Eat Drink Run Woman

Musings from a Seattle personal chef with a fitness problem

Archive for July, 2014

Published July 2nd, 2014

Independence Day



This coming 4th of July, I will celebrate the independence of a small tumor from my left breast.  Talk about life’s curveballs!  Not something I ever expected — colon cancer runs in the family, not breast cancer.

Although the guidelines have now changed, I’ve been getting regular mammograms every year for at least five years.  A couple of years ago I was called back for an ultrasound as they found an abnormality; I was totally freaked out, but fortunately it was for naught.  So when I got called back after my May 16 mammogram, I wasn’t concerned.  (My breast tissue is dense, so it can be hard to read with just a mammogram).

During the ultrasound the doc was a tad concerned about one area (appeared as shading), but not particularly so.  He said it very well could be how the breast tissue was formed, but he recommended getting a biopsy “just in case.”  Again, I wasn’t concerned.  Hell, I even scheduled the biopsy three days before a 50-mile race!  (My über expensive yet highly supportive bra earned its keep: I ran a 30-minute personal best.)

They said I would likely get my biopsy results two days later.  Friday came and went with no call, but I wasn’t worried.  Monday came and went, and I decided if I didn’t hear by Tuesday afternoon, I’d call.  My darling and I were sitting on the couch Facebooking Tuesday morning when the phone rang; my heart jumped into my throat when I heard my doctor’s voice.  (Typically if it’s good news then a nurse calls).  Once I heard the word “cancer” come out of her mouth I pretty much became oblivious to anything else she said.  (It was like the adults in a “Charlie Brown” cartoon: “WAH WAH WAH WAAH, WAH WAH WAH WAAH.”)

I had to have her repeat what I had; she used the terms “infiltrating lobular, low-grade” and “in-situ.”  She had made an appointment for me to meet with a breast cancer surgeon that coming Friday (the 13th, no less.)  I hung up the phone and burst into tears.  As I dialed my sister to inform her, my darling turned to Dr. Google with the information we had.  As I blubbered to my sister about having cancer, he’s saying, “It’s not cancer!”  Rather, it was “lobular carcinoma in-situ (LCIS),” which is not considered a “true” cancer.  However, it means you’re at a greater risk for developing cancer in the future, so regular screenings and hormone therapy are recommended.

This information helped relieve me a bit, and I decided to hold off on telling my other siblings and my mom until after I met with the surgeon.  But the waiting was the worst part (patience is not one of my virtues).  It also gave me time to turn to Dr. Google myself.  I kept coming back to the word “infiltrating;” while “in-situ” means “in place, “infiltrating,” well, means the exact opposite.  My worries returned but all I could do was wait to meet with the surgeon.