In my last post I talked about the spots on my films from my first-ever mammogram. They seriously look like specks of dust on the “contact print” image of the first set of shots. Smaller than grains of sand, even. They look like… like… nothing.
I hadn’t missed them during a manual breast exam because they were far too small to be palpated. There’s not a lump to feel. Before advanced body imaging technologies, we would never have known they were there at all.
A stereotactic biopsy was recommended. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that. Are biopsies always safe? This was not a poke with a needle they were talking about. What were the options?
I called a pathologist in the family to see what he thought. He sees these kinds of things come through the lab all the time.
“They look like a constellation of stars,” I tried to explain. “Like pinpricks, only they’re clustered. Not clustered like grapes, but clustered like stars.”
I knew I could count on him to give it to me straight. He went right to the point.
About 80% of things that present like this are found to be calcifications. (This is what I’m counting on!)
Of the rest, most are ductal carcinoma in situ, or cancer in a mammary duct. As cancers go, this one is 100% curable when caught early, which this most undoubtably would be.
A very small percentage of the cases that present like this at my age turn out to be invasive ductal carcinoma. This would be, shall we say, um, not so good, as cancers go.
We won’t know without a biopsy, he noted. He also recommended a second opion before getting a biopsy (the first came from the radiologist who read the mammogram films). Wise words which I took to heart and went to see a breast surgeon.
She looked at my films, noted the jagged edges on the magnified shots, and concurred that I absolutely must have a biopsy. She told me about a recent study done in the Netherlands that showed that 18% of cases like mine turned into cancer within 5 years. That means that 82% are not cancerous, of course! Ten years ago they would have told me to watch and wait, but now they biopsy earlier.
So much for the haze of denial I’d been living in for a few weeks, thinking she would say they were likely calcifications and we could wait and watch. Punctured like a helium balloon in a rose bush.
Now that I know it’s there, I feel I need to know for sure what it is before I can work on healing it.
I go in for the biopsy on Thursday.
→ As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also may use affiliate links elsewhere in my site.
[…] I am choosing to get a stereotactic biopsy today on (from?) my left breast due to a constellation of stars on my first mammogram, it was by no means a foregone conclusion. There were things to consider […]
I prayed for you this morning.
Thanks for your wonderful book. My husband and I have enjoyed all the recipes we have tried.
Let us know how everything turns out.
Thank for keeping up posted. I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow.
Hoping for the best for you Elizabeth. We met at the Parker Writer’s Group a few months ago. I had a biopsy last fall, scary but they took it all with the biopsy and left a tiny computer chip in its place so they could track it and know exactly where the the little bugger was. I have to get another MRI in about a week.
I need to meet with you soon and get at least two more signed books from you. I am stealing your idea about the Le Creuset with one of your books. I have tried using it a few times with pretty good success. I still have to follow a recipe but your way of cooking is something I have been looking for. So glad to have met you. We should get together for coffee or something after all our results are in.
Talk with you soon. Chris 🙂