Biopsy, the results, by Barbara Edwards

Barbara Edwards writing in my office
Barbara Edwards writing in my office

Remind me to never ever have another test on Thursday. The results come back in two days or the next business day which happens to be Monday not Saturday.

I told myself I was fine. The test itself was stressful, but not painful. The ace bandage binding stayed on for two days to keep the swelling at a minimum and to hold the ice packs in place. The waterproof patch came off in my third shower.  My breast ached where the clamp was tightened.

To my surprise I didn’t get black and blue, just a mustard yellow blotch.

I denied being anxious, but I slept ten hours that night, napped and slept another ten hours the following night. Fatigue is how I respond to worry.

Then last night I tossed and turned.

My blog received a bunch of encouraging comments with hugs and prayers I could feel across the cyberspace. Thanks again to all of you.

Today I’m waiting. I wish they’d call in the morning. Six AM would have been acceptable.

I decided to tell you how I’m feeling in the interim.

Finally at 3:30 I called the radiology department and got a voice message, then again at 4:00 PM. No one returned my call and I figured ‘no news is good news.’

Today is Tuesday and they called when I walked into the store this morning.

The girl was so nice, calm voice and attitude. The cells were not cancerous. My heart flipped before she added —but—

The surrounding cells are atypical. I’ll be referred to a breast surgeon since the treatment recommended is removal.  If it turns out to be wider spread, maybe a mastectomy.

So my journey continues.

I have an appointment with a breast surgeon in ten days. I am nauseous with anxiety.

Let me rephrase that. I am anxious, but not panicked. I have had so many friends offer their prayers and support I know I’m not alone. And I appreciate each and every one of you.

I can also add that I am not agonizing over the possibility of losing a breast. If it’s necessary then so be it.

Love, Barbara

If you’re interested in my writing life, visit my website http://www.barbaraedwards.net

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Author: Barbara Edwards

Riveting Romance with an Edge

49 thoughts on “Biopsy, the results, by Barbara Edwards”

  1. My husband likes to say that the longest time in the world is waiting time! It’s a few days since you posted this so fingers crossed you’re not doing it too tough. Try your best not to worry until you have some definite news to worry about. We are all thinking of you.

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  2. Hi Barbara, I don’t know what they mean by atypical cells. I can imagine your worry and will continue praying for you. My mother had a breast removed and never worried about cancer after that, no chemo, no radiation.

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  3. You have all my prayers and thoughts right now. I am sending you the biggest, tightest, and most loving, virtual hug I can. Be strong and I hope that the old adage about not getting more then you can handle, kicks in big time. My heart goes out to you.

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  4. Also sending you hugs, Barbara. Although atypical isn’t good news, and worrisome, it’s still better than cancer for certain. I pray widening the tissue removal will take care of the matter. If it is something more, you surely caught it at the earliest possible stage. My mom is awaiting results of her biopsy on Friday.

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  5. Barbara, I am so sorry the results were not a flat out: negative or benign. As a mammographer and breast cancer survivor, I understand the anxiety and stress.

    The results of your biopsy are relatively good. So to speak. The cells did not come back as an invasive carcinoma, neoplasm, lobular carcinoma or ductcal carcinoma–all of which are cancer, all of which require differing degrees of treatment. Did any one mention DCIS? Or LCIS? DCIS is ductal carcinoma in situ. It means there are cancer cells in the ducts that are still contained and have not spread beyond their cellular borders. To relieve patient anxiety, some doctors will tell their patients that it’s not really cancer. Bull Shit. Carcinoma is cancer. Period. BUT, DCIS is the earliest, most treatable form of breast cancer and often, once it is removed from the breast (proven by a wider excisional biopsy) no other treatment is necessary. However, if you have extensive and/or scattered DCIS throughout the breast (usually proven or disproven on a breast MRI) a mastectomy is recommended.

    LCIS is lobular carcinoma in situ–early cancer cells confined or contained in one breast lobule. This is rare and although not as “good” (for lack of a better word) as having DCIS, it is still early, early stage cancer either a stage 0 or stage one.

    I don’t have access to your files and I don’t know what your doctor told you, but it almost sounds as if your results came back as Atypical ductal hyperplasia. The results require a wider excisional biopsy because basically, the pathology is abnormal but inconclusive. I’ve assisted the radiologist with the follow up needle localizations prior to the wider excisional biopsy and more than 90% of the time, the results come back normal with no additional abnormal cells. Follow up treatment at that point would be a succession of 6 month mammograms on the affected side for two years.

