The good news is that Sophia doesn’t have invasive breast cancer.
The bad news is she has DCIS (Ductal carcinoma in situ).
What is DCIS?
DCIS is not life-threatening. It is non-invasive, and is considered the earliest form of cancer—Stage 0. Stage 0 breast cancer (sometimes called pre-cancer) is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells that is stuck inside the milk duct where it started. It has not yet figured out how to spread outside the duct or to other areas of the body.
Although this cancer stays inside the milk ducts, it is associated with an increased risk of getting an invasive cancer, or cancer that has spread to surrounding tissues, in the future. The risk of the DCIS coming back is extremely variable and depends on the size and personality of the DCIS, as well as the type of treatment. Recurrence of cancer can be either non-invasive (not life-threatening) or invasive (potentially serious). The main goal of treating DCIS is to reduce the risk of an invasive cancer later on.
Another downer is that the doctors want Sophia to come back for another surgery in the same spot– in TWO AND A HALF WEEKS from now. This will be the third surgery she’s had at Cedars-Sinai in less than two months. It seems that the DCIS was found very close to one of the margins, so they have to do a bigger surgery.
Now, remember when we bad-mouthed Cedars-Sinai for their treatment of Sophia’s mother when she was in the hospital? Remember we changed our mind about Cedars-Sinai when everyone was so kind to Sophia during her surgery? Well, we’ve changed our mind AGAIN. It seems that when the surgeon at Cedars-Sinai took out the tissue, he forgot to mark the orientation (the North and South, so to speak) of it, so now the pathologists have no idea whatsoever near which margin the DCIS is located. Apparently, doing the orienting is a standard procedure. Because of this error, the surgeon will have to cut out more tissue all around. Sophia is incredibly pissed off at the doctor for that. She insisted that I write about this detail here, but I was nervous about mentioning the surgeon’s mistake.
“Do we really want to get on his bad side?” I asked. “After all, he’s probably going to be doing the surgery again.”
Sophia was adamant.
“Don’t write about it all if you’re NOT going to tell the truth about what happened to all the people who have been waiting to hear from us.”
Sophia is pretty sad and upset. I’ve been trying to be upbeat all night, telling her to look on the bright side. It is non-invasive. But maybe I’ll shut up for a while. Sometimes, it’s good to let someone be angry, although this is an area that I’m not very good at. I never know what to say, other than “Don’t be angry and sad.”
Thank you all for your wishes, prayers, and the good cheer you sent Sophia’s way. Keep ’em coming.
“You should go back to writing your regular stuff.” said Sophia. “We all could use something funny.”