Yes, it was good news about the new lump! It turned out to be a very dense cyst which was aspirated whilst I was there and is now completely gone. They are sending the aspirated material for testing but everyone was very confident that it was nothing other than a cyst. Huge relief and I admit that I cried when I was told the news as I had been really sure it was something bad because it felt so hard.
I told my surgeon that I am getting really dragged down by the constant scares. It’s worked out at approximately one for each year since I completed active treatment so I never seem to be able to escape from the worry of it coming back. What I really wanted him to do was agree to remove the offending breast but he is very reluctant to do this at the moment. The rationale being that it is better to have the tissue there to be monitored regularly but I am sick of worrying about it all the time and have come to dread doing my regular breast exams in case of finding something. The only thing he would agree to is that I can see him again in a year’s time and we can review it then. He didn’t want me making a decision when I was still emotionally vulnerable after this latest episode and I can respect that but I’d rather have it removed than keep going through this worry. For now though I guess I am stuck with it.
As if I didn’t have enough to contend with, life was not without other dramas last week. Over the previous weekend I had started to develop a lot of pain in the left side of my face, jaw and neck. I suspected a problem with a tooth and saw my dentist who prescribed some antibiotics telling me that it was an abscess. That was on the Tuesday but by Thursday morning not only was I in a huge amount of pain, my face and neck were very badly swollen. It was bad enough that I couldn’t open my mouth very much and had difficulty speaking, eating and swallowing. I looked like I’d been beaten up! My oncologist took one look at me and immediately dispatched me off for an x-ray of my jaw and arranged an urgent consultation with a maxillofacial surgeon as he thought I’d developed Bisphosphonate-Related Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (BRONJ). This is a rare side effect of taking bisphosphonates for which very little can be done except deal with the symptoms as they emerge.
I have to admit that I was almost as worried about this as I was about the lump in my breast being cancer, especially when the maxillofacial department were so anxious to see me that someone was prepared to see me when they were normally closed for their lunch break! However, awful as it all looked, it turned out to be a very nasty dental abscess and once again I was in tears for sheer relief. I will have to have the tooth extracted and that will be happening next Thursday at the hospital. The surgeon doubled the strength of the antibiotics my dentist had prescribed and told me that the swelling should start to go down after the weekend. I’m pleased to say that as of today I am looking a lot more normal again. There is still a painful lump but it’s nothing like the size it was and the rest of the swelling has gone away so that I can finally eat, speak etc without problem.
The other thing that came out of my trip to the breast clinic was a decision to put me on a break from the Zometa/Denosumab infusions for a while to give my system a rest. I will need to go back on them but the frequency and strength will depend on the results of the DEXA scan I will be having next month. I have to say that it will be nice having a period of not having to a) spend a day at the hospital every four weeks and b) not having to contend with bone pain and migraines for the few days following each infusion. I’m hoping that it’ll be for the summer months but I won’t know for sure until the scan has been reviewed and we can see what my bones are up to.
So all in all it’s good news to report, something that two weeks ago I was convinced was not going to happen – yippee! 🙂
- Posted in: Uncategorized