Sunday, November 30, 2014

My Boob (An Epistolary Thank You)

For the last 3 weeks I was pretty sure I had breast cancer.
Let's just say that if you have a faint red mark on your boob don't Google "faint red mark on my boob" because the only thing that comes up is site after site detailing a highly aggressive (and yes--rare) disease called Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I mean, if you want to grab the URL it's totally available, is all I'm saying.

So I went to my gyno thinking that she would tell me I was being silly but instead she cocked her head and said hmm. Which everyone knows is Doctorese for You Might Be Fucked. But she gave me a 10 day course of antibiotics and said if it didn't go away with that then we would do a biopsy. So 4x a day for 10 days I took antibiotics and 104x a day for 10 days I went into the bathroom to see if it was going away. Side note to whoever walked in on me in the bathroom at work while I was looking at my boob: See? I'm not a perv. And no, my bra wasn't twisted like I said it was, we both know that.

You're never going to guess what happened next...the faint red mark did not go away after 10 days on antibiotics. So I went back to my gyno who then said hmmm. (Note the extra 'm.') She then referred me to a breast surgeon. Of course all of this happened in the stop motion time of healthcare referrals and fear.

Meanwhile, I had a fundraiser at work and another one with a bunch of friends and felt like a lying liar face who was going to have to awkwardly return all the money once I was definitively diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer and could not go to Tel Aviv after all. It was awful. I was awful. People hugged me, called me brave for my impending stem cell transplant, asked all the right questions, said all the best things and all I could think of was how to tell people I could not stop to stop my MS when I had a cancer with only a 37% survival rate. And then I would go into the bathroom to take more pictures of my boob to compare to the other 100 pictures I had taken to see if it maybe looked a little better. Or was it worse? What about when I lay down? Wear this bra? In this light? Like that.

I had the breast punch biopsy on Tuesday. Which means that my faint red mark is pretty much gone as it has been replaced by a huge nasty bruise and two stitches. And then it was Thanksgiving and I felt not so much thankful as I did fearful and made sweet potatoes after ordering 5 cute cheap beanies on ASOS because either way I figured I would lose my hair.

There's really no chase to cut to here because obviously I am ok. The breast surgeon emailed me on Saturday (bless his heart) to say that the pathology report came back negative and it was just an unexplained mild inflammation. No big deal. (His words.) So now I "just" have MS again. And I "get to" go to Tel Aviv and am "lucky" that I am in good enough health to have my immune system destroyed. And I am belatedly so very thankful for that and everything else: my family, my friends, my bruised boob that means nothing, my pink pajamas with the elephants on them, for chai tea and bell peppers, the sound of the rain as I type this. Sometimes it's hard to love life so much, to be so thankful and know how blessed I am because with that comes a constant fear that it will someday be taken away. But that is a post for another night when I am listening to The Smiths and not "Last Christmas" by Wham.

No, tonight I am thankful for my boob and for you. Because I have such an amazing community of friends--even if I don't know you know you, you are all now my true friends--because on top of everything else I have also reached my fundraising goal. And I don't have to give it back. :)

Thank you.


Mr. X said...

Good Lord, S. I'm sorry you had to go through that scare.

Over the past few years, I've had several serious diseases -- all in my head. Whether real or imagined, fear is fear...and, stress is stress.

In the end, I'm glad it was "no big deal." I only wish the MS was also a false alarm.

You and your family remain in my prayers.


Mr. X

Mr. X said...

p.s. The images you find for your blog are brilliant. I often return here to steal them.

Anonymous said...

I pray for you, your sweet family and your health every day. You will beat MS. Your posts are so funny, as you have to be. You are loved by so many.
Much love,

Anonymous said...

When it rains it pours!! I am glad you're at least at ease with your boobs. Had the same procedure this past May - 4 boob biopsies, but no takers, thank goodness!
Just keep your chin up and remain positive, Susannah! Half the recovery depends on your attitude. I keep my fingers crossed for you and your family :-))

Cathi said...

I look forward to you kicking MS' ass in a few months time. Sending lots of love to you and your family. xxoo

Anonymous said...

Susanita hermosa,

You are going to love this gal and her blog,
just your cup of oolong tea.


Petunia Face said...

Big hugs to all of you, the kind where I press you to my bosom and it's a little bit weird.