From Mammogram to Biopsy results

Ash Wednesday: On the day to remember that “from dust we come and to dust we shall return”, I was quite frankly faced with my own mortality. I had a mammogram followed by an ultrasound that showed “asymmetric breast tissue” and microcalcifications. The radiologist, Dr. Young, referred me for a biopsy and MRI. The biopsy is scheduled for next Wednesday morning. We’ll schedule the MRI after the biopsy, either immediately (if results are bad) or in another month or so (if results are good) to give the breast tissue time to “settle down” from the biopsy trauma. For the biopsy, a stereotactic biopsy, I’ll be numbed with a local, a small incision that will not require stitches will be made, and a small sample will be removed. They’ll remove five or six samples.

Thursday: I read “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” with Elizabeth today. I was struck by the waiting place. That’s where I am right now. It is a “most useless place.” I hope this waiting place will help me appreciate my life and value every minute I have with my husband and my girls. That’s what I’m going to try to make of this waiting time. Getting bogged down in the what-ifs is not productive.

Weekend: I’ve been distracted by the busy-ness of life, so I haven’t had much time to dwell or worry. Of course, every single daily devotional I’ve read these past few days has spoken to me about my path, planning (or rather, not planning), trusting God.

Leap Day (AKA Biopsy Day): John and I have both had our dark moments this past week, but today we drove together on a very gray day to the hospital that has housed our happiest times (births of both girls) and most difficult time (loss of second pregnancy). I was greeted by a patient navigator (a breast cancer survivor herself who is placed at the hospital by the Breast Cancer Resource Center). She got John some coffee, escorted me to change into a robe, chatted with me, told me what to expect, answered questions, rubbed my back during the procedure, brought me water, sat with me while I waited for more images, and escorted me to redress. For the procedure, I was lucky enough to have my patient navigator, the doctor, two nurses, and a sales guy in the room! (They have a new machine/new needle/something that this guy was showing them the ins and outs of. According to the nurses, it is a great machine and they love it. Much neater and quicker, which was fine with me since I was on my stomach with one arm over my head and one along my side, with my head turned to the side and an appendage (…is that an appropriate word for it?) sticking through a hole in the table. They numbed me with Lidocain, made a 1/4 inch incision, inserted a probe, and then used the machine and needle to take six samples of tissue including the microcalcifications. Those will be sent to pathology, and we’ll get results Friday. I’m not to lift anything for 48 hours (yeah, right!) and am taking Tylenol to keep the soreness at bay. No stitches, just steristrips on the incision. As I stared at the magnified images of my breast on the lighted wall during the procedure (remember, my head was turned to the side the whole time) I pondered that if I weren’t on a Facebook break I might post the images of my boob the way people (including myself) post baby ultrasound pictures. Would others find that funny? Not “Boy or Girl?” but rather “Benign or Malignant?” Good times.

HOORAY FOR FRIDAY AND THE JOYOUS NEWS: BENIGN FIBROADENOMA! I hadn’t realized how heavy I felt until I heard the news and felt instant relief. I forgot to write in my summary of the procedure that they also inserted a titanium marker where the calcifications were so they can monitor the area. And since I’m in eighth grade (mentally and emotionally still), I think it’s pretty funny. TITanium. Say it with a short i. You can’t help but laugh.