9. The Friday my life became a "Grey's Anatomy" episode...
The thing I love about UCLA is that they have ALL of their records digitized, so all the doctors have access to all of your records, and if you set up an online account you have access as well. You also get reminders about appointments, and alerts when test results come in.
The morning of Friday July 13th ( really dude?) I received a notice about my tests, just as I finished teaching my class at the Equinox in Pasadena. Reading them off my phone was impossible, soI called Collin from my cell and asked him to jump on my home computer, and I would call him back once I was in the car.
"Hey babe, it's me. what does it say?"
You can always determine news by the way it's delivered. As Collin hesitated and took a breathe, I knew the news wasn't good.
"Its not good, but I don't think it's totally bad" he said, his fingers typing feverishly in the background. (He was going down the Google hole.)
"Well I have my thyroid surgery followup today at 2 pm, can you call UCLA and see if we can get into see my PCP Dr R, before then so we can get this referral bus rolling?" I said having fallen into "fix it mode".
Find the Problem, figure out the steps, do the steps, fix the problem. He rang off, then called back.
"Okay, so Dr R only had a 3:15 so I took it. and I called Dr H's office about the followup to see if it could be earlier and they can do 11:30, can we make that ?" Collin told me.
"Yup, quick jump in the shower and we can go right away" I replied.
I made it home, jumped in the shower, put on one of the gauze dresses I affectionately have referred to as my "cancer dresses" and we headed to UCLA.
Dr H's fellow took off my bandage as I asked him if he knew of any connection between Thyroid and Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer.
The door opened and Dr H walked in, took one look at me and said "What the fuck?! I am so sorry, I saw your chart."
She pulled me in for a hug. I explained how I found the tumor, acknowledged the completely shitty timing, and stated that we had already scheduled an appointment with my PCP to get the process started.
"Can you guys hang around for about an hour?" Dr H asked.
"Yeah" we said . We had nothing until three.
"I do clinic with Dr C, the senior surgeon of the Revlon Breast Cancer Center she does her office hours here. If are able to wait we maybe able to squeeze you in today. She'll be able to tell you about your results and what's next."
"Absolutely " Collin and I said in unison.
"Okay, I'll let them know. Now to get back to your thyroid..."
She explained that margins were great, that the one lymph node that had cancer cells had been removed and no others had been affected. That there was about a 5-10% chance of reoccurrence but most likely on the lower end and not at all, come back in 6 months for a followup but it all looked "great."
So we went to the waiting room and waited, and waited, and finally we asked if we could run down and get lunch and if we gave them our number if they could call us to come back.
That's usually the way things work, if you want your name called leave.
You want to get an acting job, book a flight. If you want your meal to come, go to the bathroom. So of course we were in line paying for our food at the cafeteria and the phone rang. We payed , took the bags and ran back up.
Dr C, a calm, direct, older Asian women introduced herself and began to explain in detail the aspects of my breast cancer.
*It was Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer... and it went like this...
* It was good I had found the tumor because when comparing the recent mammogram to mine from six moths previous it was barely detectable.
*It was hormone responsive so I would definitely be going on hormone therapy.
*25% chance of chemo which would be determined by tests.
* It's attributed were typical in the cancer of women over 62- UMM I HAVE OLD LADY CANCER!
* the size of the tumor made Mastectomy the best option.
* Mastectomy with immediate reconstruction was the best option because less surgeries so i should meet the plastic surgeon she liked teaming with and if I liked him then I could call to coordinate their schedules for surgery.
Head swimming, I said please, or yes, or something like that.
She shook my hand told her assistant to call in some blood work and said goodbye.
I thought we were done, but less than 10 minutes later Dr D the Chief of Plastics walked in to meet and access me. And with him I found out...
* Bi-Lateral Mastectomy with expanders would be better option as my type of cancer typically does reoccur on the other side, also they look better.
*I didn't have enough fat to rebuild from my own skin. (So, yay?!)
* Call his office on Monday and they would be able to set the date, and its possible I could use the previous pre-op test if they fell within the necessary timeline.
By 2:30 , just like on TV I had met my surgeons , got my diagnoses and was headed toward my surgery date.