Breast Thermography is a screening tool that identifies abnormal vascular patterns (for more on this…. “But are you sure, sure?”) using infrared technology to detect heat conserving tissue and blood vessels.
After my oncologist assured me that thermography is inaccurate because the FDA said so, I closed that window and opened a door. Namely, a door with a plaque reading “Physician Assistant”. Annie (last name removed because I don’t want to share her with anyone. Ever) considered the abnormal vascular patterns detected by the thermography reason enough to order an MRI (for more on this: “But are you sure, sure?”), which uncovered a 1cm nonspecific internal mammary lymph node that may (or may not) be reactive. Common causes of nonspecific reactive nodes include infections like a common cold, an autoimmune disorder and, cancer. But don’t worry, “I’m cured so it’s nothing”, promised my oncologist, but just to be sure, sure – let’s do another MRI in 3 months…
As promised. Same Bat Time. Same Bat Station. Same lymph node. Same size. I didn’t see that coming. But don’t worry… It’s probably nothing.
Neurosis** and I, walking hand in hand, went to see the general practitioner. Because I could only describe my symptoms as a “general malaise,” the next five months(ish) were filled with visits to various specialist, each requiring their own referral, their own consultation, their own tests, and their own brand of fun.
7/19 Pulmonary Function Test- normal … shocker.
8/08 Chest scan with contrast – nothing… shocker.
10/30– Routine Oncology visit: “take more calcium”
** (a mental and emotional disorder that … is accompanied by various physical, physiological, and mental disturbances such as psychosomatic symptoms, anxieties, or phobias)
I decided the only way to get something done, but for reals this time, was to go see the Wizard of Covered California, again.
“I want the breast implant removed,” I told Annie, and “I figure while the surgeon is in there removing stuff, he might find other stuff. But not the good kind of stuff like the stuff in the middle of an Oreo cookie. Unless it’s an evil Oreo. You come across those once in a while.
A consult with the plastic surgeon was scheduled for March 29th, a short four months away. Because the squeaky wheel gets the MRI, I called and called and called until the patient liaison called me back suggesting that “we” just go ahead with the MRI. Which We did. However, it is the plastic surgeon’s job to ONLY remove the implant (not to notice/ find/ remove anything suspicious- that’s the general surgeon’s job) so the plan for surgery looked something like this:
No thank you.
I’m all done here.
I’d like to order just one zipping and unzipping Happy Meal please and thankyouverymuch.
I’ve decided to skip ahead, right over the plastic surgeon’s head to general surgery. And wait.
We wait for the general surgeon’s scheduler to call to make an appointment.
We wait for our appointment with the general surgeon.
We wait for all the preliminary work-up to be completed.
We wait for the next appointment to review the preliminary work-up
and then we wait to be rolled down the ‘green mile’…. into the surgery room… where it begins again.
Just nine short months after beginning our adventure down the pink brick road, the MRI results were in. And now, here we are, back in the saddle again. Except I already know the drill. And the routine. What to expect when you’re expecting… less. But this time I’m passing on the obligatory Happy Boobday celebration with a “Tits Your Birthday!” cake.
Instead, It’ll be just me, the newest member of the Itty Bitty No Titty Committee. No righty. No lefty. And a few less lymph nodes eaten by the dryer monster.