The Boob Report – A Comedy of Terrors

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, all doctor appointments become a big deal especially since the drugs I’ve been on have side effects. It can be terrifying.

hot as hellLast week, I went to an OB/GYN appointment and a wrist and knee follow-up. I worried they all could go south, like in the Deep South of hell where it is as hot as hell since that’s what it is. After having several surgeries, I want to avoid any more of them at all cost. I scheduled a facial afterward, my first in years, as a reward.

OB?? Yeah. I got my period for the first time in three years on December 29th. My OB/GYN had told me to come right in if I had ANY kind of bleeding after ONE year. Full on sad, depressing PMS for two days should have been my first clue.

I’d been on Tamoxifen which can mess with hormones and is why my period probably stopped in the first place. I switched to Anastrozole this August since my oncologist believed I was post-menopausal and Tamoxifen has some cancer-causing side-affects. It caused night sweats and hot flashes.

After being off Tamoxifen for a week, the pit in my anxiety-filled stomach disappeared along with the other symptoms. To say I was stoked was an understatement. Anastrozole can cause osteoporosis. Not as bad, but still bad. Did you hear I broke my wrist?

The whoosh of bleeding and my “Oh, shit!” moment happened at night while binge-watching Homeland. I wasn’t about to go anywhere. Instead I did what anyone would do to calm her nerves.

I Googled it.

OH, MY GOD. WHAT A MISTAKE! I freaked and thought I would bleed out while sleeping that night. I almost called my family to say my goodbyes, but figured that would be way too dramatic and they would be annoyed if they worried all night and I survived.

When I was still alive the next day, I called my doctor. He and the phone nurse assured me as long as the bleeding wasn’t uncontrollable, I was probably okay.

It turned out to be a period, complete with a trip to the grocery where I was tempted to proudly tell people, “This box of tampons isn’t for my daughter. It’s for me. Haha!”

Humorous breast cancer storiesYeah, I know the bleeding could indicate a lot of bad things. But I had an endometrial biopsy last September. Don’t worry. It came back negative. Last week’s appointment was scheduled back then. My doctor was taking precautions. According to him, a biopsy is usually good for one year.

Doctors don’t fool around if cancer is on your permanent record. That is a very good thing. I like the pro-active approach.

During my follow up appointment, my doctor said he would be amazed if I started getting regular periods after all I’ve been through. You should have seen his face when I said, “I hope I’m getting my periods again. My wrinkles won’t come in as fast.” I must be in the minority…of one.

Did I mention that he rescued me during last summer’s biopsy?

Last summer I had a routine pap and pelvic. My OB-GYN Physician’s Assistant thought my uterus seemed larger when examining my womanly innard skinnards. She ordered a pelvic ultrasound.

Well, how do I describe this? Hmm. They put a condom on it.

Yep. It was interesting. I cracked jokes with the male nurse the whole time.

Did you know that medical professionals (and probably some horrified amateurs) have found hair and teeth growing in organs? I told him to swear not to tell me if I had anything weird in my uterus. I’d have nightmares that some kind of alien would gnaw through my gut.

I found out later, there was something growing in there. I had to come back in for a biopsy.

My calcified fibroids used walkers and seeing eye dogs and my uterus was three times the normal size. Fibroids are no big deal, but I saw red flags pop out of the physician assistant’s head at the thickened lining. She would perform my first endometrial biopsy. Knowing I have a tipped uterus, she said she’d be careful.

OH, MY GOD! IT HURT LIKE HELL! The PA thought that giving me shots to numb it up would be worse than the biopsy. WHY???? It felt like someone cut my cervix with a hedge trimmer. After squirming and crying while she stabbed me with the straw-like stabber thingy a zillion times, I told her, “I can’t take anymore of this. I’ve had my boobs cut off and some of my knee bone and cartilage amputated and they were less painful. I am out of here!” I shouted.

She begged me to stay and retrieved a doctor and a nurse. At first I thought the nurse came to put me in restraints, but she held my hand. I was surprised they didn’t give me a bullet to bite down on. The doctor shot me with Novocain or whatever miracle drug that numbed it up. I didn’t even feel the shots and didn’t know he had performed the biopsy until it was over.

By that point I was in shock and the terminology jetted its way from some other galaxy. “So I heard I have some asteroids in my universe,” I said, once it was over.

They cracked up laughing. “Yes,” he said, “You have two of them, but we are more concerned with your lining thickness.”

He asked me, “So what happened? Why wasn’t she (the PA) able to do the biopsy?”

