Saturday, August 17, 2013

Look Ma! No bra!

Helloooooooooooo Boob warriors!!!!

I am alive and kicking. Lots of things have happened since we talked last. The most significant is that I have had my double mastectomy.
Totally in the raw!
Puffy Face 
No Makeup
No Boobs
NO TUMORS


Yep, that's right. The boobs, Invader Zim & PEST have all been eradicated. There was also another lil' bugger (Wanna-be)  that was trying to take up residence in my LEFT breast. He wasn't a full grown cancer yet, but he was on his way. So doing the double mastectomy was a damn good choice.  *grin*

My most awesome surgeon informed me that all the margins were clear. That means that as far as we know there was not even a lil bit of  Zim, PEST or Wanna-be left inside me!

AND they checked the lymph node that would have been first effected by the invaders, and it was TOTALLY CLEAN!!!!  So I am showing no lymph system involvement.

Can I get a HELL YEAH!!!!?

I've only been back on my computer for a day or so. My arms still tire out pretty easily, but it's getting better day by day. Baby steps, right?  I'm up and moving around and even walking around the block. (or to get ice cream at Dee Dee's down the street)  Nothing motivates this girl like a waffle cone of Strawberry Cheese Cake or Chocolate Brownie Chunk Ice Cream. OH YUMMM!

The next phase of all this is --- I go to the plastics doc on Monday and start filling up "the Perky New Ones"!!  I'll update with photos on Monday. I shouldn't be quite so folded and lumpy then.

We still have chemo to tackle. That journey starts on the 29th of this month. That is my first meeting with my oncologist. I'll update you more as I find things out.

As for right now, I'm enjoying running around bra free for the first time since I was about 8! Talk about freedom! OMG! I actually lost 14 pounds!!!! Just think about carrying that around on your chest 24/7.
Better yet, try it. Just get two 5lb leg weights and hang them over your shoulders for an hour and try to get through your day.  I challenge you!

The first time I stood up after surgery I almost fell on my face!!! Balance was DEFINITELY an issue. But I have adapted to it very well and don't really know I managed to get through the day lugging all that around.
Big boobs are definitely overrated!! We are going for a nice average C after the fill up.  :) It will take three or four visits to get there, but I'm very optimistic of the outcome.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has sent cards, emails, and gifts. I love you all and really appreciate knowing you are doing this with me.

I'm working on getting my very first breast cancer t-shirt -- it's based on a card from my lovely cousin, Tiffany Hager-Meyer.  It says:

I LOVE IT!!


So now I'm off to try to stay out of trouble....

LOL Yeah right!
ROCK ON, BOOB WARRIORS!!!!






Saturday, July 27, 2013

Hellooooo Boob warriors!   It's been a while since I updated things.  So let's start from the beginning for those of you who just tuned in or got totally confused with my last post full of newly learned medical jargon. LOL

#1 I have breast cancer - yep no question about it... it's for sure and for real.

#2 I have two tumors in my right breast. (over achiever that I am)

#3 I have had genetics testing and it is NOT genetic.  (YAY!!)

#4 I will be heading to the hospital on Tuesday the 30th for a double mastectomy. (Yep, that means they are removing both breasts completely)

#5 I will be having reconstructive surgery the same day. (WOOHOO!!! Perky new pair!  - hey, make the best of a bad situation, right? :)  )

#6 No, they won't be "all done" when I come out. They will be slowly inflated to the size I choose over a couple of months, then we will do a quick second surgery to insert the perma-implants.

#7 Yes, I could have had the reconstruction done with "natural tissue"  (ie transplant tissue from somewhere on me. But I would like to keep the rest of me intact as much as possible at this point. If you don't agree that's cool... you can do yours that way.  I'm gonna do implants :)  )

#8 I"ll be in the hospital a day or two after the surgery. Then I come home with tubes. (YUCK!)

#9 My daughter will be updating my Facebook page while I'm zoning on some chemical relaxation for a day or so. So if you want to know what's going on after Monday night, check my Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/jesiferguson

#10 I will be doing chemo after I heal up a bit from the surgery. No way around it. So that's what we will do.

#11 Yes, my hair will fall out and I WILL post some pics as we move through this. Cause bald is sexy! :)

#12 I totally appreciate all the love and support that you all have sent me.

