Sometimes I forget where my head was when all this began. I was reminded recently when Pilar sent me this email: ” I was trying to find a place where to share some HOPE for women who are waiting for their results after a biopsy and a potential diagnosis of DCIS. I relate to all those women who are confused, scared and surfing the net trying to find some good news, positive energy and success stories since I was in that situation just last week and spent many hours trying to comfort myself and think the most optimistic way possible. I wanted to learn from human beings first hand (vs. just simple stats and numbers) that there is hope but most of the material found was rather scary perhaps because those who get good news do not tend to go back and share them as they just continue on with their normal lives.”
She was searching the internet for stories of hope while awaiting test results.
There is a need for a space online for people to feel uncertain. A place to provide information “just in case.” A place to offer stories of HOPE. Yes, Pilar, I recognize your feelings. I’ve walked in your shoes and felt that “what if?” pit in my stomach while awaiting test results. So many of us have. Gosh, I’m such a planner, I’ve gone down the path of being sick, dying and making sure my funeral was planned in advance. Silly? No, reality. We are all human and as such we have a brain that continues to think – consciously or unconsciously about what is happening in our lives. When we are not in control of a situation, the brain has a hard time figuring out where to file that information. When answers are “up in the air” things may manifest themselves in worry, stress, insomnia, headaches…the list goes on, but you get the idea.
So I write today in honor of HOPE. The same type of HOPE that is inspired at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life (pictured above). The same type of HOPE that gets us through the tough times. Pilar, I understand what you are searching for; what you are feeling is alright. Thankfully, your HOPE was answered with a benign test result. Thank God! Many will receive test results today or are waiting and it is not a good space to be in, I know.
In Pilar’s words, here is what she found while she was waiting to hear test results. It was these words that gave her HOPE. She hopes if you are searching, they’ll help you too:
Some of the information found online which helped me stay positive was:
Percentage-wise: 80% of microcalcifications are benign. For BI-RADS 4B only 36% are not benign (this percentage varies based on the study/ source but this was the percentage that worked for me in my mind).
“Most often, these calcifications are associated with fibrocystic changes, including fibrosis, adenosis, sclerosing adenosis (Figure 13), epithelial hyperplasia, and atypical hyperplasias. They may occur in lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS) incidentally.”
Also, in case that I happened to be part of the smaller percentage, chances were I would be diagnosed with DCIS (vs. ductal infiltrating carcinoma) which has very good survival rates and is considered to be a precancer. Actually, a study showed that 40% of women between the ages of 40 and 50 who died from other causes and had an autopsy, were found to have DCIS. This means that in many cases DCIS does not evolve into cancer.
“DCIS is one cancer that can truly be considered curable.”
“Today, with standard treatment, 10-year survival rates for DCIS are approaching 100%, and the treatment is usually not too difficult to tolerate.”
Wherever you are on your road, whatever your test results are or will be, HOPE can be found if you just look hard enough. If you have a story of HOPE, please feel to comment on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear your story and share it too. Yes, Pilar you are right. We need to share the good news more often. Thanks for the reminder.