    However, there are cases where the wider excisional biopsy does lead to a diagnosis of either ductal carinoma in situ or invasive ductal carcinoma. For more information, here is a link: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/406871

    I pray the results come back negative. If they do not, there are other treatments besides total mastectomy depending on the grade of tumor and HER2 and hormonal receptor results. In most cases, lumpectomy + radiation is just as effective as mastectomy + radiation.

    If you have any questions or just want a shoulder to cry on, you can email me directly at lillygayle@gmail.com. I’ve been a mammographer (this second time around) for 7 years. And I am a 5 year breast cancer survivor.

    Keep a positive attitude and remember, breast cancer is NOT a death sentence and the odds of it NOT being cancer are in your favor.

    Praying for you!

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    1. Wow, what an informative post. I came by to offer love support and prayer but also have to pause and thank Lillygayle for this info. It will help others as well as Barbara.

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  6. Barbara, like all the others who have commented, I’m also sending you prayers and hugs. You’ve gotten some good advice from people who have gone through the same kind of things. That’s always helpful. Perhaps even more helpful is the fact that you yourself are a strong, intelligent woman who has probably already gone through a great deal in her life and has managed to come through it all with grace, humor and the knowledge that you can survive so many things that at first seemed insurmountable. The waiting and worry will be another thing that you will go through and handily survive as will the procedure and whatever else you decide to do if the results determine that more action has to be taken. As Mac said, whatever you decide to do is the right thing to do for yourself. I’ll be thinking about you and praying hard that everything goes well for you and your family.

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  7. Barbara, My mother always said the waiting is the worst. So many positive thoughts here, I don’t know what else to add. Only that the hugs and prayers are coming your way. Just remember your health is more important than anything. Do whatever you have to do to preserve it.

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  8. So many thoughts race through my head. I’m sending positive ones to you. I can relate with the wait and uncertainty. Know in your heart that whatever decision you make is the best one. You are serving as an example to so many by putting this public. I wish you all the best and as I’ve shared before, I’m always here if you need a shoulder to vent upon! Not cry…Anger is so much more fun!

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  9. Oh dear, I am sorry you will have to go through more worry and waiting to see the surgeon to discuss your options. I hope by saying the cells weren’t cancerous they meant they won’t spread which I guess is the good news. Wishing you all the best with it all and hoping you get the required treatment quickly. Hugs, thoughts and prayers x

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  10. Barbara,
    It’s best to focus on what’s the good news. You don’t have cancer, and that’s the main thing. It’s a shame they they recommend a mastectomy anyway. I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry, but any surgery is scary. Hugs and prayers!

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  11. Good morning, Barbara. Hugs to you. Everyone has their own feelings about mastectomy, and I wouldn’t presume to be an expert. I can only tell you, as a survivor and a woman who chose double mastectomy to battle stage III breast cancer, your current and future health should be your first consideration. Do what you need to do to come out on the other side of this with the best chance for a healthy life. Whatever you choose is right for you, just go into it knowing there are many options to deal with the loss of a breast. In the meantime, my advice is to not borrow trouble. Take things one day at a time, and give yourself permission think positively. You’re entitled.

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  12. Hugs, Barbara. Cancer is terrifying and I know exactly how you feel. It is the waiting that is the hardest part. You do have a lot of people who care and we all stick together at times like this. I had uterine cancer, but luckily for me all the cancer came out with the uterus. I will keep positive thoughts along with you that it will be an easy fix. Keep the positive attitude. It’s not easy, but it will help get through the doggone waiting time.

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  13. I don’t see how you can fail to be anxious or afraid. Cancer is so insidious! Glad to hear the mostly positive results and that you have people like Patty Yager Delagrange who can assure you that the future isn’t grim. Best of luck.

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  14. I can so relate, Barbara. In 2006 I got a letter in the mail from the mammography department saying it looked suspicious. I called all over the place and finally found my doctor who told me I had to have a biopsy. I had to wait to have the biopsy, wait for the results which turned out to be DCIS then wait to see a surgeon then wait to have (my decision) a mastectomy so I wouldn’t have to ever worry about that breast again. And that entire time was the worst in my entire life. I can’t eat or function when I’m anxious and worried. I wish you luck with your decision. Let me tell you having a mastectomy, for me, was not the biggest deal in the world which is what I initially thought it would be. I decided afterward to have reconstructive surgery on both breasts and it’s been seven years and I’m fine. I’ll be thinking about you.

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