#13 Keep praying, sending positive thoughts, white light, love, what ever floats your boat as long as it's positive! I really appreciate it.

#14 I'll still be posting on Facebook until Tuesday when I head off to surgery & I'll try to answer you all, but please understand if I don't reply personally to you. Just know that I love y'all.

#15 I'm going to post this on my Facebook so that everyone will stop thinking that I'm trying to hide this from them.  I haven't been. It's just not my favorite topic of discussion at the moment. :)  I think you all can understand that. Right?

#16 I have had several people ask where to send cards...
 Jesi Ferguson
635 82nd street
Niagara Falls, NY 14304

***That's not a request for cards :) so please don't feel pressured to send them.   Just info for those that have asked.

I'm so lucky to have such an awesome support group! I want to let you all know that each one of you have been really instrumental in keeping me feeling positive through this so far and I love you for that.

I'm off to take care of the last minute things and then hang with the MMH for the weekend.

Think happy thoughts and tell the people close to you that you love them every chance you get!

Be good to each other while I'm gone and spread the love.

I'll talk to you as soon as I get home :)

Moonbeams & Blessings,
Jesi


Monday, June 24, 2013

OOOOOOOHHHHMMMMMMMM


Breathe in.... Breathe out.....  
Yes, I'm working on my meditation and grounding. 
It keeps me focused.
It keeps me calm.
It keeps me from just freakin screaming some days too :)

So, last we talked I was going for a biopsy on the SECOND invader, "Pest". 
Well, Pest has lived up to his name. 

At this point
EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED
UGH!

As of now, I have the clinical diagnosis (before surgery) of:
Triple Negative Multicentric Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
#1 Mass  - 1.8 cm Grade 3 (Nasty) with Lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate (blood vessel involvement & maybe lymph nodes)  and Necrosis
#2 Mass - .8cm  Grade 1 with tubular features (think tentacles)

This, Boob Warriors, means the battle plan has changed.
There will be no surgery tomorrow.
Instead I will be seeing a genetic counselor to begin testing for the BRCA1/BRCA2 genes
(Think Angelina Jolie)

We will be doing at least a right breast Mastectomy. 
I am considering a double, due to family history and the types of tumors I have.
(Nasty aggressive little buggers)

Sooooooooooo
I will be seeing a plastic surgeon on July 3rd to discuss reconstruction options.

To tell you the truth I'm totally dazed and wish the merry go round would stop
I'm getting a bit dizzy.

So many decisions....

MMH is being a total support hero!
He's awesome and I love him to pieces. 
He has mastered the art of "Just being there"
( which is really hard from him since he's really a knight in shining armor and really wants to just kick this cancers ass and make everything OK, cause that's what he does.) 

He has been able to listen while I ramble
laugh with me when I'm feeling stupid 
hold me when I cry
and just totally be there for me. 
I'm so lucky!

My kiddos are also my supper support.

The Baby Birthing Hippy Chick & Family are awesome.
They are constantly on the phone making sure I (and MMH) are doing OK
They are always there for me/us anytime we need to talk 
They are also EXCELLENT comic relief!
I love you, Casey, Beck & Saw!
& Mogwi & Lila & Rufie too!
(and new yellow and black that are at the new house too) 
You guys ROCK! 

The Boy Child & Girlfriendy are super too.
They are always around to make me smile and had out hugs as needed.
The Boy Child is totally my right hand guy and I don't know what I would do without him.
And wait until you see what Girlfriendy made me!!
OMG!! She made me the most lovely afghan! 

I am soooo lucky to have them all!

So I'm heading out tomorrow and begin the quest again
We will adjust
we will listen
we will learn 
WE WILL WIN!

ROCK ON BOOB WARRIORS! 






Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Hair & A New Hole

OK, well if you've been hanging around you are aware that chemo is going to happen. 
(add sarcastic yay here)
So I went and got my hair cut. NO need to watch the long stuff fall out in my hands, right?  And if it's going to go anyway, why spend the couple of months I have left sweating with long hair. So I decided to go warrior hair! 

