Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer

Wide Local Excision

by Y

I am 45 years old and have just been diagnosed with DCIS after finding a lump in my rt. Axilla a couple of weeks ago.

The lump I felt in the Axilla is 'nothing to worry about' it would seem but the mammogram showed some calcifications that needed a biopsy. Yesterday, the consultant confirmed the presence of cancer cells contained in a capsule that will be removed by surgery on 20th November. First I have to have an MRI scan (14th) to check for other hidden areas, and then I have another appointment on 15th to discuss the MRI results.


The scan has confirmed that the problem is just confined to the one area. You must all know of the agony of waiting for results so I don't need to tell you how I felt. My DH and sister went with me to see the consultant - God knows how it must be if you have no-one to lean on! I hope I never get to find out.

Surgery now planned for Tues 20th then wait for histology result on 29th.


After a good night's sleep my inner 'strength' and I were reconciled and I woke up with a sense of readiness and acceptance for whatever yesterday would bring. In complete contrast to the last two tearful days, I felt very calm.

I logged on Monday night and started reading some of the other posts. What I read without going into detail helped me to rationalise and put into perspective my own diagnosis and to face my fears. Without trivialising the diagnosis of DCIS (as let’s face it, I would much rather not have DCIS than have it), I realise that within the sphere of breast cancer diagnoses, I have been ‘blessed’ with one of the least severe forms of the disease and consequently can ‘enjoy’ a prognosis much more favourable to those devastated by more severe diagnoses. I had found my ‘clouds’ silver lining and it was shining brilliantly for me in my hour of need.

At my request I got DH* to drop me off at the hospital door at 7.30am (he has ear-ache, full of cold etc) and inside I went to the designated point of arrival where I took my seat in the waiting area. Once my obs. had been taken and I had seen the consultant who went through the Consent form with me, I was taken to the breast unit where I had another ‘boob sandwich’ and a guide wire was inserted into the ‘offending cells’ which would guide the surgeon to the centre of the ‘mass’ so that he could remove (hopefully) a clear margin all around it. (I will find out next Thursday when I get the histology results whether or not the margins were ‘clear’ and whether any further surgery, radiotherapy or hormone therapy is needed.) I got chatting to another lady in the waiting area and between us and the breast care nurse (who I cannot speak highly enough of for their care and understanding) we put the world to right and had a laugh about life in general and the trials and tribulations of having teenage children and men-folk!!

A change of plan meant I was taken to a different ward than anticipated. Armed with my ‘Take-a-Break Arrow-word’ puzzle book, I began my long wait for the porter who would take me to theatre. ‘Doris’ in the bed across the way (83 – bless her) was keen to make me feel welcome and offered me her newspaper to read. I thanked her and did just that, thanking her again when I returned it. We were both ‘nil by mouth’ I noticed; by now my belly was beginning to rumble, it had been twelve hours since I had indulged in a bowl of breakfast cereal.

I had no sooner lay on the bed feeling rather tired than up came the hospital porter to take me to theatre – doh!! Quickly I got into my couture net knickers and theatre gown and boarded the ‘flight’ (Oh – I wish!!). Once checked into theatre, Mr S. the consultant came to see me again and confirmed that he would be doing the surgery. Such a lovely man – very calming and reassuring. The anaesthetist and his assistant followed swiftly, did their pre-op checks and away we went just before 1 o’clock. I was very much at ease, in fact having a bit of a laugh with them when the anaesthetic entered my veins and a feeling of ‘wooziness’ entered my body.

“God, my throat is sore; and my boob too” were my waking thoughts as I came round in the recovery department very aware that I did not feel sick. It was my first general anaesthetic and I had heard of people being very sick after one that I was sort of expecting it. I couldn’t believe it was all over and done with – much to my great relief. I noticed that it was about 20 past 2. I was quite sore but a couple of shots of i.v. painkillers later it was much more bearable and I returned to the ward, slipping across from the trolley into my bed for a delicious, cosy little catnap. I felt very warm, the ward was quiet and that sense of relief carried me off to sleep hazily aware of the arm cuff intermittently inflating to check my BP.

Orange Lucozade, Chicken mayonnaise sandwiches and Raspberry Bio yoghurt – my post-op ‘banquet’ and very welcome too. I’m sure that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip could not have enjoyed their diamond wedding banquet as much as I enjoyed my post-op feast.

I felt great – even better when my sister arrived at six to take me home just after Mr S. had been to see me again and I thanked him for his neat needlework. I showed her my scar which is only covered by some glue substance. I have to say, I was expecting to see a hollowed out area of breast but far from it (yet anyway), it looks ok, I doubt whether it will be at all noticeable. TTO’s refused (I had stocked up at home on paracetamol and ibuprofen) I left the ward.

Unimaginable thirst and a dry mouth followed me all the way to my sister’s house where a most welcome cup of coffee with plenty of milk and a fig roll allowed me to spend half an hour or so there with DS (who had slept over the previous night and was keen to do so for one more night – probably because of his cousins’ PS3 among other things!!). Escorted home by darling sister and DS so he could collect the schoolbooks he needs for today, I spent some time with DH, filling him in on today’s events before climbing into bed about 8.30pm aware of the television on downstairs a bit louder than usual because of DH’s blocked ears – not that it prevented me from falling into a deep sleep.

So, there you have it; well and truly shared for those who wish to share it with me. All I have to do now is wait until the 29th when I should find out whether the cells are low, intermediate or high grade cells together with any implications for the future.

I am so glad to have put the last three weeks behind me.

Y then needed a Sentinel Node Biopsy SNB

* DH - Darling Husband
   DS - Darling Son