilitating. I’m impressed at you and Tom for facing it head on.

  4. kapperkay says:

    Your story made me emotional – it made me think about all the people we encounter day in and day out who are struggling and facing, or have faced, obstacles such as yourself who forge on with daily living with grit and determination. Life is good and beautiful one day and then bam, out of the blue, devastation can hit like a thunder bolt the very next. It’s like “But wait! I was having such a good time! What happened?”
    Life is what happens when we have other plans. It sounds like you have an incredible support system – I’m sending the very best wishes on the results on your mammogram and pray that all is okay. (It’s reminded me that I’m long overdue for mine, so I thank you for that 😊)
    Healing hugs!

  5. Jeanne says:

    Donna, I think I’ve missed one of your blogs…I was not aware that you have had a new lump.
    I went through that experience which you described, but without the embarassment of sitting in a large waiting room. That must have been awful for you! I only had to take a short ride in a wheelchair to the next building, and was taken right to the surgery area. But still – it was humiliating. I didn’t have to take Tamoxifen. I hope you are doing well now. Please let me know…

    • Donna says:

      I hadn’t mentioned the new lump before. I saw the doctor. He thinks it is probably fine but is referring me for a mammogram and ultrasound. Hopefully all will be fine.
      I am sorry you had a similar experience minus the waiting room. There should be a better way.

  6. FullyFleeced says:

    wow. what a horrible experience. I can’t hardly believe that you had to transport yourself across town in a hospital gown (and needles!) Ugh. so much wrong with that.

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