Lovely idea... I had an awesome hairstyle picked out.(see above) Total mohawk, really awesome...
But this was NOT what the lady that cut my hair had in mind. Therefore, it is not the cut I got. 
And the payment she had in mind was NOT the payment she got, either. (*insert satisfied evil grin here) 

But all in all I can live with it. It is basically a nice versatile cut that I can play around with and change up. Still shaved on the sides, but just NOT what I asked for. SO I paid for what I got. :)
And I can still spike it up if I want, non-stylist bitch!!!  So there! 8P

Anyway... here's the new cut.  MMH took that picture at the Joan Jett concert. WOOOHOOO!!! 


*Not sure why I was so freakin' puffy that day... but hey.. it happens.. right?  

So anyway.. there is the hair. I'm thinking as it grows back in, I'm going to with the cut that I wanted and keep that a while  :)   We'll see.

So... now for the updates. I had an MRI done of the Boob Twins on the 13th.  Guess what?! 
Invader Zim has a little invader buddy.(Not Gir though.. I LOVES me some Gir!  Weeeeehooo make me a sammich!) I think we will call this one Pest.. anyway, he's tiny, but it's down deep. We didn't see him with the mamo.  

Today, we found the lil' bugger with the ultrasond ( after a LOT of pushing) and stabbed his lil ass! Yep, we got 4 core samples from the biopsy today. The doc was VERY happy with the way it turned out. He put a rush on the pathology report so hopefully we will have it tomorrow when I go in for my surgery consult.

This lil guy was down deep, so he may change our plans a bit. Not sure though. I'll know more tomorrow. 


As of now, surgery for the eradication of of Invader Zim & Pest  is still set for June 25th at 8am.  I'll keep you posted. 

In the mean time:

RULE #2
If you want a great off the wall haircut, make sure the person doing the cutting is tattooed and pierced at least once! 

Moonbeams & Blessings,
Jess

Thursday, June 6, 2013

1 little 2 little 3 little chemo treatments...

Weeeeeehooooo!  Somebody make me a sammich! It's been a long day.

We are back from the doc's office at Roswell Park. (Still haven't seen any aliens, Daddy!)
Got all the official news today. So grab your favorite beverage and a snack. I'm about to drop the info.

First of all, I TOTALLY love my doc, Dr. Edge.  Yep, even my freakin boob surgeon is edgy! Oh yeah!! :)  Seriously though. He was totally cool. He spent almost 2 hours going over things and answering questions today. I was totally blown away. No rush through to the next person. He was there and present the entire time. That is what doctors should be. Yay "Dr. Edgy"  LOL  You ROCK!

So does Pat, my Patient Navigator and all around super support person. Not only did she hook me up with some awesome support info, she brought me "Goldfishes!"


 MMH was with me. He was super awesome and asked a lot of questions. He's totally got my back on this!
How lucky am I?  Plus he took me to The Anchor Bar after... bonus points to the MMH!

So here's the way the numbers play out.... ( are you taking notes?)





Invader Zim's stats:

Type: Invasive Ductal Carcinoma with venous involvement
Size: 1.5cm (from ultrasound measurements)
Lymph node spread: clinically negative ( still have another test to run)
Estrogen Receptor: negative
Her2: Equivocal - which means they don't know for sure, but they are doing another test. Likely negative
         though the doc says.
Clinical stage based on current findings - Stage 1
Family history:  sucks! Genetic testing is applicable - we will be testing for BRCA1 & BRCA2

Plan of Attack: 

  1. MRI of breasts to insure no masses were missed ( can you say DRUG ME!! I'm claustrophobic!) 
  2. Lumpectomy & sentinel node testing ( could be followed by more node removal if sentinel positive) 
  3. Test for BRCA1 & BRCA2
  4. While waiting for results start chemo  -- every other week for approx. 5 months
  5. Check BRCA results.  If positive - proceed with double mastectomy and  reconstruction ( Read as  new  perky boobs for me! -- just keeping it positive. ) if negative -- proceed to item 5
  6. radiation therapy - 6 weeks - 5 days a week
  7. Celebrate VICTORY

So.... Boob Warriors, we have a identified the problem & formulated a plan of attack. 
NOW we implement the plan of attack. 

First things first... we are going to do chemo and the hair is going to fall out. I'm ready to enter warrior mode! 

Time to cut the hair!!!

Yep, I'm going to pick out my new "warrior do" and start with the chopping.

