I was not shocked. Sitting in my car parked in front of our 4 year old’s preschool, I answered a call from the Surgery Department. The biopsy was malignant, technically Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), a Stage 0 noninvasive growth in my milk ducts. I took the news calmly trying to recall as much as I could from recent internet searches on breast cancer and remembered to ask which grade mine was. My biopsy had nuclear grade = 3 which meant I have an aggressive, fast-growing version. The nurse told me the typical treatment for DCIS would either be lumpectomy with radiation or mastectomy. Long-term survival and cure (!) rates for DCIS are very high with proper treatment. It is theorized that lower grade cases of DCIS in some patients might never turn into invasive cancer or even be detected.
The nurse was surprised that I was taking it so well. Inside, I was resigned, sad, but in an odd way, relieved. No, I didn’t really look forward to having portions of my body removed. But I’ve already given birth to 3 beautiful children and subsequently had loving, bonding nursing experiences with them. Quite frankly, my breast is now an appendage that I don’t really need anymore, and if I had to have something removed, it wouldn’t be a bad option at all. If it is truly DCIS, I got off easy, breast cancer-wise. I am lucky.
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