Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I'll update details later, but great news. Phew!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Breast Biopsy

I had my guided MRI breast biopsy on Friday. It was a rare super rainy day here...and my sister had been in labor with my new niece since the night before. So luckily lots of distraction meant a lot less stress and anxiety leading up to the appointment.

The hardest part was inside the MRI. Being moved in and out without being able to see anything always makes me a little dizzy. Then I was getting a bit anxious about the enormity of everything and wanted to take some deep breaths to calm myself down. But then you aren't allowed to move at all, so I'm trying to take breaths that don't feel deep enough which feels a lot like the beginning of a panic attack. I imagined myself freaking out and squeezing the emergency button in my hand. But I calmed myself well enough. 

It's also a little weird being 30+ years younger than most other women around, but I'm special like that...

Results should take 2-4 business days so I'll know a lot more next week...meh.

I'm pretty resigned to the realty of it, although I'm definitely hoping for a clear path to not super aggressive treatment. And I want to speak with the experts about this whole mastectomy thing. :/

Oh and literally, my sister had very serious complications during her c section and she's fine now, but it took two hours and extra doctors. Geesh. But my new niece is perfect.

The day after, I was a little worried that I had an infection because I had pinkness over a lot of my breast and it was warm, I also continued to bleed just a tiny bit throughout the day. But I woke up today and everything looked much better.

The pain was not bad at all! I took Ibuprofen the day of before bed, but just one time and that was it. It feels kind of bruised if my breast is pushed or kicked (toddlers are fun...I told him about my boo boo and he kissed it a few times then promptly forgot).

Mr. GG has been traveling a ton and will be out of town when I find out the results this week, but I imagine we'll have a sit down appointment next week if the results are positive which he will be here for. I'm not freaking out, but I'm ready for more information.

Here's the detailed biopsy write-up:
I got there early (it's a little disconcerting walking into a "Cancer Center." Very real.)  and had time to get a smoothie. They told me just to eat a light lunch in case I got nauseous. 

After they brought me back, I changed in the little locker room. I planned ahead this time, so I wore comfy leggings and I brought a nice pair of grippy socks. Both of those things made me feel a little bit more comfortable (and warm). First the nurse explained everything. Then I got my IV. Then one doc came in and explained everything and then another doc did the same! So I definitely had the all of the necessary info.

Here's the process: first I went go in the MRI for about 7 minutes with the breast compressed between two plates. It wasn't super tight though. Then they check the images and pull you out (you stay lying down the whole time, in or out). Best case scenario is they don't see the lesion. But for me, immediately they said, okay I'm going to numb the area because the actual biopsy comes next and in my case was done by hand by a doctor. Some are done by machine. He numbed my breast with lidocaine. One of the numbing needles pinched more than the others and I flinched...and they reminded me not to move, thanks.

Then I went back in for another few minutes, then out again, then the did the biopsy. They took 5 samples with a core needle. I could feel three of them. They felt like needle pricks. Then they place a stainless steel "clip" in the incision to mark the spot of the lesion so it shows up on mammogram. It will not set of airport sensors or interfere with future MRIs. Then they hold pressure on the wound for 5 minutes. Literally. Last, steri-strips were placed to close the wound. which will fall off in about 5 days.

Of course that's not it. Lastly, you have to get a mammogram to make sure the clip shows up. 

Then you get dressed and leave! (I was given small circular ice packs to put in my bra to reduce swelling and bruising and antibiotic ointment and band-aids to cover everything with which I change every day.)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Library Haul Review #1

*A lighter post for today I think. : )

I first went to the local public library with Dylan when he was about 18 months old. didn't go very well. Since then, I bought tons and tons of books for him, most good, some so so. We needed an activity one evening, so I decided it was time to go back.

And I also think it's going to become a new series since I've enjoyed writing other book reviews: Our Favorite Books Toddler Version.


(I'm going to go on a 4 star rating system. 4 = Love it! 3 = Like it. 2 = Meh. 1 = Dislike.

1 - Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems ***

Image result for don't let the pigeon drive the bus

I'd heard a lot about Mo Willems since becoming a parent and I knew that Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus was one of his top titles. It's cute that the bus driver talks to the reader so Dylan can answer back, and it's funny listening to all of the ways Pigeon tries to convince you to let him drive, but I just don't love it. Maybe when Dylan is a bit older (and more manipulative) it will hit closer to home.

2 - Knuffle Bunny, Mo Willems ****FAVORITE****

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This is definitely my favorite kids book of the moment. In this book Willems draws cartoon characters on top of real black and white photos. It's really nicely done. And there are quite a few reasons it connected with our little family: a laundromat...Dylan loves to go to the laundromat with his Dad. So at the laundromat, the Dad accidentally puts Knuffle Bunny in the washer and he and his daughter leave without it...and she freaks out. She tries to tell him, "Aggle, Flaggle, Klabble!" But she can't talk yet. Dad respond, "Yes, we are going home!" Then she goes into a full on tantrum, at one point "She went boneless." Dylan doesn't get that one yet, but I'm sure all of you parents do! In the end, Knuffle Bunny and the little girl are reunited and she says her first words, "Knuffle Bunny!"

Image result for knuffle bunny

We really enjoy reading this book together, but the funniest part is when Dylan is just doing his thing and then he looks over at me and says "Snurp" with the cutest smile on his face. Or "Aggle, Flaggle Klabble." I'm pretty sure he knows they aren't real words which is pretty fascinating and he knows that it's funny when he says them.

