Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Surgical Oncology - One Year Later

A couple of weeks ago I got the card in the mail: I was scheduled for a mammogram and then follow up appointment with my surgical oncologist February 24th.  I happily called the office to inform them I was pregnant and was told, "we'll cancel the mammogram and if the doctor has any concerns he can do an ultrasound in the office."  Ugh.  I remember that ultrasound machine.  Just over one year ago I was in his office crying while he used the ultrasound machine to perform the core biopsy.  I had been thinking of this appointment as a sort of victory lap.  A one year follow up.  Somehow I had forgotten the purpose is to look for cancer.

When the day of the appointment came, I did NOT NOT NOT want to go. The day before was our baby shower, which was really more like a downpour!  We were ridiculously spoiled by our families with practically everything we need, want and could ever hope for.  After a day of reveling in tiny little outfits, and tiny little diapers, and tiny little socks, the last thing I wanted to do was to go to the doctor and talk about cancer.  Music Man practically had to drag me in there.

After waiting an hour in the waiting room and another half hour in the exam room, the doctor finally came in.  He was very excited to hear (and see!) that we're expecting twins.  I wanted to say, "you did this to me!  You're the one who made me go off birth control!" but I was practically rendered mute in fear.  He did the most comprehensive breast exam in the whole wide world - on both sides - and declared that the only thing he found was that my breast is engorged!  I told him how sometimes my ribs ache - to put it mildly - on the mastectomy side, but, like the medical oncologist, he was not concerned.

Big sigh of relief!

In 5-6 months they're going to send me the card again for a mammogram and follow up appointment.  If I'm still breastfeeding, he said to cancel the mammogram again and just come in for the appointment with him.

And then I bolted out of there!

Blogger has a neat function where I can see how many hits my blog gets a day and from what source.  My blog gets about 30 hits a day, most of them through google searches about breast cancer.  I have shared way more on this blog than I ever have in real life, in the hopes of reaching other young women with breast cancer, because there's just not a lot out here for us.  In that same spirit, I'll share with you how my mastectomy scar looks like a year later.

Pretty good, right?!  It was hot pink for maybe as much as six months and then finally started to fade.  The brownish part in the middle is just a tiny bit of areola - it darkened with pregnancy too.  When it was still pink, and my scar was still pink, I just thought it was a deeper part of the scar.  It was probably August of last year before I realized that that little part was nipple.  I haven't used any creams like Mederma to make it fade faster.  The most I've done is swipe it with a little bit of my belly butter because sometimes it looks dry. I think it's interesting that, even though I've gained 50 pounds with pregnancy, you can still see my ribs.  They really did take the whole thing!

Do you have major anxiety when going to the oncologist's office?  How does your scar look?  For those of you further along on the journey, how does your scar look years later?


  1. Elaine English Bauer says: TallGirl, I have enjoyed reading your blog that your sweet Mama linked to. I'm sorry that you have had to deal with cancer at your age - you are certainly an inspiration for us all. Congratulations on your soon to be family additions!