Thursday, September 6, 2007

It's not time yet

Another darkened room, another hospital gown, another female technician who is calm and quietly professional. The gel she uses is warm, unlike what I remember from my pregnancies. I am slightly anxious but more because I overslept and barely made it to my appointment on time, than about what I may be told today.

On my back with one arm raised above my head, turning my head to the side I can just see the screen Ingrid my tech, is looking at. It all looks like a messy tangle of fibers and wavy lines, there doesn’t seem to be anything I would recognize as breast tissue or a mass of any kind. Of course I have no idea how to read what is on the screen, and wonder idly if that’s why Ingrid lets me see it.

It seems to be taking a long time but I am sure it is really only 10 minutes or so, it just seems like forever. I am not used to lying still without something to occupy me whether it be my laptop, the TV, my beading, a book, or the face of the person I am talking to. It hurts my neck to turn this way for any length of time, but I force myself to do it so I can see the screen. I need to look at something.

Finally Ingrid is done. She places a washcloth on my breast and pulls my gown closed. She moves with purpose across the room where she sits in front of another screen to, as far as I can tell, review the shots she has saved and will give to the radiologist. She tells me she will go consult with him and will be back in a couple of minutes. With nothing left to look at I close my eyes and hope to drift. Peacefully.

Not long after, the door opens and the rest of the overhead lights come on. I shade my eyes, complain about my nap being interrupted and I smile. Here is Ingrid and Dr Something I Did Not Hear. He tells me that the ultrasound would show if the spot they were looking at was a cyst, but they could not see it with the ultrasound. Not a cyst. It could be nothing, still not time to worry, but because it was not there when I had my previous mammogram in 2003, it still needs to be identified. He will pull the previous films again and review those with my new film, as well as the ultrasound. Then he will let my doctor know what he recommends. It may be an MRI, it may be a biopsy, but it will definitely be something.

Please, he says, follow up with your doctor tomorrow.

Of course.

Two hours later my doctor calls me at work. She is a nice lady, comforting and reassuring but direct and to the point. “The radiologist is recommending a biopsy.”

She tells me how it shouldn’t be too bad. I will be on my stomach on a table with a hole in it which will allow my breast to hang through it. How flattering. They already know it will ‘hang’. Then my breast will be flattened like when doing a mammogram, and the needle will be directed with something akin to GPS technology, minus the voice telling the doctor to turn left at the next cross street. She says she has had it done and it’s not that bad. Yet my mind flashes back to Jenn at Serving The Queens, with that needle in there poking around and around until they hit something. Ugh. I have a high pain tolerance. But that does not mean I like pain.

Then she tells me what I repeat later when I am explaining to my daughter and my BF, and what I will repeat here as well.

“It is probably nothing to worry about. Over 80% of biopsied breast abnormalities are benign, and if it does turn out to be something” she pauses “then that mammogram just saved your life because it will have been found so early.”

See? Still not time to worry.


  1. Youre right of course, as are the Doc's - still not time yet to worry...heres hoping whoever does the biopsy has a better 'technique' than Jenns!
    Youre doing a great job of hanging in there and staying positive, youre very brave indeed.
    And it is comforting that the percentages are on your side - Hooray!

  2. Hi there,

    So sorry you are having to go through all this, and it is so easy to say not to worry...I am thinking of you and hope everything turns out ok. Although I did not have my breast biopsied, I did have a lump on my neck biopsied, and ended up having my thyroid removed because of it, and I know what the feeling of limbo is like...

  3. I had multiple breast cysts when I was 28 ..... in the UK they just jab a needle right in there and take a biopsy on the spot! I envy you your high tech "hanging".

    Like they said, it's probably nothing, but better safe than sorry!

  4. My past 2 mammos have resulted in a surgery where they took out a big benign cyst and 2 needle biopsies. It is altogether terrifying during the waiting period and annoying as hell when you get the bill. But better than cancer.

    My best thoughts.

  5. I'm thinking would be good if it was that easy , switch off the worry button . I hope you can manage till you know what you need to do .. and sounds like you can !

  6. Seriously, no need to worry.


    My mind is still racing, still not in the same place as it was before the lump.

    It's OK to worry; it's scary. Your biopsy procedure sounds different than mine, but may I strongly suggest a numbing agent.

    Please keep me posted. You're in my thoughts and prayers, on the rosary in my mind.

  7. I had a biopsy of this.. erm.. thing on my lower abdomen (it was years ago and they still can't agree on what, exactly, it is.) I was worried sick about them jabbing a needle in the golf ball sized... thing, but honestly, it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I feared it would be.

  8. I will be thinking of you. 80% are good odds for it being benign. I know waiting is the worst but I have no doubt you will have good news soon.

  9. How about we just pray instead. And cross fingers and toes!

  10. Still, this is very scary and I applaud you for working it out of your head - good luck and I'll be rooting for you!

  11. Oh, hon. I know how hard the waiting is. Luckily, mine stopped before they had to biopsy, but waiting for the decision of whether or not to ultrasound was absolute hell!

    I hope you find comfort in knowing that you have lots of us out here sending positive thoughts, vibes and whatever else will help you.

    Thinking of you...