“She really sucks at it.” I meant it.

They laughed. Later, I cared about hurting her feelings, but I was really pissed at the time.

After all that, you can imagine how I felt about having another biopsy. C’mon guys. It’s a biopsy, which had all its own connotations. I really just cared about the pain. This time, I booked the doctor with the gentle hands.

While driving to the appointment, I felt like a dog going to the vet. Not my dog. Roxy only remembers the biscuits and can’t wait to go inside for her shots. My legs shook while they were in the stirrups. I broke out in a cold sweat. But just like last time, I didn’t feel a thing.

I’m not really worried about the results. If they come back positive, it is just the start of something since I tested negative a few months ago. I can get rid of my uterus. I don’t need it for anything.

The good news? He said my uterus hadn’t grown and may have shrunk a little and my lining seemed a lot thinner.

“Yeah, because I got my period,” I said in a sassy tone.

He was skeptical, but ordered a menopause test even though my blood chemistry may be screwed up from the anti-cancer drug.

I told my husband, Danny, that if I keep getting my period, I might end up in medical journals. I imagined buying tampons for myself in my nineties and bragging at the check stand.

“They would want to impregnate you, so you can be the oldest woman to give birth,” said Danny. “I would have to reverse my vasectomy.”

I groaned. “I have nightmares all the time about being pregnant. That is never going to happen again.”

 

My broken wrist and knee follow-up was the next day. Being on a drug that is supposed to mess with my bones made me nervous. My orthopedic surgeon had mentioned the worst-case scenario where the bone floats and doesn’t heal. Danny and many of my friends had wrist surgery. It’s funny how all the horror stories arise when the possibility exists.

During the appointment, the radiologist interrupted and wanted a word outside. *gulp* She was concerned about the “dissolved bone” at the fracture line, but my orthopod assured me it was healing well. Three more weeks and I am free to be WILD. The exact day of wildness? February 17th!

My surgeon gave me a shot of steroids hoping my knee’s tissue would calm down and stop squeaking and grinding. I’m still waiting for it to shut up.

 

Then I went to my facial at Alchemy Face Bar. After all of the stressing out, I looked forward to regaining the same youthful appearance I had in my twenties.

My new esthetician, Laura, asked if I had any concerns. I told her I had SIS.

She scrutinized my face and asked, “Cysts?”

“No. SIS.”

She looked closer and said, “I don’t see any cysts.”

“SIS,” I said, exaggerating the S’s, hoping I wouldn’t spit on her. “Shitty Irish Skin.”

I couldn’t believe she hadn’t heard that one since she is in the business.

After a very relaxing appointment including a nirvanic facial massage, I held back telling her about the ancient fibroids living inside my youthful uterus or that I was still getting my period and why I want to keep it that way. I didn’t tell her about my squeaky, grinding knee, but I did tell her about the metal plate inside it because she asked.

Laura said my skin was in great shape, so I told her, “Now that I look like I’m in my twenties, I’m heading to downtown Denver to go clubbing.” I danced to my car. Okay. I’m on doctor’s orders to be careful, but I danced in my head.

The weight of hellish worry has lifted. I still haven’t received the results from my tests, but no news is good news. So far, no more surgeries. I survived January with my body and sense of humor in tact. My six-month cancer checkup is coming up in two weeks. Bring it on February.

2016 is looking up!

UPDATE: The biopsy came back negative. YAY! And the drug swap got resulted in a final period. Oh, well. I’m stocked up for everyone else with a younger uterus. HA!

How do you face adversity? Do you hate going to doctor appointments? When was your last facial?

95 thoughts on “The Boob Report – A Comedy of Terrors

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      1. I hate when people use words like coping mechanism. You have a good attitude. Thanks for being a wonderful example of laughter and light!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I hate that too! I choose to laugh off adversity and make fun of myself along the way. And to be honest, I give myself so much material, so it’s easy to do. Ha! I’ve already written 16 Boob Reports about my breast cancer adventure. Most were pretty funny. I thought the whole experience was pretty ridiculous especially since I had lived a healthy and green life.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. You really are Wonder Woman without the Invisible Plane and the Amazonian relatives, Susie.
    (Though I’m guessing the outfit may be somewhere in your closet. For special occasions, of course.)

    Seriously though, you’re a true survivor, teacher, and all -around remarkable woman.
    Thank you for being a part of my life – if only in virtual form.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Hook! I’m so glad you’re in my life too. 🙂
      I should get one of those costumes. Danny would LOVE it!
      I’m just very grateful to be alive. And that I found a doctor who can perform biopsies without a hedge trimmer. Ha!

