My BCT and sentinel node surgery

I had my BCT and sentinel node surgery January 16. Personally I wanted a mastectomy, but the surgeon kind of hesitated. I was told that the surgeon preferred BCT ( breast conservative treatment) because if the cancer comes back, I will have a better chance to be in an early stage. Without a breast there is not much space between your skin and the chest wall. But if you need a mastectomy that is your best option and I guess you will be followed closely by your doctors.

The day before…..

I had to take the MRI scan with contrast. I was really anxious about this procedure. Once upon a time during a MRI scan of caput I crawled out of the scanner and went home. This time I got some Oxazepam from my doctor to ease of my anxiety.
Maybe I could have manage without the Oksazepam? Because this scanner was not of the same type I have done before. The “tube” was in a way larger. And the best thing about this MRI scan was me laying flat on a table with my face down. I had no feeling of laying in a narrow «tube» constantly giving me panic attacks. In my head phones I was listening to the radio, which made me forget in a way where I was. There was a lot of fresh air, and I actually felt comfortable despite the circumstances, because this scan would decide whether I would need a chemotherapy or not before my surgery.
Luckily the radiologist could not see anything else but the tumor. The condition in the breast was nice and he could not see any metastasis  (spread) of the cancer cells to my lymph nodes. So this scan made my day and I felt really relieved. Based upon the MRI scan it was decided that I should have the surgery BCT with sentinel node. This was the moment I have been waiting for. This heavy burden of my tumor would finally come to an end after a long period of waiting and worrying. It has ruined my Christmas, my 50th birthday and the New years eve. Unhappy new year with breast cancer
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Technetium and scintigraphy

When the surgeon plan a BCT with sentinel node they install some technetium in your breast right under the mammilla the day before the surgery. It is a radioactive isotope in liquid form. After that I was to a scintigraphia to discover the radioactivity in the lymph nodes. They marked my skin with a marker pen, so that the surgeon could easily find them during the operation.

The surgery day

I was operated in an outpatient-surgery department early in the morning. At 13.30 the same day I was back home in my sofa. It took only 3 minutes before I was in T.I.V.A anesthesia ( total intravenous anesthesia) and that was great. No unnecessary chatting, straight to the point.  The next thing I remember I was in the postoperative department, and my husband sat in a chair beside my bed. I was really happy he was there with me.
Before the surgeon starts the procedure he or she inject a blue liquid in the breast. This liquid got many names, but I know it as Patent blau. This blue liquid and the technetium are “attracted” to each other and the blue liquid will follow the technetium to the lymph nodes. To find these radioactive lymph nodes the surgeon use a Geiger counter. My surgeon extirpated 5 radioactive lymph nodes in addition to my tumor. I was really radioactive, and according to my surgeon that was a good sign for me. If the lymph nodes are packed with cancer cells there is no space for the blue liquid and technetium. But I still have to wait for the pathologists to exam them and the conclusion will be revealed February 4.
 

Hope

In the mean time I lean on the clinical exam, MRI – and ultrasound scan that could not find any enlarged lymph nodes or metastasis. The prognosis are good and that most of us will be healed even when we got metastasis to the lymph nodes.
MY BCT and sentinel node surgery
 

Unhappy New year with breast cancer

Today I got the phone call from my surgeon and she confirmed the radiologist cancer suspicion. Do I have breast cancer?  
I would love to say happy new year, but instead it is a unhappy New year with breast cancer.

Feelings

My Christmas was destroyed after I felt a lump in my right breast Sunday December 8. I visited my doctor who was very busy with a fellow doctor and the new data program they had installed in the office. She examined my lump and the axillae and told me she would send me to a mammography. She ended my visit with: “I am not worried about your lump. Do you have Stripe/instant pay?”
After a few days I got the letter from the hospital where I could have my mammography January 9. Oh my God I thought, I can not wait that long. I thought I would be better knowing, but I was wrong. I visited my hospital and begged them for a mammography. My conclusion is no matter what I did would be right, so the Christmas would be destroyed anyway.
My emotions have been a living rollercoaster spiced with hope and fear, sickness, stomach pain, sleeping problems, panic attacks, anxiety and depression. You know the feelings you got when you are having tunnel sights as I call it. In some occasions the tunnel sight is spiced with blue lights. Like the one I normally get when I am about to faint. To reach out for help I was searching around on WordPress and discovered www.cancerbus.com. 
So thank you Ilene <3 You saved my Christmas. And now you know why I messed it up.

My tumor

My tumor was 18 mm on the ultrasound and the surgeon measured it to be approximately 2 cm x 2.5. For me that is a large lump, but not to the surgeon. She called it small and because of that she wants me to have a MRI the January 15. I must say I was relieved. What concerned me more is that I do not know yet how aggressive the cancer is, and whether it likes hormones or not. But I leave that thought for now, and celebrate my surgeons optimism.

Surgery

My surgery is January 16 and I must say I am looking forward to get the tumor out. Personally I want to get rid of the entire breast, even though my surgeon recommend a breast conservative treatment (BCT). After that we have to wait and see. I guess there will be chemotherapy, but I just have to walk one step at a time. In Norway the prognosis for breast cancer are really good, so I will hold on to that thought too.

Seek help

I found a lot of help in Ilene Kaminsky’s web site “The cancer bus”. After I wrote to her my feelings calmed down a bit, and my panic attacks were not constantly turned on. At least it felt that way. Ilene tip me about Karin Sieger’s podcast and web site. She is a psychotherapist who will help you with your emotions. We are many out there.
I have written a lot about my hobbies. But after I discovered the tumor I could not find any rest in any of my hobbies like knitting and crocheting, because I start to overthink. So knitting has not been of any help mentally.  Hand knitting is mental hygiene The best thing to disturb my thoughts are audiobooks, radio or people.
I will have many ups and downs so I must say it is a really unhappy New year with breast cancer.