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Stereotactic biopsy scar?
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Stereotactic biopsy scar?

Hello I am 37 yrs old mother of 4 kids, no history of breast cancer in my family. Found bloody nipple discharge in my left nipple back in March wasn't able to see a Dr. until June(no insurance). Got a mammogram, found suspicious microcalcifications only on left breast, with a BiRad 4 and am scheduled for a stereotactic biopsy on the 22nd. Just wondering for those that have had the procedure done, how big or small is the incision, were you able to return to normal activities quickly? I have been relatively calm about this since I found out, haven't told anyone except my fiance and my sister(she's watching the little ones while I go in to see the Dr.) haven't even told the older kids yet.

I'm glad I found this site as even though I've been calm on the outside, I've been scouring the internet trying to learn as much as I can to prepare myself and it's hard not to be able to talk to anyone else especially when they have no idea what I'm going through.

Also wondering how many that have nipple discharge have it be cancer.
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Dear Family Jules,
One biopsy I had, I had a very small needle scar, like a red dot, left there, still there years and years later.  Another biopsy I had, there was an incision, and I cannot see it now.  That one, they sterilized the incision, put a bandage on the place, then wrapped my chest with a tightened wide kind of bandage thing.  They told me not to lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk on that side, and I forget how long that lasted, several days, which the nurses who help you with yours will tell you how to deal with it.  It does not hurt particularly, I did my usual stuff, but no cleaning house, no running or exertion type stuff, so the cut will heal properly, I just cannot recall how many days.  Also had to change the bandage a few times.  I did, however, have what I guess is a typical a bruising situation maybe an inch below my skin, where a little bleeding apparently happened, and the bleedy part became a hardened place about an inch in size for perhaps a month.  Eventually everything softened up and I forgot all about it.  But you won't need to lose work or anything, unless you do physical work.  I don't know about discharges you asked about and their meaning as concerns cancer, tho.

As for finding support if you unfortunately wind up with a cancer diagnosis, there is our medhelp forum right here where people do come and talk about it, there are some older threads that some women have gone straight thru from biopsy to final treatment with their exchanges, and then there are other websites out there that are very large and only talk about breast cancer, they are particularly great if you do get involved in a lot of treatment that you have questions about, breastcancer.org is one I know about.
When I first suspected cancer, I also did not tell anyone except my husband.  I myself was taking a while just to tell him, because I had to first deal with it personally, the entire issue of cancer, illness, possible death, just every emotion imaginable pushed me around for a couple weeks there.  And even tho I felt I was prepared, when I sat down with the cancer surgeon and he told me what I had, an outline of the treatment plan, and a very quick scheduling of sending me here, there, and yon to get this, that, and the other done, now THAT was overwhelming.  I simply could not believe how involved everything got in such a big hurry, and took a few days to process it enough to where I could think about other people and telling them, which is also a hurdle.

The main thing I can tell you, just as a primer on all this, is you do manage to adapt to what becomes this change in plans in your life, you adapt to any demands of treatment, and you can even put this disease in a category in your mind (you have a disease) so that life can go on, life can remain both amusing and meaningful in spite of concern and stress.  Different people accept the whole thing at different speeds, but there is always lots of hope, your doctor is your lifeline to getting to the finish line healthy, which you DO count the days for the end of treatment, and support groups either in your town or at a good online website help you with day-to-day living, general support, and answers to all sorts of questions that come up whilst dealing with what you never knew was such a complex matter before.

