This month is the month to think of lovers, spouses, family and dear friends. It’s also the month I’ve had to focus my thoughts on breast cancer; for men and women. This woman. I just returned, about 2 hours ago, from my ultra-sound biopsy appointment. My last article was cathartic as I expressed some of my worries about having the procedure.
Going to the appointment today, my anxiety was at it’s zenith. My husband and I were very quiet, instead of our chatty selves, as we rode to the hospital.
"I’m really nervous about having this done, Gary. I HATE needles! I know numbing my breast will help me not feel pain when they do the biopsy. But the possibility of pain really makes me afraid!"
"That’s understandable, hon. I’m nervous about you having this done too."
We walked into the x-ray department. I went to check in and register.
"How long will the biopsy take?"
"It’ll be an hour and a half, or so," the receptionist replied.
I related this information to my concerned hubby.
Gary and I watched the quiet TV, or just prattled on about nothing. Then a lady with a bit of fuzz on her head was wheeled into the lobby by a nurse. Her family got up and talked with the nurse, and greeted their mother with smiles and love, while the grandmotherly lady slumped in her wheelchair. I so prayed that I wouldn’t end up like her. I didn’t want my family to have to wait for me to complete a session of radiation, and then take me home. I prayed I would have benign "assymetrical tissue".
"Laurie," a voice called out.
"Yes," I slowly answered.
"Hi. I’m the ultra-sound tech who will assist your doctor."
She went on and on, as she led me down the hall, telling me the name of the doctor doing the procedure. She was a different doctor than the one who’d done my ultra-sound last week. She guided me into the ultra-sound room. A flat gurney, draped with a clorox white clean sheet and pillow, was surrounded by equipment and tables filled with bottles, packaged syringes, my medical files, towels and . . . a large bandage.
"The hospital breast health lady said I’d be on a bed that tilted up. Will we be going in the room with that bed next?"
"No. She was talking about a mammogram biopsy. We use the tilting bed for that. You’ll have your biopsy in here," she said with a smile. "You’ll undress from the waist up and I’ll be right back," she instructed.
I slipped into the gown and stood nervously waiting for someone to proceed. Waiting. Waiting. Again the worst part of this whole routine.
When the tech returned, she had me lie on my back and then put my left arm above my head. As she prepared the machine, she told me the steps that would be taken during the procedure. She smoothly slid the lubricated ultra-sound device around my breast, looking at the screen.
"I’m going to go get the doctor to take a look too, before she proceeds,’ she said and then closed the door.
I sat, getting more anxious, if that was possible.
I jumped when the door opened and the doctor and tech entered.
The doctor introduced herself and then glided the instrument across me as she had the tech take pictures of specific areas. I watched the screen, wishing I could tell where the "bad" tissue was located. She looked at the numerous pictures for 15 minutes or so.
"Laurie, I think what the doctor saw was an assymetrical cyst that was dissolving. You have a lot of dense tissue, but it looks normal to me. Whatever the doctor saw, I don’t see now. You won’t need to have a biopsy today. But you will need to have a 6 month follow up mammogram and ultra-sound on both breasts."
"THAT’S WONDERFUL! I’m so happy I don’t need a biopsy. YEAH!!"
"You are one of the lucky ones, Laurie. I’m so happy for you."