Having accomplished my first goal of finding a new job, I was thrilled when September 1st came along, signifying my trial window of 90 days had ended, I found myself not feeling so great at work. I had what can only be described as a mild case of vertigo. Vertigo never strikes unless I’m on my way to a serious cold, and being that I now had insurance, I called my doctor and went over to the walk in clinic. Being told that I was totally fine was great news…maybe stress or being overtired or whatever had caused this odd sensation. The NP recommended I go home for the rest of the day and get some sleep, and of course, drink lots of fluids. She scheduled a follow up appointment the week later with my new doctor, Ms. Allie, and I headed for home to sleep away being a bit dizzy.
A week later I returned not only to follow up the vertigo which had pretty much lifted, but to meet my new doctor, have a general getting to know each other session, answer health questions, and determine her plan for my health as needed. I don’t go to the doctor’s offices unless something is wrong, so being here chatting was a nice change of pace. Ms Allie did ask if I had any health concerns. I answered yes…I had a few lumps in my left breast and felt she should take a look. Being extremely ticklelish, I had to warn her ahead of time…then pick a solid spot on the ceiling to focus on and get me through this breast exam like a grown up. She confirmed that yes, there were indeed lumps, and we should schedule a mammogram. This was a Friday.
The following Friday I found myself at a local breast care center, preparing for my midday mammogram. I admit, having heard all these horrid stories of pain and prodding and pinching, I was seriously nervous. I wasn’t nervous about the lumps mind you, just the potential torture and squeezing. I was greeted and taken to a changing room…there, I put on a robe, wiped off my deoderant as instructed, and headed to the mammography room. After listening to the woman explain the process, we began. It was an easy procedure, painless, and much easier than my imagination had led me to believe. The woman told me that normally, the mammogram is the end of the process. Showing me the photos she explained that I had dense breast tissue, and that although the lumps were visible, clarification was needed
Rather than returning me to the changing room, we proceeded across the hallway for a sonogram with another woman who specialized in reading breast sonograms. The warmed gel was placed on my left breast and the process began again. Lay on your back, lay on your side, ok on your back again is fine. I was tired having worked half a day, the room was softly lit, and the bed warm and soft. In and out of sleep during the process, I have no doubt I missed a few key phrases between the two women, but in the end, I was wide awake and alert. “Based on what we are seeing, you should have a biopsy on both of these lumps. The procedure is fairly simple. After a general anesthetic, biopsies will be removed from each of the masses then sent to the lab for testing. We will call you with a date and time, probably the sooner the better. Do you have any questions?” Biopsies…the sooner the better…based on what we are seeing…”no, no questions right now.”
It was as though someone had hit me with a brick. I was wide awake now and my mind was reeling out of control. The last biopsy I had was on my cervix, on my 20th birthday, having just dropped my husband off at his submarine for a 6 week cruise. It was an awful experience…I couldn’t even enjoy my birthday. Yuck, I really don’t want to do this again! As I was returned to the changing room, the nurse reminded me that I should expect a call soon. This was Friday.
Returning home, I told my husband about my mammogram and sonogram. I told him that someone would be calling to schedule a biopsy session soon. He was slightly panicked but we agreed to stay calm until we knew more. Good plan! My sister sent me a text to see how it had gone…I told her ok and that I was going to need a biopsy as the next step in the process. I told her I felt the doctors were already leaning in one direction but that the biopsies would provide a definitive answer. She seemed satisfied with that answer. We both agreed that until we had concrete results, neither of us was going to discuss this with Mom, Dad, or any of the kids. It seemed easier to provide solid answers rather than “well, we are still waiting on test results. “