I hope the best for you, I hope your biopsy results turn out to be something different than cancer.  But if it is cancer, you will be able to handle it, altho it's not the easiest thing in the world.  It becomes this part of your life that you didn't expect.  But the women I have come across who have already been through the whole thing, they are very encouraging always about their experience.  It's a process, to be sure, but like any event in life, you experience it, you feel emotional about it, you learn from it, and you DO get through it eventually.  Oh, and I'm glad you posted today... even tho I'm fairly familiar with all this, I STILL have a need to talk about it sometimes.  
GG
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587083_tn?1327123862
Hi and welcome to our Forum.
I can surely understand your concern when radiologists recommend a biopsy.We all tend to worry,but a biopsy is a simple procedure and surely the best way to find out what's going on and put our mind at ease.The biopsy scar is very small and in time it will be almost invisible.After your biopsy,try to apply ice on your breast to minimize pain and bruising.
A bloody discharge from the nipple can be associated with many different conditions.Most often it could be an intraductal papilloma which is a noncancerous tumor.
Also,the bleeding can happen from inflammation in the ducts, reaction to drugs, dilatation of the mammary ducts(duct ectasia), and less commonly a cancerous tumor.However  the bloody discharge should be examined under the microscope(called cytological examination) Cytology is definitely recommended when the discharge from the nipple is bloody.
Now,regarding the calcifications detected in your left breast,there is a need for a biopsy procedure,since your radiologist stated a BI-RADS score 4 on your Mammogram report.
Often,suspicious calcifications turn out to be benign in most cases and malignant only rarely as these calcifications can also form near masses that aren't cancerous.
Hoping that all will turn up just fine with your biopsy results and wishing you all the best! :)
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1686908_tn?1307197390
Hi FamilyJules, discharge isn't always cancer.  My mother had bloody discharge for 3 months went in for surgery and had a benign tumor. But, 3 years later it came back and was cancer, my mom thought it was the same exact problem and let it go 4 years! Luckily it was slow growing but it required a biopsy and it grew to stage 1 while another tumor wound up stage 2 in the same breast.  It's a hollow needle that they put in using special xrays and they take out samples.  I had it done and it did hurt, I had a twilight drug but still felt it.  Mine did wind up cancer and I had a lumpectomy back in the 1990's.  If it is cancer they will let you know the stage and kind and then you with your doctor can decide what is best for you.  I chose the lumpectomy.  I didn't want just chemo or radiation  and hope it was killed, I wanted it gone out of there period and it was small enough I was able to have the lumpectomy and not a masectomy.  All suspicious lumps are not cancer, all bleeding is not from cancer.  The waiting is the worst part, you want it done and overwith and back to life.  I will tell you one thing, cancer or benign, knowing it's there and all the possiblities makes you realize how much life means and you learn to appreciate people and life much more. Please let us know the results of the biopsy.  huggggs, Tina
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you all for replying back to me. I am truly thankful for the great information you have passed to me. You are right, waiting is the worst part. I feel like my life is at a stand still til I get the biopsy and find out the results.

After reading your experiences, I feel a little less apprehensive about having the procedure done. When I went to get my mammogram done and they scheduled me for my biopsy that day, they showed me the room where I'd have the biopsy and the table I'd lay on and told me what the procedure entailed, but I was in a bit of a haze and with so much information being passed to me, I couldn't think of anything to say or ask. Even though she said they would put a topical anesthetic, days later after everything finally sunk in, my thoughts were of how much pain or scarring it would cause. I tend to scar easily. I know it's vain, especially since this is my life, but the thought of my breast being mangled just makes me cringe. How horrible am I?

I will keep you all updated and thanks again for taking the time to write me and give me your experiences and all your well wishes, I truly appreciate it.

Jules
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Update: Went in to get the biopsy, the poor gals spent over an hour trying to get the mammogram to focus on the area of concern that they really wanted to biopsy (behind the nipple) but couldn't get close enough to the area so now I've been rescheduled to have a consult with the general surgeon to get a surgical biopsy.

Great now I know there will be a nice scar. Since they will have to put me under, they won't let me drive home. Now another waiting game continues, my appt for just the consult is on Monday who knows when the actual surgery will be. I swear the waiting is more torturous! I want to run away from this and just forget about it, but of course I can't.

