Friday, September 4, 2009

Bear with me

I haven't been posting much of late mostly because of two things. One, a newfound obsession with the FarmVille app on Facebook. It's crazy addicting and a glorious time suck.

It was a welcome diversion from the other thing that's been slowing me down. I had a odd swelling in my left breast and was overdue for a mammogram so I used my year old appointment sheet and scheduled one. Flipped my OB out. I did things out of order. Oooh. Anyway, I was not overly surprised when the radiologist wanted to schedule an ultrasound of my left breast. The time in between the mammogram and the ultrasound wasn't terribly unpleasant. A little stressed but not too. Until my OB called me in for an exam and decided to refer me to a specialist. That was on a Friday. My appointment with the specialist was on Monday. Not a fun weekend.

The words Inflammatory Breast Cancer were tossed around. I didn't have a lump but the condition of the breast raised the possibility of this rare cancer. The idea of having cancer kept sneaking up on me all weekend. I didn't really think that it was likely but I wouldn't know for sure until further tests were done. Thank you, Pseudo for listening to my rambling concerns. You were a great help.

We did a biopsy on that Monday, though the specialist was fairly certain it wasn't cancerous. Indeed it was not.

What it turns out to be is still awaiting a definitive diagnosis but I am personally 99% certain I know what it is. I have Primary Lymphedema and I've talked about it before on this blog. What I believe to be happening is that my Lymphedema (LE) has progressed. It is no longer confined to my legs but has spread to my chest and specifically my left breast.

So what does this mean? Well, for starters it means I have to change some very basic things about my daily life. I can no longer wear a standard bra. I generally wear sports bras since I really detest underwires and most bras in general. They turn out to be possibly the worse thing I could have been using. I will have to buy special compression bras or garments. At this point, I have no idea if my insurance will cover it. I hope that once I get a diagnosis, they will. Blue Cross has been really great about the current garments my daughter and I have to wear for the LE in our legs.

That's one of things that has me down about this the most. My daughter is 19. She has had LE since she was about 12. It's already impacted her life choices. Now she has to face the very real possibility that at some point in her life, her LE may move into other areas, something I'm sure she never considered.

What's really depressing the most about this possible diagnosis is the impact it may have on my health. I am already having days when my breathing is affected. Today has been really unpleasant. My chest hurts. It's hurt all day. I've had a few moments were I've been short of breath. I know how devastating respiratory illness can be and how horribly it can impact a person's life. My parents both died of congestive heart failure brought on by chronic pulmonary disease. My Mom was a smoker. She had emphysema and Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease. She got to where she could hardly walk from one end of the house to the other without getting short of breath. It took her 10 long years to die. People talk about how horrible lung cancer is but from my point of view that's the way to go if you're a smoker. Make no mistake, smoking is going to kill you and as horrible a way to die as lung cancer is, it's at least quick. It's not a slow suffocation that gradually robs you of the will to live. And I have no desire to repeat their experience.


The entire possibility, the specter of that fate, is enough to drive me mad. I'm talking stark, raving bonkers.
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Anonymous said...

Damn, woman! I hope your insurance stops playing games and you are able to get the help you need.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, what a gut punch that is! DOUBLE gut punch with your daughter affected, too. I am so sorry!

You can't go stark, raving bonkers though. There are too many of those around already. Rant when you need to, but we need your sane voice to stay strong and true.

Anonymous said...

I'm with MerrilyMaryLee--hold on tight and know that there are folks out there wishing you all the best. (Even if you did go stark, raving bonkers you'd still be one hundred times saner than Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann!)

Chris said...

Feel better and we need your sane raving!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Will keep you in my thoughts. Take care and try not to think of the negative possibilities.