The Process Outline – June 1, 2015

As soon as I heard the results of my biopsy I was told to call my primary care provider (PCP).  I called on Friday afternoon and got an appointment on Monday morning.  The speed at which I got the appointment shocked me, is this really serious?

Before my appointment with Dr. Keller I had a dental cleaning that I had scheduled 6 months before. It was the first time I had to tell someone I had cancer.  It didn’t feel real, how could this be. I eat so well, I’m not overweight. I could workout more, but I’m not totally sedentary and I hit 10,000 steps most days.

As I was driving home from the dentist the Imaging Center called to check if I had scheduled my MRI. I didn’t know I needed an MRI. I pulled over to the side of the road to take the call. Apparently an MRI is scheduled after a positive biopsy result.  My MRI was scheduled for Tuesday June 2; tomorrow!  I remember thinking “shit just got real” and this must be what people talk about when they are diagnosed and go through a rollercoaster of appointments.

I really wasn’t expecting anything from the consult with regular doctor, Dr. Keller, but it was great.  I came away happy and hopeful.  I had only met Dr. Keller a couple of times, she became my Dr. by default when my chosen Dr. left the practice.  I instantly liked Dr. Keller more than my previous Dr.

She explained the process I’m going to go through, and the doctors I will need: Radiologist, Surgeon, Oncologist and Plastic Surgeon.

I told her my desire to have a bilateral mastectomy.  After my mum died of breast cancer I made the decision that if I was ever diagnosed, I would remove every piece of tissue. That is the only way I can believe I am doing the best for my survival. Removal of all breast tissue could ensure all cancer is removed and reduce chances of getting breast cancer again.  I didn’t even want to hear what my options were, lumpectomy was not an option for me so don’t bother wasting your time going through what is involved.  I had made my decision 20 years ago.

Dr. Keller said a lot of people choose to remove both breasts.  My first concern was payment.  I don’t have cancer in my left breast, what if the Doctors won’t remove it, and Health Insurance won’t pay for it.  Dr. Keller said, in most cases doctors and insurance will allow it.  Dr. Keller also suggested a Surgical Practice that has done a lot of mastectomies, Oncologists at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center and a Plastic Surgery Practice that that does a lot of breast reconstruction.

There are two types of Ductal Carcinoma, in situ where the cancer has stayed in the calcified ducts, and invasive.  Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) according to online information, sounds like a walk in the park.  Dr. Keller said that I would just have a bad year, and that most people keep their jobs and live a relatively normal life.  I would have bad days, but overall I would not feel too bad.  DCIS is detected at an early stage, and the calcified ducts are only cancerous about 25% of the time.  Very early DCIS detection is considered “stage zero” and has a 90% mortality rate.  I have never wanted cancer, but now I have a positive biopsy, I want it to be this cancer.

Invasive Ductal Carcinoma was not discussed.

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