      Like

    1. Right? Little did I know how Wild my Ride would be when I started this blog. I started writing Boob Reports in 2013 to chronicle that crazy adventure with humor. I hope February is more than lovely too! So far, so good. Thanks, Lynn!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a series of events! Nothing worse than getting poked and prodded by medicos. I hope that you’re next wild ride is more of an outdoorsy one than an examination table one! Stay healthy, okay?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Last week was ridiculous, but having it behind me is such a HUGE relief!
      That’s the plan! I would love to get outdoors and had an idea to tuck my arm into my jacket. I should wear a wrist guard on my right hand, a helmet and pads, just in case….Ha!
      Thanks, Ally!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It really is a roller coaster of emotions when you are so hooked into medical appointments and specialists. After my breast cancer at the age of 35, I remember the pure joy I felt when I got my first period a year+ later. Everyone thought I was crazy, but in my head I felt like I had been un-neutered. I also thought that there would still be hope for having children. I was wrong but, it sure did make me happy thinking it was a possibility.

    There was always so much anxiety built up for every check up. Every time I had to go for my cancer checkups I would come back to the office with some incredible pastries from a one of place near the hospital, to share with my co-workers if things went well. We never had to talk about it and they didn’t have to ask any questions if I showed up with the pastries. It was a ritual. As time went on and I made it to the 10 year mark with no new incidents I was “discharged” from my Oncologist. It was terrifying! I asked him why he would do this? According to Canadian law, “after 10 years clear the doctors are required to discharge you and concentrate on sick people”. I didn’t realize how much it had meant to me to come there and have that man tell me I was OK, there was nothing to worry about and that I was going to live.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WOW! Your comment gave me shivers. I felt neutered too. Tamoxifen took everything away. I hope I don’t have to go back on it, but given my broken wrist, we’ll see. I’m anxious to get the menopause report. That may be a factor. I would think if they take me off all my meds, I’ll feel like I’m on a trapeze without a net. I will go on a strict diet to avoid spiking my estrogen. I already watch everything that I eat.
      You are more than a survivor. You are a THRIVER! I One thing I heard was if you’re stage 1 and five years out there’s almost no risk for recurrence. I would expect that if I make it without any problems, I won’t go in every six months. I’m almost halfway there. I do feel better having those blood tests and can imagine the withdrawal of security.
      When I went through rehab after knee surgery, I found it depressing not to go in to hear how well I was doing. It was excellent mental therapy for me.
      Thanks so much for your inspiring comment! YOU GO GIRL!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I like to think I’m in the clear after all this time. Unfortunately, my Mom passed from breast cancer at the age of 42 and one of my older sisters had it a few years after me so we still keep an eye on things just for our own peace of mind.
        You are the Queen of inspiration!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah ha so that’s the secret of your resilience Susi. Sis, the equivalent to growing a pair. I admit to smiling a little about the unexpected period. It’s been nearly ten years since my friend and I parted company. Not that I miss her really. But like Ms Silk Purse infers there is an element of feeling neutered.

    Anyhoos am hoping everything will stay normal, as it can be for you. Damn nuisance about the wrist. But, as you know, osteo also gnaws as post meno women also. Hence my prolapsed spine.

    Much love Susie.

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    1. Bummer about your spine! My orthopod said anyone whose feet lifted into the air would break the wrist fallen on. My oncologist will have to take that into consideration. I haven’t been on Anastrozole very long, BUT you never know. I’m eating tons of food with calcium, just in case!
      I love your correlation of humor and being ballsy. I have gone balls to the wall in handling all of this crapolla! It’s just how my brain works.
      Wow. Ten years with no cramps, pads or tampons??? That’s the fantastic part! I have no idea if I’ll get another. At least I won’t freak this time. 🙂
      Thanks Talia! And much love to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sound like you’ve really been through the ringer. Yikes! I’ve had PAs from hell before too. I didn’t mind at all hurting their feelings. Hope this year continues to look up!

