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Getting Bossy

by Maggie Jones
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Night before last my left breast was a little tender and upon a quick self examination I realized some serious weirdness going on with the texture along with nipple retraction.  I emailed my oncologist to see if I could come in.  He replied the next day that “Your recent PET-CT scan did not show any abnormal breast mass. So don’t worry, it will not be a cancer-related problem.”

I would have been relieved except I’d already looked in the mirror and realized that a third of that breast is covered in a mottled dark red. I ended up sending the doc a picture of my boob and making an appointment. It felt weird sending boob pics to a man not Brad but cancer seems to have stripped away any pretense at modesty.  You have Brad to thank for me not posting the picture here. Yet.

Any even remotely tangential Google search turns up Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), a super rare type of breast cancer than manifests as a red rash on the boob and texture changes. Although lung cancer doesn’t usually metastasize to the breast,  I did find one case of a woman with NSCLC that metastasized to IBC.  Spoiler alert: she dies two months later.  No matter how rare it is, I want to rule it out early.

I went to my appointment ready to be bossy and insistent – not necessary.  My doctor was totally understanding. Despite how incredibly unlikely it is – and even though his well-trained oncologists hands determined that my breast was “too soft” to be cancerous (not sure how I feel about that) –  he scheduled me for an MRI on Monday to put my mind at ease.  Huge points for him!

In the meantime, I’m taking a bunch of antibiotics to rule out infection.  Four times a day I have to take a pill on an empty stomach and 4 times a day I have to take another pill with food.  This is so much more complicated than my tumor-riddled brain can handle.

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