Appointments prior to a lumpectomy

My lumpectomy for what is right now considered stage 1 breast cancer is scheduled for April 20, 2015

There are several other appointments that have to happen before then:

This coming Wednesday I have an appointment with the geneticist as one of my sister’s had breast cancer.  I will give either a blood or saliva sample to test me for any of the known genes which almost guarantee me that I will develop breast cancer.  It includes the well known BRCA gene mutation and a few others.

Another appointment is to get a radioactive seed placed in the tumor the Friday before the lumpectomy.  This is supposed to help the surgeon find the lesion.  The paper work says I won’t need a bandage afterwards and neither I nor my clothes will be radioactive.  However, I shouldn’t hold a baby for more than 30 minutes a day until the seed is removed.

The pre-op physical with ekg will happen on the 16th with my primary care physician.  That includes blood work.  Karen, the scheduler, (not sure of her real title, will get back to you about that next week) gave me a form my primary care doctor is suppose to fill out which included a rectal exam.  I am not excited about that and not really sure why they must look there prior to a lumpectomy.  Probably just a case of CTA (covering their asses).  Whatever!!

I was supposed to have scheduled a 30 minute phone interview with a nurse within 24 hours of meeting with my surgeon.  Well that didn’t happen.  72 hours will have to do as it is the weekend.  I guess if it was that critical they would have called me.  The form the surgeon’s office gave me said the appointment is for me to “Find out how to prepare for surgery.”   My friend, Carol, who has had a couple of surgeries says that it is to clear me for anesthesia.  They want to make sure I haven’t had a reaction to it in past surgeries, which I haven’t).  They also check my medications probably to make sure I am not on any blood thinners.  I have been asked that several times already.  I am to stop taking Advil/ibuprophen and multivitamins including vitamin E several days prior to the lumpectomy.  That is the same instruction from my pain doctor prior to an epidural.

Another thing I am supposed to do before surgery is go to the pharmacy to pick up a bottle of Hibiclens. I am to bathe with it both the day before and the day of the lumpectomy.

Hopefully Only A Blip In My Adventures As A Budding Potter

The first three paragraphs below are taken from my facebook page  I will continue in this way here on out in future posts.

Well, my life has been pretty full doing pottery but I now must start making room for yet another adventure, stage 1 breast cancer.  I had a mammogram back on March 12th which showed an irregularity a suspicious area on the right side of my left breast.

That meant another mammogram and an ultrasound.  The breast surgeon showed me the area on my two images and I could see it was definitely an irregular area that stood out from the other areas of my breast that had smooth lines.

The next step was to do a ultrasound guided biopsy.  It was a little painful but not horrible.  As the doctor, Dr. Stassi, explained he was taking about 12 pencil shavings from the lump.  He numbed the area, of course, but there was still the pressure of him pushing on my breast.  One thing that was nice was that they had warmed up the ultrasound gel before putting it on me.  I have had ultrasounds where they haven’t.  It isn’t very courteous of them when they do that.  The vacuum pump was a big machine in the corner and as Dr. Stassi put it “It makes a sound like an automotive” and it did.  Dr. Stassi had done a previous needle biopsy which turned out to be an enlarged milk duct.

The next afternoon I called the doctor and got the bad news.  If there wasn’t any cancer in the lymph nodes under my left arm (taken during the lumpectomy, I would afterwards just need a treatment of radiation.

I will let you know how this afternoon goes at the breast surgeon, Dr. Carter.  He seems to be a nice man and wasn’t cold when he gave me the news over the phone.  He seemed positive about my prognosis after looking at my ultrasound and said during the telephone conversation it wasn’t what he had expected.

We will yet see how this derails my pottery.  Centering a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel takes some strength and I am worried I will be kept away for too long and miss too many classes.  I see myself as a budding artist and wish to carry on normally as much as possible.

Parts of future posts are going to be posted on my Facebook page  The full post will be found here at

Thanks for stopping by

Melissa Wickham