So, did you miss me? I mean, like even realize that I have not posted anything for a long time?
My co-authors, Michael and Karen, have done a great job giving you some excellent things to read. And, heck, they didn’t even know what was going on with me. Thanks, guys!
Well, here’s the short of it. You can bet that the long of it will be coming!
On 5 December 2012, I found out I very likely had cancer in my left breast. On 30 November, I had had mammograms and an ultrasound, and my BIRAD score (probability of cancer) came back as a 5. That means, in radiological terms, more than a 95% chance that the lesion/lump is malignant and that steps need to be taken with haste. The ultrasound and films also showed something suspicious in my right breast (BIRAD score 4).
Now hastily is not the way things happen down here in Mexico a lot of times, particularly when your only insurance is IMSS (the Mexican-government subsidized insurance plan). First of all, IMSS is a bureaucracy and we pretty much all know how speedily bureaucrats handle things. And, second, IMSS is pretty much overwhelmed in terms of demand for services.
While my private doctor in Joco, Dra. Claudia, and the radiologist in Guadalajara, Dr. Banuelos, both said I needed the areas biopsied immediately, likely followed by a mastectomy of the left breast, their definition of immediately and that of IMSS varied considerably. Dra. Claudia and Dr. Banuelos meant within a week. IMSS apparently meant some time within the next year or so.
On 6 December 2012, I started my IMSS journey. And after many, many, many visits to the IMSS hospital in Tlajomulco (about a 70-minute one-way drive from here) and tests done both here in Jocotepec and in Chapala, I had my biopsies and surgery done on 29 January 2013. Seemed like forever to me, but others who have dealt with IMSS are pretty much in agreement that it was done with amazing rapidity.
I just did not feel like blogging about what was going on at the time and, in fact, I didn’t even tell most of my friends. But now I’m ready to tell you some of my adventures along the way.
For the record, I DID have breast cancer, but I still have both boobs, although I’m short some lymph nodes on the left side. And I’m waiting to hear what the next step is (i.e. radiation, chemo, both, or nothing).
So that’s where I’ve been! Sure is nice to be back!