April 5th marked three years since my initial surgery. You can read the first post about my double mastectomy here, if you feel so inclined. I didn’t even realize it was an anniversary until the day after; it just goes to show how much distance time can provide. At my oncology follow-up this week (I see her every 6 months now), my doctor talked about recurrence for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, and cited some information about the highest likelihood of recurrence being in the first 2-3 years from diagnosis (more here). I guess it feels good to know I’ve reached that point, but I have a hard time breathing easy just because of some studies. I still feel like my risk of recurrence is high and I’m not sure that will ever go away.
I felt, on this date, that it was appropriate to share a recent NPR article about NOT having a double mastectomy: Why My Wife Didn’t Choose a Double Mastectomy. Of course, the woman in this article does not carry a BRCA mutation, so her situation is different, but I did want to highlight that mastectomy is not always the best choice, even for people WITH a mutation. When I first learned of my mutation at age 22, I opted not to have surgery and I didn’t plan to even start thinking about surgery until I was at least 30. Looking back, even though I had cancer, I wouldn’t have changed that decision. I think a lot of women get vilified for choosing not to have surgery, and I think it’s important to hear that they are not alone. The choice is so personal and people should be supportive no matter what.
I just wrote a huge post on my biopsies today and it was erased for some reason. Dammit. It was good, too! I will try and write another one because today I had both an MRI-guided core biopsy and an ultrasound-guided core biopsy, and of course I want to share the wonderful experience with you all. In the meantime, enjoy this:
I need further screening procedures. Not just in one breast. But in both. And not just needle biopsies. One needle biopsy on the right and an MRI-guided biopsy on the left.
Yes, when it rains, it pours. On my boobs.
I’m actually kind of angry right now. Yesterday, after the ultrasound, I was devastated. I was sent to the little dressing room to put my clothes back on and as I wiped the cold gel from my chest I just started sobbing. When the doctor invited me in to see my images from my mammo, MRI, and now ultrasound and explain the situation, I sobbed. When I walked into the waiting room to tell my boyfriend, I sobbed. Then I went back to work and threw myself into other things so I didn’t have to think about it.
Today, I’ve come to terms, but I am angry. I know it’s not my fault or the doctor’s fault or anyone’s fault, really (I don’t blame you for giving me these genes, mom, because you gave me so much more that is positive). I just feel so angry that I’m 25 and I have to go through this. I’m angry at the insurance company that’s probably going to charge me an arm and a leg. I’m angry that this is my only option at this point. I’m angry that I decided to do surveillance and I sometimes just want to say, “OFF WITH MY BREASTS!” I’m angry at myself for thinking that. I’m angry that I got tested so young and I’m angry that I’m not being stronger.
I know these feelings of anger, sadness, fear (I hate needles… who doesn’t?) will pass, but for now it’s just how I feel and I’m glad to be able to write about it.
My tests are scheduled for next Thursday, St. Patty’s Day. Erin go-friggin-bragh.