Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stay tuned...

OK, here's a better update, since I'm no longer on my cell phone. :-)

This morning, I went to see my primary care physician who agreed that 6 months, especially given my family history, is too long to wait. He did, however reassure me of two things: (A) Doctor K's (the specialist's) notes indicated that this something had no tell-tale signs of malignancy, and (B) given Dr. K's experience, his reluctance to go for a biopsy means that he really, really thought he could not reach this thing without poking around blindly.

Which makes me happy I didn't go for option 2 right away (tagging the site via biopsy needle), since I'd probably have been turned into a pincushion looking for this thing.

Dr. R (my primary care physician) suggested an MRI might be able to give Dr. K some more information, but wanted to chat with Dr. K first to see if he had any other ideas. I should be getting a phone call back either today or tomorrow.

So, I'm pretty upbeat about it all right now. Things are moving forward, and I'm happy with the way things are going. More info to come, I'm sure, but until then, onward and upward... :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Questions, part 2

I have since determined that waiting is not for me. I have never been more scatterbrained and distracted during day-to-day activities, and at night, without any other distractions, my stress level was through the roof. I am apparently too much of a control freak to leave something completely unanswered for 6 months, especially when the implications are a bit more serious than usual.

So, I've managed to score an appointment with my doctor tomorrow (hooray for cancellations!) and I'll push to see what some other options are.

Thanks to everyone for their comments and well-wishes (here on the blog and elsewhere). I'll post an update once we figure out what the next step is.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Questions and... more questions.

I'm one of those people who likes solving problems. Especially difficult ones. It feels good to wrestle with an issue, then finally have that "aha!" moment of triumph at the end. Unanswerable questions are fun riddles, but I don't like them in my life.

And life, of course, doesn't really care what I like. C'est la vie, of course. Har har har...

Last September, I went in for a routine mammogram (an early routine due to my mom's experience with breast cancer). The results indicated something out of the ordinary on my right side: a tiny, round blip on the x-ray film. They scheduled a follow-up ultrasound to try to figure out what it was (although they guessed it was probably a cyst). The next week, I went for the ultrasound and spent about 15-20 minutes while the technician looked for her target. Results: inconclusive. She couldn't find it. The technician recommended that I come back in 6 months for a follow-up mammogram and we'd start over then. The open-endedness of it all nagged at me, but I went home, planning to make another appointment for March.

Fast forward to Christmas, explaining the above story to my mom over a pot of chocolate fondue (mmm... fondue...). I was strongly encouraged to schedule it for three months instead, given that her cancer had progressed nearly to the lymph nodes before it could have been detected through a self-exam. The nagging part of my brain got quite a bit louder after that, and I finally called my doctor's office in January to ask his opinion of the whole situation. A week later, I received a phone call back from his office, referring me to a specialist. This wasn't exactly the response I was expecting (I figured I'd get sent back for another image to be taken). I was happy they were actively discussing the issue, but it also made me a bit nervous to think it's gotten this far.

Today was my appointment with the specialist, who also, oddly enough, happened to be the same doctor who removed my gall bladder in '97. I know this guy. Yay! He performed a follow-up ultrasound in his office and explained exactly what he was looking for, where it should be, etc.

The good news: He found it.
The bad news: It's not a cyst.
The questionable news: He's not sure what it is.

Other good news: Whatever this something is, it hasn't grown or changed shape since the initial mammogram in September. It's pretty small (1/4 inch in diameter), it's virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the tissue around it (which probably made it so hard to spot during the first ultrasound), and it doesn't look like anything problematic.

Other bad news: Whatever this something is, its size and position (pretty far back along the wall of the chest) make it very difficult to target. He doesn't want to biopsy it based on the ultrasound, because he's afraid he won't hit it.

The options:
  1. Wait 6 months and follow up with his office directly.
  2. "Tag" the spot where he thinks the something is by injecting a small metal tag (like a tiny wire) into the site, and comparing with a mammogram to see if he got the right location. The upside of this: we'd know (eventually) where this thing is. The downsides: it could take a while to get it, and the wire could potentially get in the way of a biopsy. It also seemed like a bone he was throwing me if I absolutely positively wanted him to do something now.

I voted for option 1. Option 2 seemed more like the "make the patient feel better" option, rather than doing anything really productive. Since this thing hadn't changed in three months, I was less worried about any immediate danger, and decided not to play hide-and-seek with a biopsy needle.

So I'm waiting... in July I get the next series of mammograms, and in August I get seen by the doctor again. The idea is to see if it's changed any, and to make any determinations from there. He's trying to solve this problem, himself, so he doesn't want to let this go. I can relate to that, in more ways than one right now.

So... I'm not really sure what I'm trying to get out of posting this. I think I just needed to say it, put it behind me and move on for the next 6 months. I've got a life to live, a great family, kids to play with, friends to laugh with, races to run and Spinning classes to teach. I don't have time to worry about something I can't do anything about right now.

Thanks for bearing with me, though. :-)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Told you I'd do it again!

Snowy run, originally uploaded by Jen Nolan.

I've realized that without goals (races, basically), my training goes nowhere. I've got a series of races planned (the Wild Rover series, see prior posts), but after that, not much.

So, I decided to sign up for Boston's Run to Remember, not as part of the 5-mile run, but for the half-marathon. The race is Memorial Day weekend, so I have even more time to train this time around. The course is nice, too, taking you down the Charles River, and pretty flat, so I'll probably enjoy it even more than the Manchester one.

So I printed out my half-marathon training plan today and went for my first run towards my next half. It was snowy, but I didn't hit the gym this morning (and didn't want to go at night). I figured the roads would be melting by lunchtime, and if they weren't, I could always turn around and go back.

It was beautiful. Warm enough for a long-sleeved shirt and vest... the roads were wet and slushy, but not slippery except for one spot near my turnaround. Scenery was pretty, so I had to stop and take a picture. :-)

Oh, and a little plug for RunKeeper (app for the iPhone): Gives you a nice map of your route while you use the phone as your GPS. :-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

A tad nippy this morning...

Yup. That's a "-" in front of that "18.7". Beach weather, anyone?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Run the Wild Rover Series!

Crosspost from my other blog

Looks like fun, with some good swag. And now I have a reason to drag myself out to run.

Now to decide if I want to go out in the ungodly wind chill today (when I forgot my fuzzy headband to keep my ears warm). Hmmm...

(Update: 15 degrees, 16-20 mph winds, wind chill of -1... I think I'll just stick with the treadmill until this passes)