Last summer was a rough one. It started with pain much like I’m having right now in my right breast. I ignored it as a fluke or pms discomfort. That was a mistake.
When I went to the hospital with a massively swollen breast and nearly unbearable pain, they dismissed it as simple mastitis and sent me home with antibiotics. When those antibiotics didn’t work, I was given another that tried to kill me. I’m talkong full on serum sickness with fever, blistering hives, and rheumatoid arthritis. No change to my breast, though. That’s when the doctor got nervous. She sent me to an oncologist.
My breast surgeon was amazing. She was such a calm, steady figure in a room I didn’t want to be in. My doctor was concerned that i had inflammatory breast cancer. Ok, we were officially talking about cancer now. I needed a bioosy. Ok, standard procedure, why is everyone looking at me like that? The biopsy would be in a few days. I guess I should tell my husbands what’s going on.
When I got home, I looked up inflammatory breast cancer, that’s when i realized why the medical students in the room had such big sad eyes. Inflammatory breast cancer is NOT standard procedure. There was a good chance it would kill me, especially given how huge my breast had gotten. Suddenly i was terrified. I just wanted to hug my kids and never let go of them. I was probably going to die by 40.
The day of the biopsy was crazy. I have a tendency to panic and flee from medical procedures, but I had to keep my shit together on this dsy. I had cbd infused lition, lavender oil, and a mantra. There was a window in the biopsy room, where i could gaze out at the trees blowing in a glorious August breeze. Until the front loaded showed up to dig out new parking lot. I laughed and laughed at the ridicullousness of the situation. Fortunately they didn’t stay too long, and I was able to get my Zen back. I breathed my way through four seemingly ice core sized samples being taken, and chatted about just wanting to run again, with the sweet med student who had to keep pressure on the incision afterward.
I left the office that day with the knowledge that i either had inflammatory breast cancer or something called idiopathic granulomatous mastitis. WTF was that??? A rare breast condition. Ok. Great. Clumps of cells grow out of control. Presents like cancer. Ok… Benign. Now we’re talking. Ruptures through the skin. Ewwww. So when my surgeon called the next day, as in, she actually called, I stopped breathing. Her news was good but complicated. I indeed had the very rare but benign condition. I would still have a long road of prednisone treatment ahead, and possibly surgery, but I did NOT have cancer.
I was so relieved, but had no idea what I was in for. I naively thought the steroids would just fix it, and I’d move on, get back to normal.
It’s been six months, and nothing is normal.