I'm one of the few. I can't get any old cancer. And I can't get the more common ductal carcinoma that grows in the milk ducts as 86% of all breast cancer does.
Going for the more exclusive kind of thing that only
12% - the surgeon says 8% which makes it even more exclusive - have, I opted for infiltrating lobular carcinoma which gets it start in those cute little milk making lobules that I apparently have lots of if judging by my capacity to generate breast milk back in the day.
So that's where these weirded out cells that for some reason mutated as they grew started replicating themselves
And what I'm learning is that running out of room for their fun in a little lobule these bad boy cells then firmed up and worked their way into the tissue around the lobules, making the move from a nice little carcinoma in situ (in situ = stays put and doesn't make bad with the neighborhood) to invasive or infiltrating carcinoma.
The tricky thing with Invasive Lobular cancer is that it forms in long pushy chains of cells that reach out like tentacles and weave in and around other cells but this does not cause immediate lumps.
So instead of getting the typical cancer lump you get a thickened area. It gets even trickier though because this only happens after there are enough cancer cells to make a big difference.
Eventually - as in my case - what you feel is more thickening, a kind of general texture change in the part of your breast that has been invaded with the cancer cells.
Great. So I've been invaded. And worse, I don't know what to tell you about thickening other than don't think it's nothing like I did until it got so thick it was indeed like a kind of big firm area that was as close to a lump as I found.
And the reason I cant give you much guidance is that even my diagnostic Radiologist said that when he was looking for a problem it still wasn't evident on the mammogram. It took the ultrasound scan to have it show up.
And by that time it was not a small cluster of cells. We knew the minute it showed up on the screen what it was. It was a big dark mass and did not look happy.
I've got tiny but long strands of sturdy fishing line in my chest capturing the good cells and having a field day.
It's not an easy picture to see.
It's not an easy problem to solve.
It's not an easy path through this forest.
But if you show up you get to learn about it along with me.
I can use some company along the way.