3 - That is Not a Good Idea, Mo Willems ***

Image result for that is not a good idea by mo willems

This one is a little dark. It's written like a "talky" movie with white letters on black pages after images. A fox seems to court a duck so that he can take her home and cook her in a soup. After each fox and duck page, a little chick says "That is NOT a good idea," "That is REALLY NOT a good idea." "That is REALLY, REALLY NOT a good idea" and so on. But in the end, the duck pushes the fox in the pot and she and her chicks eat the soup. Like I said, a little dark and probably suited for older kids. Definitely good to show irony and/or a reversal of expectations. I think Dylan just likes the "That is REALLY NOT a good idea" pages.

4 - Lemons are Not Red, Laura Vaccaro Seeger ***

Image result for lemons are not red seeger

This one is great for young kids who are just learning colors. Each page has a cut out of an object that is the wrong color. "Carrots are not purple." And then you turn the page and the cut out is over the correct color. "Carrots are orange." It's cute and clever and simple also with beautiful painted images. Perfect for a toddler mastering colors.

Image result for lemons are not red seeger

5 - Storm Whale, Benji Davies  ****

Image result for storm whale

This is a newer book and it's really sweet, but Dylan didn't love it (probably suited for older kids). A little boy, Noi,  lives with his dad on the ocean and one day during a storm, a small whale washes ashore. The little boy puts the whale in the bathtub. Eventually he shows his dad and his dad says they have to take it back to the ocean. His dad realizes that Noi is lonely and gives him a big hug. Sweet, somewhat sad story, with beautiful images.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What it's like to wonder whether you have cancer...

In a nutshell, it's a mixture of feeling sick to your stomach, mixed with moments of shortness of breath, following by long deep breaths. I think that's the basic feeling.

During the first week I did a lot of research. Maybe too much, maybe not. I learned about the stages of Breast Cancer (I'd be somewhere between IA and IIA depending on lymph nodes) and looked up False Positive rates on Breast MRI ("high" but less high for someone like me who repeats it every year). I read a really terrible study that said survival rates were lower for young women than older women, ostensibly because there are different mechanisms behind cancers that appear that early and most research has been targeted toward older women. Luckily I got a really great blog comment from a survivor at that point and I stopped researching (for the most part).

My anxiety seems to peak as I get closer to appointment times. During the rest of the week, I go between forgetting about it and vague worry.

The hardest part is waiting.

One weird thing is that I haven't really told anyone. Just my husband, mom, sister, and my best friend (whom I almost didn't tell). With IVF and all that ensued, I shared left and right. This feels different. Also, I don't really know anything yet.

Here's my timeline so far:

  • April 24 - Breast MRI (at Hospital B)
    • This freaking appointment was at 6:15am! And DH was out of town so the nanny had to come super early. Then they weren't ready for me and I was sitting and fuming. I had also warned them that I can be a hard stick so I was extremely upset to learn the tech would be starting my IV and I even asked him if he was good and said if he wasn't, I wanted to reschedule (it's unlike me to speak up that much). He did a really good job of joking with me and relieving the tension. AND he got my vein quickly and easily. Bonus points. I chose to listen to "Pitch Perfect" on Pandora during the breaks in the MRI where you can actually hear the music. I call the rest a mix between being inside of a washing machine and an electric dance party. It's really weird and loud, but the only part that really bothers me is laying on my face for that long. Sometimes it begins to really hurt, but you can't move. It's also really cold in there. (Wear yoga pants if you ever need to have one because you can keep on any bottoms that don't have metal. I forgot at this appointment.)
    • Later that day I got a follow-up call from my Breast Specialist saying they found a "suspicious" lesion in my left breast at 6 o'clock. She explained the rest of the process and I scheduled follow-up appointments that day.
  • April 30 - Diagnostic Mammogram and Ultrasound
    • Because my lesion was detected on a Breast MRI, the most sensitive type of imaging, I definitely needed a biopsy. Ultrasound is the simplest method of biopsy, they see it, they biopsy it right there. Mammogram is next easiest. They image it, they mark the coordinates, you go (later) to get a biopsy of those coordinates.
But of course neither of these methods worked for me. There is a bright side. The lesion is very small. That is better no matter what. And I can still slightly hope that it just doesn't show up when I go back to MRI. But no matter what, I had the major anxiety leading up to this appointment and then no answers and more waiting.
  • May 1 - Call back from my Breast Specialist
    • She ordered my MRI Guided Biopsy (requires referral to different hospital).
    • I call the Referral Coordinator at my hospital who says to call the other hospital on Monday and to call her back if they don't have the referral by Tuesday.
  • May 3 - Schedule MRI with Hospital B
    • I was very pleasantly surprised to get a call from Hospital B on a Sunday to schedule my biopsy.
  • May 8 - Guided MRI Biopsy
This step hasn't happened yet, but I know somewhat what to expect. IV for contrast like a normal Breast MRI. I'll be laying still for 30-40 minutes both in and out of the tube. I still can't picture how they actually do the biopsy. Is someone on their hands and knees below me? Can they raise the table up high like a car shop? I guess they insert a small stainless steel marker at the site of the lesion to mark it for potential extraction later. That seems pretty weird to me too.

I imagine I'll have results early the next week. That's when the conversations will get much more interesting...