Patty's Mammie Grams

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

April 12 Explanation for it all

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Well guys, here is where and when it all
started - I called and set up my regular
yearly mammogram, went, and
everything seemed to all be fine. I had
a great time - new location, saw my
same old buddies from the old place (I
met two prospective clients and made
a date for a book club meeting.) Then,
they called me back and said they saw
something that looked like a fold in
the skin or maybe scar tissue from an
old biopsy, so could I please come back
in for a magnified mammogram and a
sonogram? (I think the fold of skin was
the scar from the 'watery cyst' removed
from my chest when I was four years
old.) Bonus points for those who
remember that! (I've finally gotten old
enough I guess, that my skin finally
pulled up between the mammogram
squasher plates.) After that call, I
realized that I hadn't done a self exam
for who knows how long??? So - I
checked and I found a lump - among
all the other usual lumps I've had for
years with my fibrocystic breast
disease. I really didn't think too much
about it, but I did ask them to look
also at that lumpy spot I had found
when they did the sonogram. There it
was - a big dark spot - I had no idea
what that meant, though, so I still
wasn't really worried. Then, they called
back to tell me, hey, now we need you
to get in here for a biopsy.
OK says I. (I've had two previous
biopsies and neither one turned out to
be anything to worry about so - I
figured it was no big deal then and this
will also be no big deal.) So I went in,
had the biopsy, and it came back:

"Left breast, high grade in situ comedo
carcinoma with smaller component of
invasive ductal carcinoma. Await larger
resected specimen for breast panel

The biopsy went fine except for one small
glitch: I figured it all out later, that
when I donated platelets 3 days before
the biopsy, the 'return' (the rest of the
blood given back to me) contained an
anticoagulant along with my other blood
components. Oops. No one figured this
out - not me (who should probably
have remembered the lecture - oh, I
don't know - 15 or so years ago about
the process, and so I don't listen or pay
attention or read carefully enough
anymore), or the platelet people (who
didn't know that I was having a biopsy
in 3 days, (you can donate platelets
every 4 days), or the biopsy people
(who weren't putting two and two
together about the fact that it was
platelets that I had donated, not whole
blood, and therefore didn't think of the
fact that there was an anticoagulant
racing around in my blood stream).
The first stick of the fine needle for
the biopsy was the one and only
specimen they got.There was a little
nick of a small vessel, and then 15
minutes of the heel of one hand over
the heel of the other hand on the spot
for about 15 minutes before it quit
bleeding. There was quite a bruise
and swelling with a hematoma.
So, when I did receive the written
results - I truly was amused at this
entry - 'There was abundant bleeding
right after the biopsy, which was
controlled by local pressure."
Here is the real story -- they hit a small
artery ("we've got a spurter here") and
after Dr. pulled the biopsy needle out
and they both were trying to deal with
the specimen kit - I could feel the warm
wetness spreading down toward my
armpit onto the draping, and I kept
saying - " Um - guys - yoo hoo - I think
I'm kind of bleeding over here. Oh yoo
hoo, guys, I think there might be a
problem over here"
When they turned and looked - a bit of
hurrying and scurrying came to pass -
and when they realized it wasn't going
to stop bleeding soon, Dr. Jean-Paul
says, says he, (this is where I giggled
to myself) "I think we have a very good
specimen of tissue here and we'll just
place the clip, now."
(I really like your hair this color - I
thought you should go a little more
warm for the summer so I changed the
formula a little. Or how about this one -
- I really like your hair just a little
shorter in the back - I did it for you
this time and if you don't like it - we can
always leave it longer next time we
trim it.) ; )
Get the picture of why I was amused?
Anyway, then a little panicking sounding
voice from the doctor (looking at the
sonogram screen)- "Where is my needle?
Show me my needle! (This was a
sonogram-guided fine needle aspiration
biopsy) Where is the spot? Is that it?
There is too much bleeding - it is obscured
now - where is my needle? Pause...OK
- there we have it - the clip is in...and
you are all done."
Now came the fun part - the tech had
to lean on my left breast with the heel
of one hand over the heel of the other
hand - hard - for about 15 minutes to
get the bleeding to stop. Then we ALL
decided to wait for the 'clip
mammogram' for a few days so the
poor vessel could heal and not pop back
open with the squishing and squashing
of it.
(FYI - the 'clip' is a titanium 'pink
ribbon' shaped piece that they use to
show where they have just been
biopsying. I now have two of them, both
in my left breast. They told me that they
won't set off any airport alarms.)

So, the main gist of the whole thing is
that...I don't know much more than I
did before (which by the way, is pretty
squat) only now maybe I know
what the options might probably maybe
are going to be. Maybe. Patty


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