Here's a bit of the funny thing from today, so my Dr. prescribed to be lorazepam to take before the biopsy (she forgot to tell me that I should have someone drive me home) since they had told me that I could drive myself home when I had scheduled the biopsy, I didn't think twice about it and told my fiance not to come with me since he would have to take time off work. They asked me if I had taken anything and I told them I had taken lorazepam and long story short, they said I shouldn't drive home. They equated it to be like almost driving drunk. All I really felt was just sleepy. Ryan works about 45 min away and he was in a few meetings today so I knew he couldn't just drop what he was doing and leave to come get me so I got in my car, locked all the doors and slept it off for almost an hour. I woke up somewhat refreshed and drove home. I'm sure people who parked next to me thought I was a bit crazy looking conked out in my car. Was that bad of me?
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587083_tn?1327123862
Hi again,
Well,you made me chuckle imagining you "Conked out" in your car  LOL....I guess that having no other options,it was wise of you to nap a little before driving home.
A Surgical biopsy scar is not as bad as you think it is.I had a lumpectomy 3 years ago and the incision was made around the edge of the areola.Actually I cannot see the scar at all, except a little dent where the lump was removed.
I know,waiting to find out what's going on, is so stressful,but these medical procedures take time and are done one step at a time.We always advise members to keep as busy as possible while waiting, since this is the only thing ,you and everyone of us can do to make the time seem shorter.
I would like to thank you for the update, (and the chuckle!) and again I wish you all the best! :)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, there,
I had to laugh at your Valium experience, too! I'm glad you "slept it off" too even though someone might have thought you were intoxicated! Better than a car accident for sure!
My second biopsy required a needle localization prior and I was more scared of that than the biopsy, because I'd be totally out for the excision. My primary care doctor prescribed Valium the night before and morning of the procedure which I gladly took. Like you, I told them at the surgery center I'd taken it and they almost cancelled my surgery, even though my husband was there to drive me home! They said I couldn't sign my consent because of it. I was nearly a wreck after waiting so long to even get this done, but fortunately, I had signed the consent in my surgeon's office the week before. All I could think of is all the people who drive, bank, sign wills and contracts, work, care for children, etc. while on Valium and do just fine! I know they're only trying to be super careful, but I didn't appreciate it at the time! Sorry this is a long story, but I thought you could relate.
I've had 3 excisional biopsies-two separate scars on my left, one of those used again two years later and one on my right for removal of two suspicious microcalcification areas.
Honestly, the scars aren't bad at all and I have no deformity of my breasts. Only the one they used twice is a little red but the other two are almost gone and the last one was from October '09. I used a product called Scarzone on them and I think it really helped. Of course, everyone heals differently and it depends on the surgeon and how much needs to be removed but I hope this makes you feel a little better. The most important thing is to know for sure what's going on and move on from there. Please keep us updated if you wish-- there are very thoughtful, caring women here.
I wish you an easy biopsy, benign results and all the best,
nc
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Hi all,
Just wanted to thank you both for your replies. It has helped quell a lot of my fears. I'm glad you got a chuckle out of my lorazepam experience haha.
I came back from my consult with the surgeon today. She was nice and informed me that they will do another mammo on me and put a wire in the area of the califications then she will do the biopsy where the wire is using the area around my aerola to help hide the scar, yay! She also wanted to use a probe where my nipple is bleeding and follow the duct to see if it is in the same area and if not she'll take more biopsy samples.
I'm scheduled for the surgery on the 7th and we are suppose to be going on a 3 day vacation minus the kids on the 8th. Ryan was a bit upset as I didn't consult him, but I didn't want to wait any longer and they only do surgeries on Thurs as that's the only days where both the surgeon and radiologist are available and my surgeon will be gone on the 14th and I just didn't want to wait til the end of the month. Sorry for rambling, my question is how did you both feel the next day(s). He thinks I will be out of it and basically bed ridden. How did you gals recoup?
Honestly, when they told me the surgery date, I just said ok. I didn't think about who, what or anything else it would affect, I feel like a little kid being told all this information and can barely think of anything and really haven't processed any of it as if it's really happening to me but rather it's happening to someone else and I'm just standing in for them. Does that make any sense?
Oh, ncmichigan I thought about your experience and I asked if I could take lorazepam before the surgery and she said it was ok. :). She had me sign the consent before I left today.
Thanks again!
Jules
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587083_tn?1327123862
Hi again,
I am glad that a date has been settled to have your biopsy done.A vacation can always be postponed ,but your health is a priority and more important than anything else.
It's hard to guess how long pain will last,because sometimes there could be some nerve irritation due to the surgery and it can take longer for the pain to subside As you well know,we all feel and tolerate pain differently.
I had a lumpectomy and when I woke up after my surgery,I had no pain and was able to leave the hospital 2 hours after.That same night,I applied ice on the breast,wore a sport like bra to bed and took a couple of Tylenol.My experience after surgery wasn't bad at all and I remember preparing supper the day after....Well,to be perfectly honest I just warmed some left over from the day before LOL....
The only thing that I can tell you is to take it easy for a week or so ,don't lift heavy things and apply ice packs as soon as you can to minimize bruising and pain.I am sure the nurse will give you more instructions and pain killer before you leave the hospital.
Usually these type of procedures are well tolerated and the scar is minimal.
Wishing you all the best and benign results! :)



