This whole “booby trap” saga started with a left breast lump that I noticed over 2 years ago. I then proceeded to have a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy, before it was deemed a fibroadenoma, or benign tumor. I was given the option to follow it with imaging every 6 months, or remove it. It is a well-known fact that doctors make terrible patients, and so the answer was obvious. It was fairly superficial, and so I convinced my breast surgeon that we could do it under local, rather than general, anesthesia. After all, I had carpool to manage and kids to take care of and who has time for general anesthesia?? It definitely threw off the OR crew that I could still talk during the procedure and move my own self to the gurney, but I knew I liked this surgeon. I just did not expect to see her again so soon.
Two weeks ago, I had a routine follow up mammogram, which was abnormal, which led to another mammogram and then a core biopsy of my right breast this time. When pathology of that came back positive for cancer, I met with my breast surgeon again. MRI confirmed that there were actually more masses, and possible lymph node metastasis. More ultrasounds and tests since, but ultimate treatment is surgery — a double mastectomy, with sentinel node biopsy. If node biopsy is negative (results which come back while still in the OR), then I don’t need axillary node removal or radiation.
The surgery actually requires coordination of two surgical teams: one to remove the breast tissue (breast surgeon), and another to start reconstruction/put temporary expanders in (plastics). Eventually after several weeks, the expanders get replaced with implants. Preop entails prophylactic antibiotics and injection of dyes to more accurately locate the lymph nodes. There are drains involved, cadaveric tissue that acts as a sling, biopsies sent to pathology in real-time, and multiple surgical incisions, all while sparing nipples. It’s actually a relatively straight-forward procedure. But not something I can convince these surgeons to do under local anesthesia. ;)
Nursing came naturally to me, and my breastmilk provided sustenance to my now three rambunctious, healthy boys. I have no regrets, anger, or resentment against my breasts. But I am anxious to get them out ASAP, and get this shit on the road.