Saturday, August 18, 2012

I'd Rather Spend My Energy Another Way....

Blackberry cobbler pie. IN a milkshake. Bliss. 

So I'm always learning something over here in Autoimmune Julia Land.

Today's lesson?

Being a worry-wart requires as much energy as driving to Macy's and trying on Mother-Of-The-Bride dresses. Or pulling weeds in my blueberry patch. Or spray-painting wicker furniture.

Actually, my most recent hand-wringing session sucked up more energy than any of those things. It all started a couple days ago when I noticed a lump in my breast. My mother had breast cancer, so I do self-exams regularly and keep current on my mammograms. So I was a bit alarmed when I discovered the pea-sized thing. And became even more concerned when a red inflamed area developed around the lump.

I began typing as fast as I could on Google Scholar, and immediately wished that I hadn't. Several studies popped up linking breast cancer with autoimmune thyroid disease. And, of course, Hashimoto's thyroiditis is one of my little autoimmune friends.

Breathe, Julia. Just breathe.

 I kept reading and learned far more than I ever wanted to about a specific type of breast cancer which presents with a red and inflamed breast: inflammatory breast CA.

The advice nurse responded to my breathless reporting of symptoms in a calm, collected manner; and (bless her heart) booked an appointment for me for the very next morning. I hung up the phone, and began to try to disengage Worry Wart Julia and enter the Nurse Julia mode.

WWJ: It's a lump! It's RED! Mom had breast cancer! How am I going to schedule a mastectomy and chemo around D#2's WEDDING? This would be SO INCONVENIENT! I'm pacing! And sweating!

NJ: The lump is pea sized, yes.......but it's very superficial. And it is reddened, but the area isn't really especially warm to the latest mammogram was just in April and was completely normal.......Hey, now, girl! Sit down, for cryin' out loud. You're going to fret yourself into exhaustion.


NJ: OK. Inflammatory breast cancer is very unusual, and the erythema associated with it usually covers a third of the breast or more....this redness is only about the size of my thumbnail....


NJ: Since this lump is so close to the skin surface, I'm thinking this is probably just an infected cyst, or something like that. Still, it's a good thing to get checked, especially since I have a family history of CA, and being immunosuppressed makes infections more likely for me.

WWJ: CANCER!! PIE SHAKE!! JOHN!! CANCER!! PIE SHAKE.........(moments later after a quick ride in Goldie).....slllluuuuurrrrrppppp. Mmmmmm. Delish. Thanks, babe. You going to finish that? .::points spoon at brownie sundae placed in front of husband::.

After which I crawled into bed, totally exhausted.

I'm so glad to report that Nurse Julia got it right. It's an epidermoid cyst. I celebrated WWJ's departure by stopping by WalMart and treating myself to new underwear. And vegetables. To offset the pie shake.

No, I'm not going to post a picture of my new granny panties. 

Whew. Being a worry wart is hard work.


sue said...

Glad to hear things are ok. It is scary to find something in your breast.

cargillwitch said...

lol I am a lactation consultant ( as well as a nurse) and if you had phoned me I would have told you you had a plugged duct and you needed to nurse more- take off your underwire bra and rest up.!But not having a baby nursing I guess getting more veggies ( albeit at this time of year you must have a local organic farmers market around!) would be the best suggestion.
Even if our rational side tells us not to worry, the worry gene is a strong countervoice, I carry it myself.

Gill said...

Forget the need for chemo - all the radio waves from the mobile phone are probably dealing with eveything in that area! Glad everything alright.

Laura said...

Yikes. I would have been worrying too. I am glad that nurse Julia was right!

Anita Rowe Stafford said...

Oh Julia! Now I need a milkshake and a nap after your story! So glad all is well!

Omgrrrl said...

Perfect post.

Julia Oleinik said...

Thanks, everyone!
Cargillwitch: You're right -- local organic would have been much better tomatoes, but believe it or not, our walmart has started carrying some organic produce.
Gill -- Yikes. Hadn't thought of the bra/phone/boob connection. Good call. Call. Get it? Get it?
Anita -- you need a PIE milkshake. Trust me. Totally.

annie said...

So glad it wasn't more serious, Julia. Thankfully, with your nursing background you were able to talk it through and come to the right coclusion.There's always something to deal with, but thankfully we have pie milkshake to help!