Bitten by the Cancer Bug

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve been on vacation for the last week in northern Michigan, enjoying the fresh air and clear waters of Torch Lake. I’ve been doing a lot of walking and reading although, not at the same time. 🙂

Before I left on vacation, I had a major decision to make and I was kind of freaking out about it. You see, about a month ago I found out that I had breast cancer. I knew there was something up when I found a numb spot, so I called the doctor and tried to schedule a mammogram. Of course, I had to have a physical first. You know those HMO’s they know more about your body than you do. 😉

So, I went through the physical and was able to schedule a mammogram. Then I had to have a second mammogram because the radiologist could see something on the first one, but it was so small that we needed a deeper and more painful mammogram to determine what it was.

The next step was the biopsy. This was the least painful part of the whole process. This is where they take out a piece of tissue to see if it’s malignant or benign. Well as you probably can guess, it was malignant. Boo!

Before I could take a breath, I’m talking with the surgeon and he’s very positive.
“We’ve caught this at a very early stage. We’ll have to do a lumpectomy and some radiation.”
I was okay with this. I mean it’s not even an overnight stay in the hospital and it wasn’t going to mess up my summer schedule in the least.

However, if I was going to go through this, I only wanted to do it once. So, I pushed for an MRI. I wanted to make sure we got all the cancer the first time. In addition, something about the way my HMO acted about the MRI made me suspicious. They insisted it was the surgeon’s decision on whether or not we do an MRI.

When I discussed this with my surgeon, I asked him about it and he said, “We don’t usually do MRIs on people your age.”

Of course, I was livid. “People my age?”

He immediately changed his tune and needless to say, I got my MRI. Thank God I did, because there were five other spots that were abnormal. He claims that they’re not cancer, but they could be precancerous. Since they could be precancerous, I want them taken out.

So now, we’re going from a simple lumpectomy to a double mastectomy. Why? Because I don’t want to take any chances. I don’t want a reoccurrence of this to affect my life ever again. I also want to avoid chemotherapy.

If none of the other abnormal spots have become invasive, I won’t have to have chemo. (Crosses fingers).

What’s the moral of this story? If you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, get an MRI. It’s the only way to know for certain how many spots you have. In fact, I don’t’ know why they don’t do an MRI first. It has all the answers. Mammograms are a waste of time in my opinion. Only one spot showed up when I had it done and it was so small the radiologist could barely see it.

I could have been diagnosed a month earlier if I’d gone for the MRI first and I’ve heard that the radiation from the Mammogram can cause cancer. Hello? Am I the only one who sees a problem here and a solution? Do you have any thoughts on this? If you do please share them with me. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

I’d also like to add that you really have to be your own advocate when you’re dealing with something this big. Ask questions, and keep asking until you understand what the doctors are talking about. It’s your body. You have a right to know.

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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12 Responses to Bitten by the Cancer Bug

  1. KRRowe says:

    I hope everything works out ok, Lisa. I’m so sorry this is happening to you. Something similar happened to me, I had the biopsy and a spot removed but it turned out ok. I agree, a MRI is the way to go.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for stopping by KRRowe! I appreciate your kind words and I’m glad to hear everything worked out well for you. Since I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve spoken with women who’ve gone through what I’m about to and it relieves my anxiety. If they can make it so can I. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted on my progress. 🙂

  2. sharonledwith says:

    Oh crap, Lisa, I’m so sorry you’ve got to got through this! What a shocker! You need to do what you think is right for YOU. My younger brother has gone through 6 rounds of chemo (lung tumors and cancer of unknown primary), and the chemo has killed the tumors, but the side affects have been so hard on him. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Your spirit seems so positive! Let me know if I can do anything for you, my friend. Keep strong!

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for stopping by Sharon! I appreciate your support and kind words. Keep me in your prayers! My plan is to avoid chemo! I’ll keep you posted. Sending prayers for to you and your brother. 🙂

  3. KarenJ says:

    Sorry to hear, Lisa. It is scientifically accurate that usually “Mammograms are a waste of time” (see “Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy” by Peter Gøtzsche, and “The Mammogram Myth” by Rolf Hefti – more at TheMammogramMyth.com) but other test of early detection, like MRIs, have also serious “side effects” such as a high rate of overdiagnosis, harming many healthy women in the process. By the way, a precancerous growth does not necessarily progress any further and can also regress. Any type of invasive cancer treatment, such as with surgery, increases your risk of secondary cancer significantly. It is the real reason why so many women undergoing orthodox cancer treatments have reoccurrences (which are the actual causes of death of many of them). Good luck to you!

  4. kaistrandauthor says:

    Lisa, I’m very sorry you have to face these scary decisions and procedures. Many peaceful and healing thoughts for you.

  5. ProteanMom says:

    Lisa –

    Good luck with everything!

    MRI’s aren’t offered more frequently because, well, they’re expensive. Yes, they can catch more, but insurance. Doulbe check what yours covers – some insurances will, after a double mastectomy, cover reconstructive surgery.

    Best of luck, karma, prayers, thoughts, et al headed your way, friend.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thakns Protean Mom! I appreciate all your kind words. Yes, my insurance does cover reconstruction. It’s just a long process and I’m not looking forward to it. I can’t wait until this is over. 🙂

  6. Hey, I just heard! It sounds like you’re making a really good choice for yourself. I’m so glad you were able to advocate for yourself to get the right treatment. Wishing you a speedy recovery, lady! 😀

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for stopping by Jenny! I plan on a speedy recovery! 🙂 I’ve got books to write! I appreciate your kind words! Especially words from a celebrity like yourself! 🙂

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