I stayed home from work on the Monday after my biopsy. I thought maybe I should go to keep myself busy and keep my mind occupied on something other than cancer, but in the end, I realized that I was pretty much useless due to stress and worry.
When my phone rang, I began to shake. I answered in my best “I’m not terrified” voice. The doc let me know that the results were in–Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in two areas with another area of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ. She had already called a surgeon for me, and I would see him the next day. I thanked her for the call and hung up and crumpled and shook and cried.
The next day I visited a surgeon (Dr. A) who very patiently led me through what all the results meant. We knew stage and we knew the grade. Stage 1, grade 3. Stage 1 means tumor size less than 2 centimeters (good: small size) and grade 3 means poorly differentiated (not good). My breast size meant lumpectomy would leave me horribly disfigured and always wondering if the other breast would follow suit. Bilateral mastectomy meant getting rid of the breast tissue that could one day develop more disease. Since the stage was early, the surgeon, and later the oncologist (Dr. D) felt that mastectomy followed by hormonal therapy (Tamoxifen), would end this mess. Reconstruction would happen later.
At this point my mind was overflowing. All the docs were feeding me this line: “so Kendra, the bottom line is that you have choices. You can decide what you want to do, just let us know.” Choices? Right. I did not have a choice to have my life turned inside out. I did not have a choice on cutting the tumors out–whether I chose to just go with digging out the individual tumors or with cutting all the breast tissue out. I did not have a choice in feeling like my mortality was poking me in the forehead. I did not have choice to not pay $50 damn dollars for every visit co-pay. I did not choose to listen to my husband break the news to our three children. (end mini rant here)
The other thing the doctors said was AWESOME. Two regular surgeons, the medical oncologist, the radiology oncologist, and the plastic surgeon all said that I was young and thin. Every last one of them. These doctors are very respectable and educated, so this is news we can trust.