Monday, January 5, 2009

A Lumpy Discovery

Two days before Maia turned two months old, I went to see a surgeon at PGH to have the mysterious lump on the exterior part of my left breast checked. I had complained about this to my OB-Gyn during my routinary post-natal check up but I was instructed to just apply hot compress over it. My OB-Gyn was saying it was probably just due to lactation and it will go away once I stopped breastfeeding. But just to be sure she says, she'll schedule me for a mammosonogram once I ceased milk production.

But then my Mom and sister kept on prodding me to seek other doctor's opinion. To give them peace of mind, I gave in to their plea. It turns out however, the lump was indeed a tumor. One large tumor - measuring 4x5 cm - that had been sitting there for sometime and growing by the minute. Doctor's theory was, the lump had always been present but was left undetected.

Due to a family history of lumps and tumors (both of my maternal grandparents succumbed to cancer) plus undergoing hormonal treatment for my irregular menses earlier on and an intensive hormonal medication during my pregnancy, the lump's growth became aggressive. Thus, resulting to large mass like this one in just 5 months.

Due to the lump's size, I was not required to get a mammosonogram anymore. Instead, the doctor suggested a biopsy of the breast mass. But the guys at PGH were going to make small incision on my breast so my family and friends suggested that I seek another doctor's opinion before I had my breast sliced.

So I again went to see a different doctor, this time at the Makati Medical Center. But she only confirmed the previous findings. Only three days have passed since my PGH trip but the mass has now grown to 5x7cm. It's growing really fast! Good thing though, she did a fine needle aspiration biopsy so no incision was made. She told me we needed to rule out malignancy of the tumor before we go a step further on the treatment.

But since we were approaching the long holiday break, I had to wait on the results for 2 more weeks. Yesterday, I went back to discuss the biopsy results. I was hoping it would be nothing. And indeed, the biopsy findings were nothing to be alarmed about. What was alarming though was that the lump continued to grow. Now it's 5x8cm. The conversation became blurry to me after that. It was only after I met up with Tibs that it sunk in. Then I just cried.

Diagnosis was the lump is a phyloides tumor of the breast. It definitely has to be taken out. Due to its size, the doctor cannot do it under local anesthesia. I have to be put under general anesthetia and while I am 'sleeping' they will check the tissues from the breast mass to rule out phyloides. But if it turns out to be phyloides, they will take out ALL of my left breast. It was hard hit on me. It never crossed my mind that I will be left with just one breast at 30.

At this point though, I am more worried for Mommy than for me. She did not get any sleep last night. She's really scared I might end up like my grandmother. I was not able to get a decent sleep either but I vowed to stay tough. I kept looking at Maia and thinking how small and fragile she is. I need to stay healthy for her. Then I just prayed. Felt better after that. I thought, one breast is better than cancer. At least it's not cancer (--yet). But with all the support from family and friends, I know I will get through all this. God just wants our family to be a lot more stronger that's why he keeps sending us these challenges.

So this week, when I'm finally cleared for surgery, I will try my best to stay tough. I have prayers to guide me through. And my Maia to give me strength.

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