The hair goes on MY TERMS. 
  • It is not allowed to fall out when it chooses. 
  • It is NOT allowed to dwindle away falling piece by piece to my floor or into my dinner. 
  • It is NOT allowed to evacuate in clumps on my pillow and make me feel icky about myself. 
  • OH NO! It goes on MY TERMS! 

Locks of Love can't use hair that has been bleached, (my highlights) but we are going to try and and separate them out and send all the underneath hair to them. Hopefully I'll have "in process" photos for you to check out. 

So take one last look at the hair that is mine at the moment,




because tomorrow I'm taking charge and IT'S OUTTA HERE!  

So watch for the "Warrior Hair" post tomorrow. It should be an adventure!

(I'll update the Boob Warriors tomorrow.. I was a bit busy today LOL)  

Love ya all!!!!  













Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Doctors and biopsies and results... OH MY!

OK.... so I didn't go shopping.  Major bummer. I had wanted to go buy new art supplies. I ALWAYS want to buy new art supplies. But I didn't. Instead I went home and told MMH (Man of my heart) that this was no Oswald we were dealing with. And like the amazing man he always is, he held me tight and said, "No matter what it is, I'm right here."  Could he have been any more perfect at that moment? Hell no! He's amazing.

"What's next?" he asked.

"We wait for them to call about my appointment. My doc will be scheduling a biopsy. They will call us with the date tomorrow."

We chatted a bit and then I hit the library. When in doubt, read books on it! There are a lot of books out there about breast cancer. I had no clue.

I picked up three that looked like they would explain things in a way that I could understand and found one called "The Cancer Husband".  That looked like it would answer questions and explain things in "real guy language". So I grabbed that one for MMH. He is like me... Books have the answers to all life's mysteries.

So I headed home and buried my head in the books. And found out that I had a LOT more questions than I ever dreamed. I also learned that I was going to need a degree in biology AND a medical degree to get any answers from the first book. Into the reject pile with you... NEXT!!!!!

Book two had a pictures and diagrams that I could at least follow. YAY! ( I'm a visual learner) After looking at book two, I realized that I knew NOTHING about my situation and the books were NOT helping. All I knew was that they suspected it was cancer. I didn't have a clue if I did have it. I didn't know what kind it was or the stage or what treatments I was going to need. All the book answered was what happened AFTER you were diagnosed and had a fair amount of information in your hands.

***** Note to self ***** Write a book that women are given when they have a questionable mammogram and ultrasound; One that tells them what is going to happen next. Not what happens after the diagnosis.
This is something that is definitely needed. Something to read while you wait.

In case you didn't notice, I don't wait well. Blame it on the Marine Corps. We identify the problem, plan the attack, Implement the attack, Celebrate the victory. That is what we do. Find the problem and fix it. Done!

I can't do that here. I have to wait... I HATE WAITING!!!!!! 

Finally the doctor's office calls and says I will see the doc on the 16th.

What!? On the 16th? That is 48 hours away. Waiting again.... 

Fast forward to the 16th:

MMH and I arrive at the doctor's office and are greeted with a smiling doctor who tells us once again that the test results show that this is probably a cancer.  Kinda clear on that one already... that is why we're here. 
There are options for wigs and breast prosthetics, or reconstructive surgery... Bla bla bla.... ( enter Charlie Brown's teacher again...)

Meanwhile ... In my head : What are we talking about this for? When do we do the biopsy? When do I have a pathology report?The books all say I need a pathology report. I need to know kind and stage and margins and .... Damn it I need a pathology report! When do we do this!? NOW?! 

Out of my mouth:  "Ummm when are we going to do a biopsy?"

" Well, they will call you when we have it scheduled. The surgery department has to schedule that. They will schedule surgery and remove the lump and biopsy it. Results are usually back in about 5 days."

In my head: What the hell!?  So I booked my butt down here just to hear you tell me I can get a wig if I need one? Why can't we call up the surgery department and find out WHEN we can do this!? Get this thing out already! Give me answers! I could care less about wigs and boob reconstruction right now! I need answers! 
Out of my mouth: "Oh, OK so they will call. Um any idea when they will call?"

"As soon as they get you scheduled they will call. Is there anything else I can do? Any more questions?"

"Ummm I guess not. So I just wait for the call with the appointment, right?" 

"Yes. They will call when it's scheduled."

