Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Week of the Ambiguous Breast Lump - Day 1

So, I am embarking on my first blog post for this particular journey, but to really start from the beginning, I'm going to have to start about 2 weeks ago. It may take me time over the next week or so, but I will catch you up to present day soon enough.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

7:00 am - Wake up. Get in the shower. Find suspicious round red rash on breast. Touch suspicious rash, find MORE suspicious lump underneath. Freak out slightly.

7:10 am - Step out of shower. Find that suspicious rash has even more suspiciously disappeared. Think to myself, rash gone...lump gone too? No. Lump remains. Call Joe (the husband) in for first consult. Verified. Lump, indeed. Cry immediately.

8:00 am - Try calling OBGYN's office to set up immediate visit. Pointer: While the rest of the working world in the Midwest begins work by 8 or 8:30...doctors and their staff seem to think that 9-5 with a non-working lunch is a better way to go. Irritated and frustrated, I then wait until 9:00 a.m.

9:00 am - Sneak out of office to make semi-embarrassing, highly-personal phone call. Finally convince scheduling assistant at front desk of practice that I absolutely SHOULD be seen today and I'll see anyone! I get in with a nurse practitioner.

10:30 am - See Nurse Practioner for second consult, first medical consult. Yes, indeed...suspicious lump. Cry some more. Relatively nice lady out front schedules me for mammogram and breast ultrasound that afternoon.

1:00 pm - Arrive at new medical facility for the fun to come. They cover you in a lovely full length gown so that you may modestly frolic about, so you're thinking...this can't possibly be too bad...despite all the horrors of mammograms your mothers and grandmothers warned you about. Spoiler alert: Guys skip the mammogram section if this is more you ever wanted to know about what your mothers, wives, girlfriends, fiances, sisters, and grandmothers have gone through, will have to go through, or are currently going through.

The Mammogram - Okay, so you're shuffled into a room with ambient lighting in your modest floor length ground, though you only have to undress waist up, and that's where the modest ends. A young woman, who I am sure is very lovely if you were to know her on a day to day basis, yanks my arm out of the sleeve, grabs my breast like she's carrying a turkey breast to the oven to be cooked, sets the breast on a cold piece of plexi-glass and starts mushing it around. If this is not awkward enough, she then brings a second piece of glass down on top of it to squish it further. I believe mammogram technologists must be those individual whos, as children, were able to squish the playdough the flattest and have subsequently turned that into a career. Then, after asking you stand in very awkward positions, meanwhile not wearing any deoderant as they say it can mess up the pictures, she's ducking under your undeodorized arms and shifting your whole body and you boobs into the most uncomfortable positions your body has ever had to endure. Then, they do the other one. Then they do each of them from 2 more angles. They keep asking you to breath normally before the picture is actually taken, but really...who could? Huge relief when that portion ends.

The Ultrasound- Slightly less ridiculous than the mammogram and hardly worth's the same kinda thing they do to see babies in the whom. They look at the lump from different angles, then they check out the lymphnodes in the armpit. Aside from the part where I had to be groped by yet ANOTHER individual...could have done this part all day. No biggie.

The Results - The radiologist came in shortly after having looked over the mammogram films and the ultrasound films, he brought a female nurse with him who held my hand. THIS WAS MY FIRST CLUE!!!! Cried some more. He categorized my mammogram finding has more likely to be malignant than benign and thus refferred me to a surgeon for a biopsy. Cried a lot more. They then provided me with my own copy of all the films and the radiologist's report so that I would have it to show to the surgeon. I did something horrible wrong (or right) here. I tried to interpret the report by going onlin and googling all the medical phrases I didn't understand. The end result you may ask? By the end of Day 1, I was pretty positive that I had cancer and no one around me was willing to tell me yet, being that a pathologist had not yet looked at a tissue sample. So...the day ended after 5:00 (let me remind you all doctor's offices are closed by then) with more waiting until I could schedule the next appointment, with the surgeon, who would then have to do a removal biopsy himelf, or refer me to YET ANOTHER doctor for a needle biopsy.

5:30pm: Home for the day. Lots more crying. Told only Mom, Dad, and Husband at that point. No need to worry anyone else. Afterall, EVERYONE and their dog kept telling me, "Don't worry, 85% of these turn out to be benign."

12:00am: Still can't go to sleep. Time to mix wine with pharmaceuticals. Half glass of wine and a Tylenol PM knocked me right out.

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