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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Healthy New Year to Me: What a Difference 1 Year Makes

One year ago this week, I was out of town visiting my parents for the 4th of July holiday.  It was not until I came back again this year that I remembered that it was here that I got the call you dread:  My OB-GYN called to tell me I needed to come back in for a repeat mammogram.  I remember that morning I had gone for a run in the miserable heat with my fancy new shoes and had been delighted to get caught in a downpour to cool off.  I had run farther than usual and was rewarding myself by lounging at the pool, reading a book.

Of course, being out of town, I couldn't come in to get the Xray so I had to just sit here and stew over it.  Let me tell you I did just that, driving my poor mother crazy.  Up until then, I had never had any real health issues and of course I was WebMD'ing myself to death.  When I finally got back to town and had the mammogram, it was not the good news everyone assured me it would be but in fact showed I had microcalcifications.  Next up, biopsy from hell.  Some women will tell you it was not bad but I think because this lesion was so deep (almost on my chest wall), that thing hurt like the dickens.  The lidocaine they injected did not numb me so it felt like they were using a sewing machine to core drill into my soul.

After yet more interminable waiting, I got the results which were again not what I had wanted:  I had a suspicious lesion and needed referral to a surgical oncologist.  At this point, I was pretty much picking out my headstone but we made the appointment and off I went.  The surgeon gave me even more horrific news:  The procedure would be a wire-localized surgical biopsy.  That means I had to go back to the Mammogram facility for another super-squeezy mammogram but this time, they were going to stick a needle into the lesion and leave it there so the surgeon could be sure to excise the correct spot.  I had to mentally pick my jaw up off the floor while digesting this piece of news - surely medicine had progressed past the point where this kind of barbaric treatment was the norm?

Medium-length story short, I had the surgery and the pathology report did not show the presence of any cancerous cells.  However, studies show that this kind of lesion is associated with a much higher incidence of cancer so I am at higher risk and will have 6-month mammograms forever. 

All this happened in the span of about 3 months - a few months later in early 2012 I started having the neck and shoulder trouble that brought me here.  I am grateful for how well I am doing now thanks to the good care of my doctors.  I am also grateful to the men and women in our military whose service guarantees our freedom and security.  As I sit here on the downward slope of recovery, I am determined that this coming year will be devoid of any more health issues. I'm declaring July 4th the start of my New Year of Health! I wish all of you the same. 


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Two-level anterior cervical discectomy and fusion scheduled for May 29th. Herniated discs at C4-5 and C5-6 indenting the cord with significant kyphosis.

I am not a medical professional. The information contained in this blog is not intended to be nor is it medical advice. Nothing contained herein should be considered a substitute for consultation with a qualified health professional.