Back at the beginning of October, my body decided that torturing me with the whole possible cancer thing was so much fun, it didn’t want to stop. But rather than directly dangle the worry of the big C in front of me, it decided to play coy, to the point that all these weeks later, I’m still not sure what’s wrong with me.
But, before I get into specifics, here’s the final chapter (I hope!) in the Lumpy and Leaky saga. Instead of the huge post I planned, detailing my surgical adventure, I figure I’ll just skip ahead to the end.
Why was Leaky leaking? The Answer is…
My official diagnosis –
Breast, right, duct excision:
– Minimally proliferative fibrocystic change without atypia
– Duct ectasia with mild periductal chronic inflammation
– Negative for in situ or invasive carcinoma
Translated into normal speak –
~ She’s a bit lumpy too, but no signs of anything troublesome
~ The bleeding came from a milk duct aneurysm (which the surgeon removed)
~ NO CANCER!
While I had an unexpected bout of leaking again during the recovery process, in all things have progressed well, if EXTREMELY slow. There’s still a slight bit of swelling, but the hematoma (just below the incision) is now only about an inch or two long and the pain from the pressure is almost completely gone. Almost.
A new kind of pain
One fine October morning – in fact, the day before our 28th wedding anniversary – I woke up while laying on my left side (my position of choice since the vertigo hit). Naturally, I used my right hand to push myself up into a sitting position. Mid push, it felt like an electrified fiery needle-nosed gun appeared under my hand and shot pain bullets all the way up to my shoulder. A few seconds later, I realized I couldn’t move my right thumb very well. After
hours and hours a brief moment of cursing and crying, I took some ibuprofen, then tried resting and icing it.
However, by midday, the pain felt like it was radiating to the rest of my hand, so hubby took me to our local Urgent Care. They gave me a spiffy new brace, and a diagnosis of a pinched nerve (which the doc emphasized was not related to carpal tunnel, though not sure why that makes a difference). Before leaving, I also promised to follow up with my PC.
Not a hard promise to keep, because I’d been having little things happen since this whole health fiasco started in July. I called and spoke to my PC’s nurse about my litany of concerns – primarily, I’ve been having chest pain, and cold water trickle sensation on the right side of my forehead (which I’ve heard can be a symptom of migraines). Also, since the nerve thing in my right hand happened almost exactly a year after my right knee injury, it made me wonder if some kind of auto-immune disorder (like Mixed Connective Tissue Disease) was at fault. She recommended coming in a few days later for a visit, so my PC could set me up with appropriate tests.
Our eldest kindly agreed to bring me to my appointment (she’s my designated driver, because friends don’t let friends cry and drive). Good thing, too. Usually it takes me a few minutes to break down, but I set a new record – there were tears before there were words. My PC did an in-office EKG, and said the result was “abnormal” (finally a test that understands me!), and set up referrals for further testing (a brain MRI, a throat/carotid artery scan, and a cardiac stress test). She gave me lab work for about ten thousand blood tests, and said if my symptoms got worse, I should head straight to the ER.
Time for a little R & ER
Needless to say, when I woke up three days later (a Sunday morning, of course) I had new symptoms – in addition to chest pain and a cold water trickle sensation in my head (something I’ve always associated with migraines, even though I’ve never been diagnosed with one), I had mild back spasms and pain running down my left arm. Even more disconcerting, I was seeing flashes of light randomly in the corner of my right eye, and the vision in that eye was blurry. Since hubby had already headed to work, I decided to take a couple of Excedrin (my late dad’s go-to cure for his migraines) and give it a little time before I raised an alarm.
By late morning, when there was no change, I sent hubby a message and asked if he’d be able to take me to the ER when he got home. I won’t repeat the words he said about waiting another four or five hours – suffice to say, thanks to his amazing boss, he immediately headed home (and only after I convinced him I wasn’t in distress enough for an ambulance).
The staff at the hospital was totally and completely amazing, and had me hooked up to monitors and such almost before I could shed a tear (to be fair, I started crying when the receptionist asked, “Name?”). Five hours and an EKG, chest x-rays, head CAT scan, and two blood tests later, they didn’t see any reason to admit me. Everyone was attentive and kind, and they made sure that hubby & I were okay with the decision to send me home. We were, especially since I had all the tests scheduled for that upcoming week. The ER doc said something to the effect of, “We don’t do long term fixes here. If it’s going too slow, we speed it up. If it’s going too fast, we slow it down. The rest of it is up to your regular doctors.”
So I spent the next six days (who knew the MRI department was open on Saturdays?) having my neck ultrasounded, my brain scanned, and my heart tested. At the end of each visit, the comments were all very similar – “I don’t see anything that would cause concern, but I’ll send these to your PC.” In all but the cardiac test, she agreed. During my followup appointment with her, she said some skipped beats showed up during the exercise part of my heart EKG, so she wanted me to check in with a cardiologist in the near-ish future (which will be in about a week).
I asked her if wearing an eye patch over my right eye would help the cloudy-with-a-chance-of-lightning thing. She said it was certainly worth a try, and at the very least would lessen the annoyance of it. She also gave me the name of the ophthalmologist office she uses, and suggested I check in with them.
Suddenly I See – or at least, I will soon
When I called to make an appointment with the eye doc, the nurse receptionist asked me bunches of questions about my symptoms and general health. Then she said, “You know, with the symptoms you’re describing, we’d really like to get you in today. Does 6pm work?” I told her I’d make it so. Then sent hubby yet another, “Hey hon, would it be possible…” message. He got home from work just in time to get me there.
After an extensive exam, he told me I’m not going blind (because obviously, that’s what the voices in my head were whispering). Apparently, the lightning flashes, blurriness, and sudden increase in floaters in both eyes are all the result of posterior vitreous detachment. While it’s extremely annoying at the moment, he said my vision should start to clear up over the next few weeks. He scheduled another exam 6 weeks out, and said he’d adjust the prescription for my glasses and contacts accordingly, and I should be able to see just fine.
Still, I’m going crazy
So here I am, a bazillion tests later, and no one can explain exactly what’s up. My eyes are slowly clearing, but the rest of my symptoms keep dropping in to say, “hi.” For example, when the outside temperature dropped dramatically late last week, my vertigo was back with a vengeance. And just to keep things interesting, I’ve noticed some intermittent tremors in my right hand. I still have upcoming appointments with a neurologist, cardiologist, and my PC – I’m hoping we can get to the bottom of this soon. In the meantime…