"Ummm Do you think that maybe I should talk to Roswell ParkCancer Institute and have them look at the biopsy for a second opinion?"

"You certainly can, but I don't think they will be doing anything different than we would. A biopsy is a biopsy," she says, with  a bit of what appears to be stress or aggravation creeping over her face. "We have really good doctors and I think we can take good care of you."

"Ummm OK, Well, I guess that's it then."

"I'll talk to you after your biopsy. All the results will come through me. I'll coordinate your care."

"Ummm yeah. Uh, OK, I guess... "

Then MMH and I walk out to the car. We were both really quiet for a bit and then I looked at him and said, "I think we need to at least TALK to Roswell."

His comment was simple and to the point, "Definitely!"

So it wasn't just me. WOOHOO!  I wasn't the only one that felt like we had bought a one size fits all dress and they gave us a color that we didn't even like.

But I waited....

Next day (May 17th)  the phone finally rang. "Ms. Ferguson, we have your biopsy set up for May 30th."

In My Head: What do you mean May 30th!???  That is two weeks away! There is no way! Why are we waiting three weeks? Can you people not set up an appointment and get this thing out of me any sooner!???  

Out of my mouth:  "OK, thank you."

Then everything went all whirlwind in my brain. It was going to take two weeks to get the biopsy done and then another 5 days at least to get results. Who set up this system? It had to be men! Women would never make you wait like this. (Guys that are reading this.. pardon my hostility, but if you had a lump growing in your balls, you would be feeling the same way. Results and NOW!)

More waiting...

MMH and I were not happy with the waiting, but the biopsy was already scheduled.

So I muddled through the day trying to make sense of the books I had on hand and the info I found on the net.

OH MY GODDESS! The amount of information on the net is total overload! I had to start a new folder for the bookmarks on breast cancer and the pages that offer support and information.

And I must admit, I am a major fan of  www.FeelYouBoobies.com  & www.butdoctorIhatepink.com  They both made me smile. I hope I can do that for someone with this blog.

Now... as we discussed before, I SUCK at waiting. So I talked it over with MMH and we decided that we were not comfortable with this waiting thing and were going to call Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Thursday May 16th I emailed Roswell for more information about what they do and their facility. I got an immediate reply and a request for my phone number so we could talk in person.  They called the next morning for more information and to chat about what was going on. Immediately they requested my mammo and ultrasound from my doctor. Woohooo!  They don't do wait either! I like these folks!

But I must admit, every time I said Roswell I pictured myself on a spaceship consulting with aliens. LOL  What can I say I have a warped sense of humor. THANKS DADDY!!!!  :)

My doc got the test results to Roswell on Friday, the start of Memorial weekend. Yep, a four day weekend. I was sure I was going to be totally screwed. But first thing Tuesday morning (May 21st) my phone rang....

"Jessica, we would like to schedule your biopsy for the 30th. I know that your other biopsy was set up for the same day, so the choice is up to you. We are really sorry we couldn't get you in sooner. If there is a cancellation before then, would you like us to call you? We'd really like to get things moving on this."

In my head:  Weeeehooooo! Someone on my kind of time schedule! Find the problem, lay out the plan, execute, celebrate. I am doing this with these people. They are totally on my time schedule!

Out of my mouth: "Yes, lets schedule for the 30th and please do call if there is an opening before then."

So it was done... we were moving and I was finally going to get answers. And they had done all this is less than a week! THIS is how it's supposed to be done.

I cancelled the original biopsy and informed my doctor that I would be going to Roswell... aliens and all!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
May 30th

MMH and I arrived at Roswell. No aliens in sight. (damn!)  But there was an awesome guitarist playing in the main waiting area. Too cool! This place is all about mind, body and spirit healing. I am so into that.

We were moved right through and only waited 5 minutes before we were ushered back to the biopsy area.

The awesome Mammographer, Dr. Majewski, and her nurse ( so sorry I don't remember her name.. I was a bit zoned out) were super awesome. They explained that we were going to do a core biopsy, because that was less invasive and gave us more options should we need to do surgery.

So we listened to James Taylor and poked a hole in my boob. This was a totally simple process. I was awake the whole time. I'm a super fan of lidocane! No pain. Didn't even know she was in. Doc M offered to let me watch the process on the screen but I passed. I'm not so good with needles. Yeah.. I'm a wimp when it comes to needles. One look at it going in the skin and I'm out like a light drooling on the floor.

