This morning (and we’re talking crack o’ dawn), I dragged myself, braless, to my excisional biopsy appointment. It involved a light sedation, another fine pair of no-slip socks, and a little bit of Sesame Street to get me through the waiting part. My favorite part is when my surgeon wrote her initials on my breast with a Sharpie so as not to forget which one was the one in question. By 9am, I was in the recovery room discussing painting living rooms and the Bronx Zoo with my nurse. I got graham crackers and coffee as they read me my list of DOs and DON’Ts, and I was on my way. It should take a week for the pathology to come back, but my surgeon said it didn’t look like much anyway.
I’ve rigged up a real nice ice situation with the hospital-issued refillable ice pack. I’ve got a loop tied at one end that I wear around my neck, while I sling the bag over my left breast, hands-free. It’s like a giant, very cold necklace. I’m not looking forward to bedtime tonight, however. I’m a stomach sleeper. It’s going to be awkward…
The saga continues as I follow-up on my breast lump. My new specialist believes we should err on the side of cutting that sucker out, especially if my newly prescribed mammogram and sonogram don’t yield imaging sufficient for ultra-sound-guided biopsy. *Gulp*
So the day of the mammo/sono, as it is wont to be called, arrives and I await my tests in the secondary, fancy waiting room for breast imaging patients. My fellow waiters are all at least 10 years my senior; one of them has a daughter 3 years older than I. They start talking about how easy kids have it today, and how they can’t believe how they all have cellphones and never talk to each other anymore. Nice black slacks and sensible shoes peek out from their medical gowns, unlike my skinny jeans and pink and blue converse. Don’t get me wrong, I do own sensible shoes. I just didn’t wear them to my mammogram…
Everyone’s heard what mammograms are like; many women have experienced the sensation. But most women my age don’t know first hand what it’s like. Here’s my take on the experience:
- It is made painfully clear that they’re really just pieces of meat. You know what it sounds like when you drop a boneless chicken breast on your plastic cutting board? It’s like that. Except then the technician needs to smush it around a little to get the positioning right. Maybe she needs to pick it up and move it slightly; maybe there will be some flopping? Who knows, but it takes a minute to get your meat bags in the right place.
- Yes. It does hurt. I mean, we can take it right? Sure, but that doesn’t make it suck less. They’re squeezing your boob in between two very strong, very flat pieces of plastic! I’m sorry, not squeezing: compressing. “A little more compression…ok, hold your breath!”
So that happened. Followed by a gooey 20 minutes with the ultrasound probe. I swear to god, you can never get all that gel off. Some even got on my purse. Awesome.
After much sonogramming, nothing came up in the imaging to support the palpable mass in my breast. The same thing happened to my mother after a mammogram and sonogram. “Healthy breast tissue, go home.” But then it was cancer. Whoops. Knowing this about my family history, the response to my imaging now is “Healthy breast tissue. Let’s cut it out!”
And so another chapter unfolds in the medical journal of my life. Stay tuned for a less medical update in my next entry about the NY Renaissance Faire!
So at the height of my back pain this spring, probably around the time I was dragging myself with only my arms out of the bathroom after throwing myself off the toilet because it was too painful to stand up, I convinced myself that I was cursed. Let’s back it up to August 2012. Since it was my 27th birthday, I thought a fun theme would be “The 27 Club” and everyone attending would have to dress up as their favorite member, i.e. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, or Janis Joplin (my choice). Although there was not a huge turnout, it was a load of fun and I had the perfect glasses to top off my ensemble. But as you know (or if you don’t click the link mentioned earlier), the members of the 27 club all met their untimely demise before the age of 28. And so, after several weeks of excruciating pain, suffering, and the as of yet undiagnosed but potential cancer, I was sure that I had pissed off the gods of tasteful party themes with my off-color yet clever 27th birthday, and that they had it in for me as punishment for such a macabre birthday party theme.
As luck would have it, however, I made it. My 28th birthday was one week ago today, and I am not dead. In fact, I feel pretty good, physically. Emotionally, it’s still a bummer to not have a job but c’est la vie. I’ll keep workin’ on it.