After my visit with the surgical oncologist he asked me to undergo a battery of tests. In preparation for the surgery, he wanted to make sure he knew everything there was to know about my cancer tumors. The size, locations etc.
First off, he sent me for a breast MRI with contrast to see exactly where the cancer tumors were located. This is somewhat of an uncomfortable procedure. They put an IV in your arm and then you are put face down, on your stomach, in the MRI machine. Each of your breast is squeezed in their own box or cubicle. They put a headset on you with some great music (in my case) to drown out the noise from the MRI machine. During the MRI they insert the contract fluid which initially feels cold in your vain and then you get a warm feeling in your underbelly and the urge to go to the bathroom. Eventually this passes and before you know it the procedure is over.
Second, they drew blood in the doctor’s office, which was sent off for genetic testing. The test is intended to see if you carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. These genes are most commonly associated with breast cancer. In my case they did the Myriad MyRisk Hereditary Cancer test. You can learn more about this test here. They test 28 different genes that have the potential genetic mutation for breast cancer. It turned out I did not carry the BRCA genes.
In the mean time, the results from the MRI had gotten back. There was an area of concern in my left breast. I have a bump in my right breast and it is cancer. Now I have a bump in my left breast!
I went for another biopsy. It turned out the area in my left breast was benign. This, however confirmed even further that a mastectomy was the right choice for me. I didn’t want to take any chances of developing cancer in the other breast.
Throughout this process and most of the cancer journey you are waiting, always waiting. Waiting for test results, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, waiting for surgery, waiting for the next step in the process. It’s something you will get used to but be prepared to wait a lot.