She was super great and explained every step we were doing, down to the massive stapler sound when they popped the core samples out. Odd, but not really upsetting. Just odd... kind of brought back the alien thoughts for a moment.

So, boob patched and clothes back on, Dr. M met with me and MMH for a Q&A session. ( they even had a cold soda waiting for me in the room... these aliens ROCK!) She answered very carefully and did her best to go into detail on everything. No rush no hurry.

MMH asked why we didn't just take out the lump and get that over with. Doc M explained that it was less invasive and would give us more options if this turned out to be cancer, which she was leaning heavily towards, just from her observations today. "These things have a certain look to them. I've seen too many and this looks like we may be looking at a positive."

She explained that she would be the one to call me with my results. "We won't have all the information that the final pathology report will have when I call, but I WILL be able to tell you if it is cancer or not and what kind it is. If it's positive, you'll meet with  your team on the 6th and get the full report and discuss how best to proceed from there."

So MMH and I went home to wait.  Three to four business days is the norm for pathology reports. My phone rang the next afternoon...

"Jessica, it's Doctor Majewski. I have your results. They rushed them through since you had been waiting so long already. I'm sorry to have to tell you that the results are positive. You have invasive ductal carcinoma.
(pause) Are you OK?...."

"Yes, I'm fine. So where do we go from here?"

" You have the appointment already wet up to meet with your team on the 6th. They will have the full pathology report and will be able to answer a lot more question that I know you must have. They will get the ball rolling on this and help you decide what you want to do next. Do you have any more questions that I can try answer for you?"

"No, I think I'm just going to write them all down and get ready for the appointment on the 6th. Thank you so much for being so patient and helpful up to this point."

" That's my job. If you think of anything you might want to ask before then, please feel free to call us and I'll do my best to answer you. I'm rooting for you on this! Best of luck! You can win this fight."

"Thank you... "

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
MMH gets home from work...

"So... " I say after we do our welcome home chat. "Roswell called with my results."

"And what did they say?" MMH says stopping in his tracks and taking my hands.

"Invasive Ductal Carcinmoma"

"Then we kick it's ass out and get on with our lives, right?"

"Right!" I said as he folded me in his arms.

"We can so beat this. Invader Zim picked the wrong woman to mess with this time. He's outta here!"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So tomorrow is June 6th. I meet with the Alien team. We get to ask all those questions I have in my pink notebook. They get to answer them. Then we plan the attack!

Boob Warriors... prepare yourselves for the fight! The battle is before us!!!!

( thinking to myself , why couldn't this have happened in November when I could have written all this as my NANOWRIMO novel... nonfiction.. .massive word count... sigh.. oh well... )




Monday, June 3, 2013

In The Beginning There Was Oswald

Oswald was the original PITB ( Pain in the boob).  He showed up one day during a breast exam in my doctor's office. She was poking around and said, "Did you notice this on your last self exam?"

I tried to look innocent but failed miserably, " umm no?"

"Ah... " She said looking like I had taken the last oreo cookie in the package. "You aren't doing your exams, are you?"
I looked at the ceiling trying to think of an excuse. "Not every month, I guess."

"Well, feel here." And she took my hand and pushed my fingers deep into my left breast. "That's what you would be looking for if you were doing the exams. We need to get that looked at."

So I spent the next two weeks wondering if I was going to lose my hair, have to have major surgery and promising the Powers That Be that if I was OK, I would do my breast exams every month.

As it turned, Oswald was just a cyst and faded away in no time, never to be discussed again. And so did my resolve to do my monthly exams.

So when I found a lump on my right breast (April 31, 2013)  I called the doc up and told her about it.
"Come on in. We'll take a look," she said. So I did.

May 2, 2013 -- As I lay back on the exam table gazing at the poster of a kitten sitting among a bed of flowers, I waited for her analysis. I was more worried about what I was going to cook for dinner. After all, Oswald, the original PIDB was just a cyst. Why would I expect this to be any different?

"I think it's probably another cyst," she announced, after a rather thorough poking of my boobs. "But lets send you down for another mammogram and an ultrasound just to be sure.

