Monday, May 09, 2011

The Totally Backwards MRI

Well, the long-awaited MRI results came in today. They were...interesting.

As you may recall from my last post, I have a large mass that has recently developed in my left breast in same location as the original cancer. Even though it did not show up on my recent PET/CT, I was insistent that something was wrong, hence the MRI which is clearer imaging for the breast.

When the MRI was done, I showed the tech the mass and asked afterward that she check to be sure she saw it. She did see it and was able to show me on the screen the area that corresponded the the mass we could see and feel. I left happy in the knowledge that it had indeed been captured and would be properly analyzed.

So, the good news is that the mass is nothing to worry about (and I now believe this since two different imaging systems agree). The radiologist referred to it as likely post surgical changes (interesting, since I never had surgery) but classified it on the BI-RAD scale (1 being nothing seen at all and 5 being without a doubt malignant) as a Category 2, benign. I am now officially ready to put this to rest.


There are two new suspicious lumps in the right breast. I cannot feel them, and they are still quite small, about 6 mm each. These fall on the BI-RAD scale at category 4B, which means "suspicious abnormality, biopsy recommended". I immediately got out my MRI from my original diagnosis and was a bit dismayed to learn that my original cancer was classified as a Category 4C.

Why am I concerned, you may ask, since I already know I have cancer and it has already spread through my body? Because breast cancer, as far as I understand, does not spread to the other breast. It spreads out of the breast into bones, lungs, liver and brain, but does not infiltrate the healthy breast. Therefore, if these lumps are indeed malignant, they will indicate a new primary cancer.

It would be strange for me to have a second primary since I didn't have any risk factors for the first one, but I have been on a trial drug for quite some time and have received more radiation than the average person, so who knows? I suppose anything is possible. A new primary could have the same biology or completely different biology as the first one. Sometimes, even different lumps in the same breast have different pathologies. That means, if these new lumps are malignant and are not HER2 positive, they would not respond at all to the drug I am currently on. However, since these are still so small, I suspect they can likely be easily dealt with through a lumpectomy. But what do I know.

I am going to wait until I see the NP on Thursday before I get too excited about all of this, but it is definitely a setback for me mentally. There is a decent chance it may not be malignant at all. My doctor may not even recommend a biopsy at this point, preferring to wait for the next PET (in fact, I am guessing that will be his strategy). But at the end of the day, it is another thing to worry about, more tests on the horizon, more waiting and more anxiety. I would be lying if I said this was all easy to take.

Nonetheless, I am choosing to focus for now on the fact that the big mass seems to be nothing to worry about. Let's take our victories where we find them, shall we?

Now, I believe I have some children to tend to!


Kerry said...

praying for you!!

Bizz said...

Boy--nothing has been "as it seems" in all of this--it's both frustrating and worrisome, and I am sure it is really up and down for you. If I were you, and I know you pretty well, I would take a little time to rant and rave (or scream, or pray with deliberate gusto, or punch my pillow, etc.) because Suz, this is so darn difficult! And I wish (and pray daily), that you keep positive and keep fighting and most of all, don't forget how many of us you have in your court. I am sending you a giant hug from Oregon and hope to God you feel my love envelope your fighting spirit and provide it strength to continue on this journey!

Annie Bizzi said...

Obviously my post under my husband's name was from me...sorry...

Anonymous said...

God bless you. You are in my prayers.

antonia said...


Prayer that they are nothing.


Karin McAdams said...

Holding you in the Light for the best possible outcome. Have you ever read Bernie Siegel's Love, Medicine and Miracles? It's ages old; had been around for a while when I used it twenty years ago. But it helped me a lot, especially the emphasis on visualizing. Gave me some constructive things to do in addition to praying in between tests and other things.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you Suzanne. Lots of love, Mary Herbert