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  6. I like to face adversity with a rum and Coke. With lime. Bacardi gold. Thanks for reminding me that I need to get a facial. I’ve never had one, but it sound like nirvana! Yes, medical people who haven’t got their technique down or who haven’t got the “no pain” thing down, suck. I once had a guy doing a cortisone shot in my back. I told him the one position that caused me excruciating pain is lying down flat. So how do they position me? Flat on my stomach. Oh yeah, they put this skinny little pillow under my stomach to prop me up a bit. What a joke. I flattened it the second I put weight on it. In the middle of his injecting the cortisone, I felt this pain I can only describe as prehistoric. I’ve never felt anything like it before, or since. My vision started to become a tunnel, and all of a sudden, the smoking and joking going on between Dr. Smoking and Joking Who Prefers Chatting Up the Nurses, and the nurses, got really quiet and serious. I think my BP must have nose dived or something. They finished up in a most professional manor, and I will never, as long as I live, go back there or recommend them to anyone I know. I hope your results show no ugly surprises.

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    1. THAT SOUNDS HORRIFIC! Prehistoric pain is nothing to fool around with and you warned them! What were they thinking?
      I remember when my daughter went through her first full-blown migraine and she presented with stroke-like symptoms. Scared the hell out of us. She went through that kind of pain with the spinal tap. She cried for hours afterward, once she snapped out of it. Took years off my life.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “Asteroids in my universe”? Sounds like this day a few years ago when my dad told me there was a lump of fur on his bed and I wanted to say, “I bet I can pet that lump and make it purr”, only I said, “I bet I can purr that lump and make it pet.” xD

    You are a brave little toaster. Went to the doc last Monday and the MA said my insurance wanted a look at my ladyparts. I didn’t tell her, but I thought, “I don’t think [my medicaid provider] has the five million required to convince me to do that!” As I have kept myself to myself (no tampons, toys or men), ’tis quite difficult for them to…I don’t know why I want to say “hold an interview down there”! Maybe it’s you rubbing off on me! *cackle* (My grandmother claimed they’ll revoke my insurance if I refuse a physical and I had to explain that physicals are everything BUT that–the two are just usually done together.)

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    1. Funny how our brains mix up our words. I bet you and your dad had a giggle over it!
      I and understand your trepidation. I have experience tampons and sex and still hate going to the OB. I may get over it now that I have Dr. Gentle Hands.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ok, I’ve never heard of SIS. I mean I know life with Irish skin–last year I had a huge Franken scar stitch on my forehead from basal cell, but haha never heard that! Thanks for keeping in the know, Susie. And as always I love your attitude about life. Here’s to good health!

    Like

    1. *clink* Here’s to it, alright!
      My sister heard about SIS from a dermatologist. No lie! I’m glad you caught your basal cell. Skin cancer is nothing to fool around with. Irish girls like us have to keep on top of our SIS!
      Thanks, Coleen! Always great to “see” you!

      Like

  9. Wow! I knew there was a reason I never became a gynecologist. Well, that and my college grades were pathetic. Never knew so many things could go wrong down there. You are a trooper and it’s marvelous how you use wit to counter the anxieties you are dealing with now. I so hope all the news is good henceforth.

    On the plus side, after what you been through, if you’re ever abducted my aliens, the probing will be a cakewalk.

    Keep the faith, Susie!

    Like

    1. Hahahaahahaha! Still laughing. Those aliens would kick me out of their ship at their next stop. Ha!
      Yep. I’m looking forward to great results. I’m really not worried.
      I can’t imagine being a gynecologist or a proctologist for similar reasons. Ewww! And yet everyone has their calling. I’m glad I finally met Dr. Gentle Hands. He is very good at what he does.
      Thanks, Al!

      Like

  10. Glad to hear you survived — especially with your sense of humor intact. I know when that goes, well, all is lost — even if usually only for a day or so.

    Do I hate doctors’ appointments? God yes. Like you, I have issues. So my doctors are fascinated-by-me-but-scared-of-me. There are so many things that can go wrong — chron’s causes a zillion different complications any of which need to be seen by a different specialist who orders a minimum of 2 tests each. I could, should I desire, spend every day having medical tests. Yeah. Right. Ain’t gonna happen!

    I’ve been working on a post about why folks feel the need to tell you, right before you’re having surgery, all their horror stories. Ummm, guys????????????????????? This is not helpful!

    Like

    1. Stupid liability. My daughter met with a orthodontist and baled when he started in on all the risks involved with wisdom teeth removal. There’s never a good time. Funny thing. My OB rarely says anything related to cancer. That is so nice.
      So sorry to hear you have Crohns. What a bummer. I bet you are kicking its ass, right? No pun intended. If anyone could, it would be you!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This getting older sucks and makes medical appointments a little dreadful at times. I am alive though as well as healthy and happy, so cannot complain too loudly. I told my dermatologist what is up with the WASC – weird arse skin crap – not only growing a mustache but a beard (thanks hormones), skin tags, wrinkly, dropping, sagging, etc. I would love to get hair lasered, but a little expensive.

