I was called back after a routine mammogram. The results of the second mammogram confirmed that I had microcalcifications in the milk duct. Needless to say, I was terrified! Dr. Parada scheduled a biopsy, an MRI, sent me to a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and to the surgeon, Dr. Miller. It was determined that a lumpectomy would be the procedure. The X-rays showed a mass of four centimeters. This procedure was scheduled as an out-patient surgery with local anesthesia. I was home in two hours, but the pathology determined that the mass was, in fact, seven centimeters and Dr. Parada said that it was "completely unexpected." After visiting everyone again, I could have had the margins increased or the breast removed. I chose the second option and that surgery was also on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia.
I was home in two hours and able to walk the dog the next morning!
Upon visiting the medical oncologist after the surgery, I was told that there was an additional "spot" that was not found on X-ray, so I was delighted that I made the decision to have the breast removed. At this point, I had the option of going on a drug to try to keep the other side from developing the same problem, as this is common. Radiation, at this point, was no longer necessary. My other option was to remove the other breast and not have to deal with the drugs. I would put myself at a 1 percent -2 percent chance of ever having another problem, far better odds than the rest of the population. This surgery was seven weeks to the day of the first, out-patient, local anesthesia, home in two hours and walking the dog the next day! Pathology showed no abnormalizes in the second breast, but I know that this was the right decision.
I took 1000mg of Tylenol with 16 ounces of apple juice four hours before [my mastectomy] and that was the only pain medication that I took. I required NOTHING in the way of pain medication after surgery!
The local anesthesia [pecs block], which Dr. Miller agreed to try, made everything so much easier. She had never been asked to do this, but she was very willing to work with me to the point that my health was not compromised. I took 1000mg of Tylenol with 16 ounces of apple juice four hours before each surgery and that was the only pain medication that I took. I required NOTHING in the way of pain medication after either surgery! Dr. Miller tells me that my wanting things done this way has helped many other women since and will continue to help others as time passes, something for which I am most grateful.
For other women, I would say that the procedure, while scary, is far less an ordeal than most folks seem to think and that, if possible, a local anesthesia is, without a doubt, the way to go. There are no down sides to this. Thankfully, now a year later, all is well, I am completely healed, and feel wonderful!
I am so thankful to the people at Rose who made this far less intimidating than it might have otherwise been. Everyone was so helpful, so available, so willing to listen and to respect my wishes. Yes, this is a diagnosis that no one wants, but with support, information, and people who are willing to help, things can turn out well!! Lastly, I would say that say that it is important to have a physician/surgeon who listens and who is willing to do what he/she can to respect a patient's wishes. Dr. Miller is, without a doubt, that person! She wants what is best for her patients while doing everything possible, without compromising the patient's health, to respect her wishes.