as leanne said, nima grissom called tonight with an early and good report. there are extra cells in my ducts, but they are not a problem. as susan love suggests to do in her breast book, i asked if the pathologists were sure to actually see the calcifications on the slides, since we know they were actually removed, and she said yes. not all the calcifications were removed — she said i actually have them scattered throughout my breast, which we didn’t realize. we understand that the more scattered they are, the more typically benign they may be. originally we thought they were localized into those two places. also, there was no difference in the pathology of the two separate locations, which reinforces the idea that it’s a benign process all over my breast.
i don’t even need to schedule a follow-up appointment with dr grissom, and i don’t need to get another mammogram for another year! since not all calcifications are removed, they will probably show up on subsequent mammograms, and she says they’ll know what to do with them then. i’m not sure what would make me need to repeat a similar kind of biopsy. not sure i’d like to, but so far this hasn’t been as painful as we feared. the cuts seem to be fixing to heal nicely … eventually. no real pain yet — lots of capacity for sleeping, though…
susan love describes different stages of extra cells in the ducts on p.260/breast book:
You'll recall that I've described the breast as a milk factory, with two parts-- lobules that make the milk, and ducts, like hollow branches, that carry it to the nipples... Over the years, you can get a few extra cells lining in the branch--sort of like a fungus. This is called intraductal hyperplasia, which simply translates to "too many cells in the duct." In itself, this is not a problem. Sometimes the cells can begin to get a bit strange looking, and this condition is called intraductal hyperplasia with atypia ..."
so i have extra cells lining the duct, but they are “normal” and not “atypical.”
just to be clear, i asked dr grissom was there any “atypical hyperplasia”, and she said no, and confirmed that what is there is not an indication of subsequent risk of breast cancer.
i hope to carry this feeling of being well-taken-care of for a long while. as unpleasant as a biopsy is, i’ve had good soups, chocolates, pendants of amber, fine company, family, felines (and even a canine or two) and friends, which might not make me healthy, but it doesn’t hurt! thanks for that to all who are reading this.
in deference to the awesome work and life of Gerry Rogers, i’m renaming my weblog from the original “my left breast”, respecting the namespace of her important film, at www.myleftbreast.com. check it out…