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Hi, Jules,
I sure hope you have an experience like zouzi's or mine---none of my excisional biopsies was bad at all. I was out for all three, woke up in recovery and went home shortly after. I basically slept most of that day, but was fine the next. I even went dancing the next night and that was with two incisions! Like I said, everyone responds differently but I think easy
experiences far outweigh the bad ones from what I've seen here. Your scar should be minimal, too, and no, you're not abnormal to hope you don't end up with a mangled breast.
I'm glad I shared my Valium experience and you were able to get that taken care of prior to the day of surgery! It did help make me feel more relaxed for the needle loc--that wasn't bad at all either the first time. The second time I had two areas and two needle locs, and that was a bit rougher. I was trying SO hard not to move that I stopped breathing, too and almost passed out! But even that was tolerable and the staff was very kind and helpful.
From what everyone says here, the hardest part will be the wait for the results. (I knoe zouzi & I agree on that!)  Most of all, I'm hoping all goes well and the path results are benign. Take care and we'll be thinking of you and hoping for the best,
nc
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You must be thinking, wow I didn't think I'd be writing so soon, I know, did I have my surgery already? That was a quick recovery....NOT!!!

So I go through all the trouble to get insurance and be truthful to my Dr. telling her when I think the issues first started and now the insurance company is denying my surgery saying it's a pre-existing condition since I told the Dr. it happened before I got coverage and since the surgeon wants to also do a nipple exploratory surgery that was the pre-existing condition. I got a letter today saying I'll be eligible for coverage of a pre-existing condition in Feb 2012. Multicare suggested I try for pre-existing insurance coverage (pcia) or for financial aid through Multicare. I call financial aid and they said I have to apply and sent me an application. I called PCIA and they told me since i have insurance (mind you it's a month into it) that I'm not qualified for PCIA. I told them if I knew that the insurance company would deny me and say it's a pre-existing condition I would have just applied with them. She said I know but it's the rules. You can apply in 6 mo after you cancel your insurance. The nurse told me the total cost of the surgery with hospital fees, etc would be a little over $16k. So now I'm living on a prayer that I get approved of the financial aid. What and how much they will cover is whatever they decide to do.

So for now my surgery is cancelled and coincidentally the past couple of days, I've been getting shooting pains in my left breast near the nipple that only last about 10 to 15 secs.

You would think insurance companies would want to be proactive and fix something before it becomes something major, but no. I think they are hedging their bets that people will die before they have to pay out on fixing what is now something major.

Sorry I'm a bit ticked and tired of this whole process.

Thanks for listening and letting me rant.

Jules
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm so sorry to hear about all your problems with your insurance. When you have struggles like this, it's hard not lump all the insurance companies into "the big, bad insurance company" bag. Some can be a real pain, but some insurance companies can also be a real blessing when we need them. I've never understood why they don't want to cover preventive care or even something as simple as vaccines and birth control. It would seem way more cost-effective that covering the illness or unwanted pregnancy, but they don't seem to see it that way. In any case, maybe you could consider checking with some of
the community services in your area or even with some of the cancer societies (Susan G. Komen, American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute) . I don't know that they could help you directly, but maybe they could. Or maybe they could just give you some direction and assistance in getting the coverage and care you need. Here's one web site from the NCI that gives some information on finaancial and insureance assistance:
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Support/resources. One other thing is maybe your hospital has a sliding scale fee schedule based on ability to pay and will accept very small payments spread over a very long time. Some even have a charitable organization that will cover some or all of the costs. My daughter, a "starving artist" pays only 30% of the cost of her care because of the hospital's charitable fund. (She doesn't have cancer, thank God.)
I understand your frustration completely. I get frustrated because my insurance won't cover the $75 CAD fee for my MRIs every six months, but it's nowhere near the frustration you must be feeling. At least I was able to get a diagnosis and the care I need, so I feel VERY fortunate.
I hope this helps a little and that things get resolved quickly for you. I'll be thinking good thoughts for you and hoping that you find financial aid somewhere, so you can get beyond this point of not knowing what's going on in your breast. As hard as it is, please try to stay positive and take one step at a time. Maybe some others may have some additional ideas for you, too.
I'm wishing you all the best.
nc
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1686908_tn?1307197390
What state do you live in?  HIPAA is complemented by state laws that, while similar to HIPAA, may offer more generous protections. You may want to contact your state insurance commissioner's office to ask about the law where you live. A good place to start is the Web site of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners at www.naic.org.

