Pathology report, post op pain & new job

Almost a week ago, I went in for my post op appointment with the oncology surgeon who removed my DCIS. It was short visit and quite unfulfilling.

Dr. B, the surgeon, along with two residents, seemed quite nonchalant. I am sure they were tired as I was the last patient scheduled for the day, but you shouldn’t let the customer know that.

A few pleasantries and a quick glance at my wound had Dr. B. remarking on how good the area looked — no sign of infection and healing well. He then handed me my 6-page pathology report, told and showed me (on a ruler), the size of the affected area — 2 mm — then recommended next steps, radiology and a visit back with him in 4 months.

Dr. B volunteered that based on the size of calcifications he removed (I don’t want to call it a tumor, I am not owning these dastardly things), he staged the DCIS at stage 0. He reassured me that there was no lymph node involvement so none were removed during surgery. All good things as long as the status quo remains.

The one negative was that the rogue cells removed exhibited aggressiveness, they were fast growing, so my prayer is that none of them remain in my body.

I had prepared a list of questions prior to the visit, as so many breast cancer advocates suggest, but to my chagrin, I forgot to bring my notepad to the appointment. Obviously, as a result, I forgot to ask a bunch of questions during my visit.

I did remember to ask about the numbness and the burning sensation I’ve been feeling around the area that was cut as well as around my nipple and areola. Dr. B said that was normal, confirming what several ladies in the breast cancer community told me when I asked.

I wasn’t in much paid the week after the lumpectomy but since last week, the pain really cannot escape notice. I am fairly large-breasted with fairly large nipples so I feel the brushing of my sports bra and clothing probably more than the average size woman. I’m tired of taking pain pills, using cold packs and massaging my breast with CBD oil. How long does this uncomfortable pain continue?

It’s worse during the day, I guess because I am more aware of it, so sitting through a day of training for my new work-from-home job is excruciating. I almost called the nurse navigator on my lunch break today but then I remembered that I have a whole month of training from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and no time for another doctor’s visit. And yep, I realize how crazy that sounds.

The thing is, I haven’t been employed in the traditional sense of the word for more than 10 years, since I had my last child. I’ve been a contractor, working from home for various companies, setting my own schedule for years. However, just before my diagnosis, in August/September I decided I wanted a full time job to get more financial security and benefits.

I was interviewed for this job the day of my chest MRI on October 25 and received word that same evening that I got the job. The fact that I can work from home for a decent salary and excellent benefits is a bonus but being there for my 13-year-old who was diagnosed with a depressive mood disorder in August and takes online classes is priceless.

All this means is that I’ll take care of my health but I’ll also fulfill the requirements of this job as best as I can.

I meet the radiologist on Dec. 24, a paid company holiday, and hope to start 7-8 weeks of radiation in January when my schedule begins a bit later in the day.

I believe that it’s all going work itself out. God’s looking out for me.

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