On Monday, I had my annual mammogram. The following day, I received a message that there was a problem and I needed to come back. I missed the call and didn’t get the message until late, so I had to wait until this morning to call back. The way the message sounded, there was an issue with an image, not an issue with me. I had no worries. Then I spoke to someone and the panic started to set in….
The woman on the phone insisted I come back as soon as possible. I mentioned that I had to take a 1/2 day from work today for my annual gynecology appointment and since it was in the building, I asked if I could come in today. I explained that I had a broken foot and it is hard for me to get around. I was advised they only have “recalls” come back before 2 pm. The kind woman on the phone was able to squeeze me in and told me I could go to my appointment and it wouldn’t be a problem. She said it was urgent that I come back in as soon as possible because of the issue with my image.
I arrived early and was literally rushed back to the patient waiting room (I should note there were tons of people waiting). I started wondering what was going on. It became pretty clear to me that there was something wrong with me when I heard someone whisper that I was a “recall”. When I finally spoke to someone in person, I was told there wasn’t an issue with my “image” but that something showed up on the image and they needed to clarify what it was. I slowly felt a flush creep up my body. There was something wrong with me?? No. I was, naively, not prepared for this. While I sat waiting to be called back, my mind started to race…..
What would I do if I had breast cancer?
Would I still be able to work?
Could I afford to take time off?
How would I pay for Georgia’s medication?
How would I pay my mortgage, car payment, bills….
Who would take care of my pets if I didn’t make it???
Would I have to stop taking my biologic drug?
Did my medication cause this?
How would I tell my family??
My mind was reeling (for a span of 20 minutes) but I noticed I was worrying about everything else but myself.
The images were taken and I had to wait again. I asked if I could go to my appointment and come back and was told no, I needed to wait. Then the doctor called again and requested more images. They literally twisted my breast (honestly, I never knew my breast to move in that particular direction and I’m kind of proud of it) and squeezed it into the machine (the bruises are developing as I type). Oh, and the woman working with me couldn’t seem to wrap her brain around the fact that I couldn’t stand on my broken foot and I needed to lean on something. She kept telling me to move over not realizing she was in the way of my scooter. For about 20 seconds I was literally being held up weakly by my good leg and my left boob without anything to balance me. (I’m telling you, my left boob deserves an MVP award today). I was told I that I had a mass that was 1) blocking view of what was underneath and 2) the mass could be an issue itself. I was told this, then allowed to leave to see my gynecologist but I would have to come back immediately after my appointment.
While waiting for my gyno appointment my phone rang. I let it go to voicemail because I knew I had no reception. Once I got in the room, I asked if I could listen to the message. The nurse said yes (because she was able to see the results on her computer screen). I was clear. The woman, who only 10 minutes earlier was acting like the end of the world was near, was happy and cheery letting me know that I was fine. The mass was dense tissue, she said. She finished with have a good day and they would see me next year. Uh…yay!!! But….seriously??? I felt like I was going to faint from relief. My gynecologist reviewed everything and said there were no concerns at all (based on what he could see).
Now deep down, I knew I didn’t have cancer. I get blood work done so regularly that I figured something would have been noticed. I do self checks. I don’t have a history of breast cancer in my family….but the call back was frightening. I ended up getting so tense by the situation, that my muscles literally ache tonight. I’m emotionally exhausted….but I know I am lucky. Many women don’t get good news at the end of a situation like I had today. Karma, God, and guardian angels were all on my side today. So today might have been a stressful day, but it was a good day. I am grateful, kind of sore, but extremely relieved. I live with multiple chronic illnesses and I deal, but I’m not sure how I would deal with something life threatening. I pray that I never find out.
Get yourself checked my friends and be well.