Saturday, February 5, 2011

Runners Don't Have Any

On Friday Jan 7th I went for a routine every-3-month-scheduled-breast-cancer-in-remission follow up. A mammogram this time.

Nurse: We'll do the left only. 
Me: Why?
Nurse: Because the healthy one (the right) gets checked only once a year.
Me: I want it for both.
Nurse: That's OK but you need to sign a waiver for billing purposes.
Me: I'll sign.

Exam done. Wait until the doctor sees the pictures. Preoccupation Level = 0.

Nurse: We need to take a magnified picture.
Me: Why?
Nurse: Doctor wants to see something with more detail.
Me: Which one? 
Nurse: The right one.
Me: Oh, the one that we were not going to see at all?

Magnified picture taken. Wait until the doctor sees the pictures. Preoccupation Level = 3.

Doctor: I can spot calcifications, and as you had them in the breast that had cancer, we need to be conservative. I'd like to do a biopsy. 
Me: OK, can it be done today?
Doctor: Yes, right away.

Biopsy done. Wait until Mon or Tue for the results. Preoccupation Level  = 5.

On Tuesday 11th I went to the doctor's office to find out the good news that I don't have cancer. The semi-bad news is that I have atypical lobular hyperplasia (i.e.: pre-cancerous cells). In short, I need to coordinate with my oncologist and the surgeon for the removal.  I go immediately to my oncologist office, who orders an MRI, contacts the surgeon, and is puzzled by the findings. With my current treatment this should not be happening. He had the biopsy report but didn't have the pictures in hand so he didn't know where the spot(s) was/were. As it's late in the afternoon, the Imaging office has already closed. We have to wait until next day. He tells me that if the spot is localized, an excision would do it. If there are many spots, a mastectomy is the recommended action. My Preoccupation Level  is now elevated to 8.

On Wed 12th my oncologist calls me and gives me great news. It's localized. Preoccupation Level  goes down to 3. MRI will follow on Thu, and with all the results we'll meet the surgeon on Mon 17th.

The appointment with the surgeon went really well. After 75 minutes of examining, evaluating, breast cancer 101, and surgery procedure explained, Preoccupation Level goes to 0. Then, the question is posted.  

Doctor: When do you want the surgery?
Me: I have a race on the 22nd and one on the 29th that I would not like to miss. My racing calendar is empty for the weekend of Feb 4th. Could it be that week?
Doctor: Sure. What about Feb 1st? 
Me: Deal. (In my mind, I write a note to Running In The USA: You might be a runner... if you schedule your surgery around your races).
Doctor: OK, let me take you to the nurse's office so we have you scheduled. 
Me: Doctor, when after surgery can I run again? 
Doctor: I tell runners to use common sense, though I know Runners Don't Have Any.


PS: Surgery was successful. I have my post-op follow-up on Mon 7th and hope to get clear for running. After a week doing NOTHING, I am stiff like a stick.!



Petraruns said...

Oh Lizzie. My heart was in my mouth reading this. Thank goodness. Thank goodness. I truly will offer up my thanks for this one.

And you? You my friend are fabulous. Stay ON TOP of those doctors. Keep informing yourself so things aren't missed. And scheduling your surgery around your races? I expect NOTHING else from you because you are a BADASS!

Rainer said...

Hola Lizzie
Hoy estaré corriendo el 10K de Avon por la lucha contra el cáncer de mama. Este te lo dedico y te tendré en mi mente durante cada metro recorrido. Sabes que no soy corredor por lo que no esperes tiempos... jejeje.
Me alegro que no haya sido mayor cosa la última intervención y espero que te sigas manteniendo saludable.
Besos, Rainer

Susan said...

Happy day!!!

Anonymous said...

So happy the results have been positive and that you are back running. Can't imagine what this has been like for you but grateful it's behind you now. You will remain in my prayers.