Learning New Words

Yesterday held a full day of learning new words, starting with the ones from the air conditioner repairman, who spewed a bunch of terms that splattered around me like ketchup squirted from five paces. Since I didn’t get to write all the terms down and analyze them, I can only guess what they mean. It’s an educated guess, though: We’re gonna have to pay a ton o’ money for the privilege of conditioned air this year. When he simplified all his technological words for me, I learned we had to buy a new AC unit. Not just the fan and compressor unit outside, but that monstrosity that gets a closet to itself inside too. While we’re at it, we’re going to get one of those new-fangled digital-display temp controls, too. Goody.

The other words I studied yesterday came from this comment on a Xeroxed page handed to me during my doctor appointment: “Intermediate to high grade ductal carcinoma in situ with variable comedonecrosis, cribriform primarily, secondary solid with associated microcalcifications. . . ”

That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? Basically it means I have breast cancer.

I’m weird enough to study the etyology of words, and since this sentence held a ton I’m not familiar with, I broke it down to words, prefixes, and suffixes. Since I don’t have anything else to write about today, I thought I’d share my studies with you:

Ductal–being the ducts in the mammary gland

carcinoma–tumor tissue

in situ–Latin for “in position”

Ductal carcinoma in situ–DCIS–means there’s a cancer in one of my mammary ducts. Good news is that it is an “early form of cancer defined by theΒ absence of invasion of tumor cells into the surrounding tissue.” Yeah. I like that.

Next up: variable comedonecrosis, cribriform primarily.

variable–tendency to progress to invasive carcinoma

comedo–thickened secretion plugging a duct (term usually used for the skin condition, “black head”)

necrosis–premature death of cells in living tissue

cribriform–perforated like a sieve

So, this group of dead cells plugging my mammary duct are perforated like a sieve and have a tendency to progress to invasive cancer. Don’t like that part.

Next: secondary solid with associated microcalcifications.

Microcalcifications is easy enough: tiny specks of mineral deposits (calcium).

Which means, in the tissue sample they took during the biopsy, they found cancer and calcium. The calcium part isn’t unusual. Most people have calcium deposits somewhere in their systems, only 20% of the time are they cancerous. I happened to land in the 20%.

Finally, the really good news, which I left out above and used an ellipsis instead, is this: “no evidence of invasive malignant neoplasm.”

I know what “no evidence” means.

I know what “invasive” means.

I know what “malignant” means.

Didn’t know what neoplasm meant. Neoplasm: “an abnormal mass of tissue as a result of neoplasia, an abnormal proliferation of cells.”

No evidence of proliferation of cancer cells. No evidence the cancer has spread.

DCIS–contained cancer–comprises 15-30% of all breast cancers in men and women, ages 50-59. Highly curable. Good news. Very, very good news.

What it all boils down to is, yes, I have cancer, but the doctor is optimistic that a lumpectomy performed in day surgery and possibly an estrogen-blocking pill will be all the treatment I’ll need.

I can handle that.

After a hard day of learning new words and phrases, and research and study and letting it sink in that this really is good news for a cancer diagnosis, I decided to shift my attention and learn another new phrase: Reece’s Crispy Crunchy.

I know what each of those words mean individually, but collectively, I wasn’t sure. I mean, it’s totally new to me. More research was necessary to get a grasp of what this monumental new phrase meant.

Basically, this is a scrumptious diet-buster, weighing in at 470 calories, enough to cover at least one meal. It is crispy. It is crunchy. It is chocolaty. And it is perfectly appropriate for someone who had a good news/bad news kind of day like I did. (SoΒ BACK OFF, diet police!!!!!)

Research complete.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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26 Responses to Learning New Words

  1. Jean says:

    Mom had the same thing a couple years back. When they did the biopsy, they got all the bad stuff and she didn’t have to have any treatment at all. She’s still doing fine years later…I’m thinking 5 years now but I could be wrong on that…it’s still early in the morning. Keep your positive attitude, pray and you’ll be fine. πŸ™‚


    • Linda Yezak says:

      That’s encouraging, Jean. That’s what my surgeon is expecting for me. According to the before and after X-rays, he believes he got it all and he’s just doing the lumpectomy to make sure the margins are clean. So glad that worked on your mom!