    You survived and with your humor intact – ha! – you probably use humor like I do when stuff is going south 🙂

    Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂 Here’s to Wild Riding Come mid-February!!!

    Like

  12. Always a worry these health things. I’m so glad you have a sense of humor about them. I have so many doctor visits I don’t even think about it anymore. The only one that really got me was a bone marrow biopsy. That had the doc use a corkscrew like thingy to bore a hole in my hip and take out a plug of marrow. No painkillers allowed. When he was finished I told him I would have confessed to anything if he had asked. He didn’t get the joke.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohhhhhhhhhh……….. That sounds nasty! My daughter had a spinal tap and was up crying for hours. It was so painful.
      I just got disgusted and angry. A rare emotional combo for me! I don’t think I’ll have to go through it again. I hope you don’t either!
      Doctors rarely get my jokes… 🙂
      Thanks, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You have the most unusual stories. I had tons of problems until I had my uterus removed (I had fibroid tumors ammased to the size of a soccer ball). That was the smartest thing I ever did. I looked perpetually pregnant. Now, the whole menopause thing is a little tricky because I have symptoms but not really. Usually the periods stopping is a clue. How do I know? Besides wanting to kill people, crying uncontrollably, hot flashes, night sweats, horrible hair loss, eye sight changing every day, inability to sleep or concentrate, memory loss, how does one truly know?

    I wish you all the best medically in the future.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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    1. Thanks so much, Patricia! It is hard to go through. The Tamoxifen mimicked all of the symptoms or threw my body into that state. A week after I went off it, I felt like a new person. I’d hate to go through that again. We’ll see what my doc says in February. By then I should have my results. They may not be very indicative of anything unless “the measurement is really low.” whatever that means! I would love to go back to the days of a couple appointments a year.
      I wish you all the best of everything too! Thanks!

      Like

      1. Fingers crossed for you. I think the “measurement being low” has to do with your hormone levels. That’s how my doctor referred to mine when I was tested. Mine were “not unusually low,” so I wasn’t prescribed any medication, which I’m glad for.

        Keep us posted.

        Patricia

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  14. That biopsy was brutal, and there’s just no excuse for pain! They have ways to take care of that, and I hope going forward you will just insist they figure it out! It’s enough to go through the procedures and attend to the fear and concerns that go with the “what ifs.” so you just don’t need actual pain! I’m just a bit appalled on your behalf! You have a tremendous attitude, Susie. Your positive approach and patience in waiting is admirable. I’ll be waiting for the good report!

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    1. I’m still waiting for the report! Ha! I promise to call tomorrow. I have to believe it’s negative or it would have been a priority. It was brutal and I hope to never go through anything like that again. The anticipation can be worse than the appointment! I know many who have the same trepidation with dentists.
      Thanks so much, Debra!

      Like

  15. Oh my goodness, I just don’t know what to say about all that. I squirmed my way through most of it, I’m still squirming now! I know it’s a cliche, but your positive attitude is most definitely what keeps you going through it all. Nothing knocks Susie down for long!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is true! I can be knocked down like anyone, but I always stand back up again. I still haven’t heard a word. I’ll call tomorrow.
      Thanks so much, Vanessa-Jane! I am grateful to have an optimistic soul. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t see the bright side…

      Like

  16. After living through cancer, you dread the appointments, yet you want them. (I liked the idea of taking pastries as an announcement for work. Clever and considerate) People don’t realize that yes, the drugs and treatment are good, but they wreck and upset so much. With age as well as treatment, it’s good to re-evaluate diet. (Oh for the days when things were simple and done without a thought).
    Some docs are better than others – it’s good to speak up and change if necessary – Glad you found someone skilled.
    Glad meds have been adjusted and you are feeling much improved. That’s exciting!
    Get outside when you can, think you nature calls and heals you.
    Cheers for the wild child!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much, Phil! I have been limited with my broken wrist, but defied my doctor yesterday and went outside and hiked for the first time in a month. One week and a half to go…
      I do watch what I eat and will be interested in what the oncologist thinks of all of this. I hope I don’t have to go back on the Tamoxifen. It gave me such an ache in my gut like feeling guilty or sad about something, but not knowing the source. Drove me nuts!
      Fingers crossed. I’m calling them tomorrow. It’s been nearly two weeks!

      Liked by 1 person

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