Fine, I thought.   Good excuse to hit the art supply store. Who can resit a little creative retail therapy on the way home from the doctor. Right?

So on the day of the appointment (May 14,2013),  I told the Man of My Heart (MMH)  that there was no reason to worry. We were just double checking and that I'd be back soon. Then I prepared myself for some serious art supply shopping, forty percent off coupon qued up on my cell phone. Just a short smash and slime session and I was off to buy some new inks and fun stuff.

No worries as I changed into the hospital gown. Nor was I concerned as I chatted with the mammo technician while she smashed my left boob into the machine. Nada! Just like I knew there would be. No evidence of Oswald anywhere.

NEXT!! On to the right boob. Smash... don't breathe ... Whirrrrr....  Wait.....
"What is that on the screen? " I asked looking at a very white spot that was staring at me through the protective shield.

"Umm, I'll let the ultrasound tech know you are ready, Ms. Ferguson. Stay right here," she said as she released my boob from the vice. "It should only take a moment."

It seemed like forever as I sat there looking at the rack of brochures on breast cancer and wondering what in the world was happening. I didn't have breast cancer. So why was that... that thing... showing up on my mammogram?

"Alright, this way, Ms. Ferguson," the ultrasound tech said as she opened the next door over. "If you would lie down on the table with your arm over your head we'll take a look at this lump. Now where do you feel it?" She asked as she made some notes on the screen.

"Right here," I said, poking at my right boob and feeling kind of surreal. "It's probably just a cyct, right? I had one on my left breast about a year ago."

"Did this one show up on your last mammogram?" she asked as she slid the wand thing across my skin. I never noticed how odd that really felt until now.

"Nope. Just 'little Oswald the cyct' on the other side. Nothing over here."

"hmmm..."

What the hell does hmmm mean!

I twisted to see the screen. What the hell? The thing on the screen didn't look like Oswald at all. It wasn't all smooth and round. This thing had bumps and valleys on the edges. And what were those colors showing up?

"What are those?" I asked as the blue and red lines showed up on the screen.

"Well, here is the mass that is in your right breast. It's not a cyst. We can see that," she said as she pointed to the oddly shaped thing on the screen. "See how it's not smooth? If it was a cyst, it would be all smooth. This isn't. And the colors are blood vessels that the mass has grown. They help feed it."

Feed it! My brain was screaming, but my mouth won't make words. Why did it need fed? It was just going to disappear with time and I was going shopping and forget about it.

"I'm going to go show these images to the doctor and we'll be back to talk to you in just a bit. If you would, please just stay here on the exam table and I'll be right back," she said as she scooted out the door.

What the hell!?  This was supposed to just be a cyst and I was supposed to just go back to normal life. Why were we getting the doctor? Its just a cyst.

Wow... the clouds looked bright against the blue sky. Things just sort of ground to a halt. Are they telling me this is something? Are they saying what I think they are?

"Ms. Ferguson? Hi I'm doctor bla bla bla and bla bla bla..."

Things were kind of whirring around in my head but the words weren't making sense. She was talking, but she sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher. Wa wa wa wa... wont wa. Wont wa wa...

"Ms Ferguson? Are you OK?"

" Um, yeah...  uh no... uh... could you tell me that again? I kind of zoned for a moment."

"Sure," she said with a way to nice smile. "What I'm seeing on your imaging is definitely not a cyst. It is a solid mass. And I'm really concerned that with the development of a vascular system and the overall unusual shape of the mass we very well might be looking at a cancer." She reached over and took my hand.
"I'm going to send you for a biopsy and then we can find out exactly what we are looking at. But I want to be honest with you. This does look like a cancer in my opinion. It has all the things we look for. But it is small in comparison and that is a good thing. So lets get you an appointment set up for a biopsy and well see where we go from there. Will you be staying here at the VA or will you be having the test done outside our system?"

"umm... uh... yeah... here I guess..."

"OK... well I'll get you an appointment set up and we'll get things started. And Ms. Ferguson,"

:uh.. yeah?"

"Best of luck to you."

"umm uh.. wha... oh yeah, thanks..."

I didn't go shopping...

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Lesson #1
FEEL YOUR BOOBIES  - It's DAMN important!!! Do it! Do it now! 
feelyourboobies.com will show you how! They will even send you reminders! 

DO IT!