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Dec 18, 2018 06:50PM
You ladies here are all so awesome, taking time out of your lives to give people like me thoughts, advice, and most especially, your own story. I thank you all and I value everyone's input, no matter how widely divergent they might seem to be, at times. I do not believe doctors or medicine are the enemy, by any means. I welcome ALL points of view and all the varied ways people fight their own cancer. As so many have stated on this website, each of us is a snowflake with a unique situation particular only to us.
Runor, I love your passion. Fear not; I am researching everything. That is just what I do (now). Knowledge is power. In this particular situation, that is all I have done since receiving that first phone call suggesting there might be a microinvasion - research. Thank you for telling me your backstory. That was really helpful for me, as my response this time was very similar to yours. In 2012, when I was 49, they found something "suspicious" in my annual mammogram. They sent me for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. Then a needle biopsy (the yuckier version where you are lying facedown on the table). Then I saw the surgeon, who told me that they weren't really sure (after all that!), so an excisional biopsy was recommended for a bigger sample, and as we're doing that, might as well do a lumpectomy. I stupidly went along with the whole thing. There was nothing - just calcifications. Yay! Happy news! Yes, happy news, but I was mad at myself for just blindly doing everything I was told to do without researching.
Fast forward to Oct. 2018, 6 years later. Story starts the same: annual mammogram, diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, needle biopsy (same breast, right, different location). I was so skeptical throughout the process. I told the doctor who did the needle biopsy that if this came up inconclusive like the last time, the buck stopped there. She took 10 passes (vs. the normal 5) just to be sure she got the tissue in question. Dense breasts, hard to get a good sample, not as big as she was hoping for (the sample, not the breasts; although the breasts are quite small, and getting smaller with each surgery!!) ... I had done the research by this point, and I knew DCIS was a (relatively) common diagnosis in these situations. I was prepared for that, worst case. They called a couple of days later when I was at check out in a Dept. Store. I answered the phone, as I wasn't expecting any significant news. Imagine my shock when she said DCIS with a microinvasion. Real live cancer. What?! The poor girl at the cash register was as shocked as I was.
Then I did all the research on DCIS with a microinvasion (thanks Beesie for all your info and research!). I was prepared again! I met with the surgeon, MO and radiologist. They are all great, and answered all my questions and respected me, just as I respect them. I told them no SNB based on a .5mm microinvasion, as I had done the risk assessment for me in my situation, and the risk of lymphedema for me is career ending. The surgeon was OK with that as we were expecting a .5 mm microinvasion; odds of that going to the SNB were very small (not impossible, I know, but very small). I knew the final pathology could be much worse, and I would take the required steps at that time. The final pathology showed 2 mm invasion (no longer micro) and 2 mm of DCIS. Margins were 5 and 6 mm. Doctor was still OK w/no SNB, agreeing chances of spread were still slight. Yay.
Which brings me to the radiation question. Which brings me here, where ALL of you are kind enough to offer me advice. I meet with my radiologist tomorrow to ask questions and get more info.
Brookside, thanks for letting me know you were on the fence, that you did the rads and you are pleased you made that choice. Great info. That's all any of us want, I think, is to finally make a choice and to be at peace with it.
Runor, no matter what, I doubt I'll be running a mile with carrots in my ears. But I LOVE that image. It made me laugh out loud when I read it. Still makes me laugh. Thanks!
(Apologies for the length of this post. It is cathartic to write it all out!)
11/27/2018, DCIS/IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC)
12/5/2018 Lumpectomy: Right