I am looking online to find it but I think that the Obama Administration put for a law that said you cannot be denied for any pre-existing condition. One of the hallmarks of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in March 2010 is the elimination of pre-existing condition requirements imposed by health plans. But it only applies to children right now.  Adults who have insurance and change insurance plans cannot be denied in the new plan for a condition but if you have had no coverage and just get a plan, they can deny you.

https://www.findassurance.com/lg.html?kcid=1&b1=health&in=100001423474 might be a place to look at.

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I live in WA state, unfortunately the bill for adults doesn't take into effect until 2014. I did apply for financial aid from Multicare (the hospital) and hopefully I'll find out next week if I'm approved.
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Hello all
Just wanted to give everyone a quick update, seems that God or whoever is up there watching over me has answered my prayers, just got a letter (after numerous calls of me checking on the status of my application) from Multicare and they approved me of financial aid!!!
I just rescheduled to have my surgical biopsy for Aug 4th. You don't know how much of a stress relief this is for me, although for the past few weeks I was trying to pretend none of this ever happened, that I never found the discharge and that I never went to the Dr.
Now that everything is back on track, one stress down 2 more takes it's place...
I'm trying to stay positive (which is hard for a person like me) and am hoping everything comes back benign and all that time wasted hasn't "progressed" anything and that life will seemingly return back to how it once was, but I get the feeling even if things do come back benign, peoples lives are forever affected and changed forever for there will always be something in the back of your mind telling you that you passed the test THIS time, but what about the next one...
Sorry this is suppose to be happy yay celebration that the awesome people who looked at my application came through for me. :)
Hope everyone has a great weekend, will update with surgery results.
Jules
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962875_tn?1314213636
What a relief and a blessing that you got approved for the financial aid!

But no one would expect you to becompletely happy, since anxiety will still be hanging over you until your biopsy results come back.

Wishing you all the best,
bluebutterfly
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Avatar_f_tn
That is such great news, Jules! I'm SO glad you'll be able to get your biopsy and move forward.
I can understand your fears from my own experiences, and I know everyone here has been through the same thing, so you're normal. You just have to try to not let the worry and stress get the best of you. I know it's hard to stay positive, but the odds are in your favor and the majority of biopsies do come back benign. Even some very suspicious masses or changes on mammo can come back benign. Even if the results are positive, there is every reason to be hopeful because it would be caught very early and highly treatable. At least you'll have peace of mind knowing "what is" rather than worrying about "what ifs". Just take one step at a time and as hard as it is, try to be strong.
I can also understand the questions in the back of your mind. I've had five areas biopsied in three different procedures and each one was stressful. I was diagnosed with LCIS with the last one in '09 and have had mammos and breast MRIs every six months since then due to the high risk of developing invasive breast cancer. I am a little nervous EACH time until I get the results, but I don't dwell on it. There's that little voice asking "What if it's this time?" but I tell myself, "It is what it is and worrying won't change it." I know I'm a strong woman and can deal with anything and that helps me get through it.
I hope you surgery goes well and your recovery is easy. But most of all I'm wishing you benign results. Take care and we'll be thinking of you until we get another update.
Sending you a big hug (   ),
nc
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Hi all!!!
Thank you all for your kind words and thoughts, just an UPDATE, surgery went really well, only thing that hurt a bit was when I got the lidocane injection in my breast in order to insert the wire. Otherwise, everything else was pretty much painless. The rest of surgery... well I was asleep for it the entire time.

