“But what about the lump in my armpit?” I asked, after just learning that my tenth annual mammogram was normal. “What lump?” asked the technician. “There is no lump visible on the mammogram.”
The radiologist assured me that even with an exam using ultrasound, the lump did not look suspicious. And that I probably needed to see a dermatologist. A biopsy was performed as a matter of precaution.
A few weeks later the biopsy results came back and I learned that I did in fact, have breast cancer. According to risk assessment metrics, I have a less than 1% chance of ever being diagnosed with breast cancer. I have no family history of breast cancer, I do not carry the genes associated with breast cancer, and I have never had an abnormal mammogram. I did feel lumps but was always reassured that they were nothing.
I can honestly say I could not have ever endured cancer treatment without the support of my family, my faith, my oncologists and my community. There are dozens of residents who made meals for our family, ran errands, provided rides to treatment, and took my kids for play dates. I greatly appreciate all of the help that I received, and in return hope to be able to help others in some way.
Three surgeries, 42 radiation therapy treatments and 4 years of oral chemotherapy have provided me with 6 years of survivorship. However, in those years of carrying my disparate medical records from place to place, I had hoped for better integration. Yesterday, the radiologist still could not access my last 6 years' worth of images for comparison despite having all of my care encapsulated in one integrated delivery system.
We have been on Epic for a few years now and there is still a lot of work to be done before I will not need to update my care team members individually on my post survivorship care plan progress.