The Word of the Day: BENIGN!

It’s been a fair number of months since I’ve had to research a clinical term.  The funny thing about hearing clinical terms from doctors and nurses is that they [medical personnel] toss them out to you with all the ease of an auto mechanic letting you know the problem with your front end differential. ¶ Bonnie and I had a little scare this week after she went to see her surgeon for the standard six month check up.  Her breast surgeon, check that … her wonderful breast surgeon; Dr. Laura Norton found an unusual “lump” on our special girl’s right breast this past Monday.  This unusual “lump” needed an ultrasound for further examination.  Bonnie and I headed out to Santa Rosa yesterday after lunch wondering if we were rounding the corner into “Round Two” of our life with breast cancer.  The waiting room was full of young and older women, and once again I was the only one there with the X chromosome.  While I sat there reading a SAIL magazine about the adventures of a couple sailing their 30ft steel-hulled sailing vessel in the tropics of Madagascar it dawned on me that this is a terrible magazine for a cancer treatment center’s waiting room, and while I enjoyed the thoughts of their travels it was cruel and unusual to take a look around this waiting room knowing, or at least imagining, few of these ladies have ever experienced the anticipation of stepping off a vessel onto foreign soil … and then the silence broke with “Paul?” I met Janice who was taking care of Bonnie and there Bonnie lay on the same bed we’ve become all too familiar with.  I can honestly say that each of you “Bonnie’s Beautiful Boosters” were in that room with the two of us yesterday during this ultrasound and biopsy procedure, and it was extraordinary to be surrounded by all of you. ¶  Cindi Cantril, who I work with on the Finding Inner Strength Together (FIST) Men’s Cancer Support Group was right there with all of us providing Bonnie that common sense advice on how breast cancer is a lifelong struggle and the best thing we can do today is examine this little “lump” and have Dr. Dennis McDonald provide his 30 years of experience extract what looks to be “fatty necrosis”.  ¶ So two issues present itself here.  First I need to remember to research “fatty necrosis” and secondly we need to recognize the assumption that this little “lump” appears to be fatty necrosis from the ultrasound.  Man there’s a lot going on here and while Bonnie lies prone on this bed it’s all I can do to continue talking with her.  Meanwhile my mind is writing this blog faster than I thought possible. ¶ I’m rubbing Bonnie’s feet, Cindi is at the head of the bed massaging her arms while telling her it’s okay to breathe and in thirty minutes time this little lump has been extracted due to the magically experienced skills of Dr. McDonald. ¶ Bonnie sits up, looking like she’s run a marathon and wishing there was a glass of chardonnay handy which of course will be taken care of shortly.  Now the anxiety settles in while we wait for the news from pathology.  ¶ All of this went down yesterday afternoon.  We rode the HOV lane all the way back to our wonderful little home and settled in outside under the sun with a glass of wine while the crowd at Fenway filled their seats for their first game against the Orioles and the Celtics were conducting their pre-game warm up for Game 5 of their playoffs against the Miami Heat.  See the priorities in our lives?  While we marveled at the plants in the backyard and played with our great old English bulldog there were a number of phone calls to friends and family and we knew damn right well the meal we had planned earlier in the morning was not going to make it to the table … the kids are coming home from their jobs and I assumed my spot for the ball game while Bonnie took retreat on the couch under her favorite blanket.  “Chinese food anyone?”  ¶ The SOX dropped their opener and the CELTICS demoralized the Heat while we enjoyed the offerings from Kwei Bin. ¶ All of this went down before the sun set along the river … now it was time for Bonnie to get a good night’s rest before the phone call tomorrow. ¶ The mornings’ dawn blasted its way through the windows this morning and my bride slept peacefully … so I set a course for work while we wait. ¶ So here’s today’s definition in case you thought I forgot: ¶ Breast Fat Necrosis“After breast surgery or after a breast injury – from sports, accidents, or a seat belt burn – you may develop a lump.  These types of breast lumps are called breast fat necrosis, because they are made of bruised, injured, or dead fatty tissue. ¶ The problem with fat necrosis in the breast is that it often looks like breast cancer, even though it is benign.  Fat necrosis may take many forms and is hard to diagnose.  Fat Necrosis is a benign (there’s that word again) condition that can occur in your breast.  It consists of fatty tissue that has been bruised, injured, or has died.  Fat necrosis can result after any type of breast surgery, from biopsy to reconstruction.  Once fatty tissue has been injured or has died, it can gradually change into scar tissue or may collect as liquid within an oil cyst.  Fat necrosis does not lead to the development of breast cancer, but is may sometimes cause breast pain.” ¶ I did not know this definition yesterday, but nearly twenty hours after we headed off together to explore this little “lump” we now know this lump was in fact fat necrosis and the pathologists have confirmed – yes confirmed – it is BENIGN. … ¶ and that ladies and gentlemen has been our morning!




4 thoughts on “The Word of the Day: BENIGN!

  1. Yes, friend, that is a beautiful word! Thankful to read it. My love to you and the girls! Give B a HUGE hug for me!

  2. Thank you Lord!!! All our prayers have been answered. Give Bonnie a big kiss all the way from CT. xo

  3. Pingback: breast cancer microcalcifications

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