I remember laying on the table, the nurse strapping my arms and legs down and me doing small talk about how this reminds me of when I gave birth to my oldest daughter then next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room. I was so sleepy and tired, still am a bit.

I do have to say one thing, the nursing staff there are so awesome, they were all so very nice to me.

Of course now I get to play the infamous waiting game, but at least it will be just a week.

Thanks again everyone, I am so lucky to have found you all, you don't know how much I truly appreciate it. You all give me the strength and hope to perservere and get through this!

Jules

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962875_tn?1314213636
Hi Jules,

Thanks for the update, and the news that the procedure went well for you.

You'll be in my thoughts during that wait, and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for the news to be good!

Wishing you all the best,
bluebutterfly
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587083_tn?1327123862
Hi Jules,
Glad to know that all went pretty well with your surgery and that the nurses were so helpful to you!
Don't forget to wear a good supportive bra ( even when sleeping) and apply ice on the breast to lessen pain and bruises.It did help a lot when I had my surgery.
I'll keep my fingers crossed too like bluebutterfly for good things to come...
We'll all be waiting with you and hoping for the best... :)
Take care...
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Hi, Jules,
Add me to the list of those HOPING for the best for you! I'm glad your surgery went well and I hope you go on to recover quickly.  I know the wait for results is hard, but try to stay positive and keep busy so you don't worry too much. (With 4 kids, I don't think the "busy" part will be hard at all!! The "staying postive" and "not worrying" will be a little harder, but please try!))
Take care and we look forward to hearing from you soon---we're all hoping for good news.
Hugs,
nc
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Avatar_f_tn
Ever have one of those days where you have appts booked/scheduled so perfectly even with a margin of error, but things go off the track just by one person it throws everything off for the rest of the day? I only had 3 appts scheduled for the day, son's ortho in the morning 10a, my haircut appt in the early noon 11:30a, then my biopsy results in the afternoon 1:40p.

Started off with my son waking up late, we haul butt and get to the appt just 5 min late, but of course that day the office is packed and he gets in 20 min later. His appt usually takes about 15-20 min but of course Murphy's Law had it take 40 min, so I decided to take him to my hair appt as I no longer had time to drop him off, turns out my hair dresser txts me to say he's running 10 min late. I'm thinking good, because I'll be 5 min late. When he said he was running late, I assumed he was with another client turns out his bus was running late and I was his first client, the 10 min late turned into 30 min late. No biggie, I thought, it shouldn't take more than an hour to cut my hair right? Haha, it was my first time with him so I had no idea how long he takes to do hair, it ended up taking 1.5 hrs. Of course there is no clocks in the salon what-so-ever, yup you guessed right, now I am late to my biopsy results appt. I called the office on the way there and they said they would try to fit me in and to come on in.
Well the reults are that it was a papilomatitis? benign tumor and that everything is ok. She rushed through explaining that and was rushed to go, I felt bad for already missing my appt so I only could think of was to ask is there anything that we need to do monitor wise and she just stated I needed annual mammograms now.
Great news, but is that it? Anyone else have this type of tumor without lumps and just told it's ok and nothing to worry about?
I did email her office today to ask if I could get the biopsy report so that I could read it for myself.
Thanks again for all the encouragements, sympathies and positive thoughts and wishes, you are all so awesome!!!!
Jules
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587083_tn?1327123862
Hi again Jules and congratulations on your benign pathology results!
After a benign papilloma has been removed,you don't need any special treatment to follow and recovery is excellent. As your Surgeon suggested you will only need your yearly mammogram .
An intraductal papilloma is a small mass below the nipple,and it's not unusual for the tumor to be too small to be felt. Once the growth is removed, the discharge will cease and that's the end of it.
By the way,you made me chuckle again with your story and your nearly missed appointment to get your results! LOL
Thank you for letting us know and share the good news! :)
Take care now...
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, Jules,
YAAAAAYYY! Great news---I'm so happy to hear it was benign! Thank you for sharing the news with us along with your funny story!!!
All the very best to you and your family and I hope this is the last of your scares.
Hugs,
nc
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