  2. SO glad for the “highly curable” part. That part is important. I got to hear the same thing about my cervical cancer. And it turned out to be true :). It is amazing the vocabulary we learn when going through cancer. It’s something you never forget, either. At least not the meanings. Adenocarcinoma, in situ, stage 1b, has not invaded the cervical wall. (Which it should have with the size of tumor I had, but my cervix stretched to accommodate it. Hm. I see God there.)

    Oh, and by all means, you scarf that Reese’s down! I was diagnosed right after my daughter’s second birthday, and we had half a birthday cake left. Guess what I ate? πŸ˜‰ And I don’t regret a bite of it!

    You’re in my prayers!!!


  3. Betty Owens says:

    Thanks for putting it in plain English. Glad your outlook and your prognosis is good. This article certainly is.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Thanks, Betty. People hear the word cancer and are automatically frightened. I guess they have reason to be, but it isn’t always bad. Sometimes, it’s just something to deal with and move on. I’m so thankful this is one of those times.


  4. ceciliamariepulliam says:

    Oh, Linda. Rejoicing with the you for the good news, and praying for the rest. I’m with you on the chocolate. After a day like you had, a chocolate indulgence is a requirement – and the diet police won’t care.


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Well, I did leave out some of the facts. I couldn’t decide which candy bar I wanted, so I came home with Mounds, Almond Joy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Reese’s Crispy Crunchy. But in my favor, I only ate the Mounds, half the Almond Joy, and half the CC. I have an entire package of PBCs left!


  5. Joanne Sher says:

    I’ve been in that land before with my wonderful hubby. How about polycytic astrocytoma? craniopharyngioma? optic glioma? And a bunch of others. SO VERY glad your prognosis is good. Praying. And that chocolate sound YUMMY!


    • Linda Yezak says:

      Wow, Joanne–that sounds like a frightening list! The only things I recognize are “cranio,” pharyn,” and “optic.” That sounds terrifying and extensive. But he’s okay, right?


  6. I–like you–take bad news better with humor. Sometimes that’s the only way I can take it. This is a scary time for you and your family. I’m adding this to my continuing prayers for you, Linda. Please keep us informed. Hugs.


  7. Lynne says:

    I’m impressed with your command of those new words. I’m in awe of your wonderful attitude. I’m convinced that everything is going to go sooo smoothly. And I’m envious of your snack menu. πŸ™‚ Chocolate (and coffee) are God’s gifts to help us through those bad days. You are an amazing woman, Linda Yezak!


  8. KatC says:

    Oh Linda, you’re the only one I know who can make me cry and laugh at the same time! Funny thing.. when you rattled off all of those words, I was going to Wiki them up. Thanks for taking care of that for me!

    Enjoy the Crispy Crunchy.Thanks for the photo – now I’ve got to satisfy a craving.

    I’m praying for you, sister!


  9. stargazer12 says:

    Thank God that I’m a fast reader. The first part of your post gave me post-condensing-willies–had to replace my AC condenser just about a month ago. Cha-Ching!
    As I eased into the second part I started crying but was able to hurry through to the good prognosis. Thank God for His mercy and love.


  10. The very fact that it’s an outpatient surgery makes it sound like everything should be back to normal before you know it! You’re in my prayers all the time right now. Enjoy that Crispy Crunchy bar!


  11. I’d say eat two of those. At least. On the journey with you from afar.


  12. HisFireFly says:

    Praying for peace, healing and total enjoyment of each and every chocolate bar!


  13. Walk says:

    Beautiful is cancer free for around 15 years now. Good news is round the corner and the Master Healer is on the job. We will be praying for you. You know they can’t keep us Feb.11th folks down for long.

    And think just how cool you’re going to be soon.


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