The weekend before my GYNO appointment to check out the two swollen masses in my armpit I was hosting my best friends baby shower. My thoughts were pretty straight-forward; Let’s get this baby shower rolling, let’s make sure everyone is enjoying themselves and of course, make sure the new mom and dad to be get all the goodies they need. And they did! It was a success! So sweet seeing all the baby things and of course seeing the new mom to be. Now it was time to rest.
On Monday, September 21st, I woke up, got myself ready, gathered my girls and their things, kissed my husband bye for the day as we always do, took our girls to school and off to my appointment I went.
I don’t remember driving to my appointment, I don’t even remember sitting in the waiting room like many do during this type of situation. When they called me back and got me in a room the nurse asked for me to remove my top and put on the infamous paper gown we ladies are all to familiar with. Those dang things tear before the doctor ever gets in the room and by no means were meant to keep you warm. And they make so much noise.
A few short minutes later, my doctor came in the room and I then realized I hadn’t seen her since she had released me after having our second daughter. Who would have thought that two swollen masses is why I’d be seeing her nearly ten months later. She examined me with her soft but yet cold hands as I looked at the ceiling awaiting the next words she’d say. Words that I didn’t want to hear because somewhere inside of my soul I knew some thing was abnormal. Her diagnosis, swollen lymph nodes. She told me that she wanted me to head on down to have a mammogram and then an ultrasound. As she left the room she assured me we’d find out what the swollen masses were and that we’d get it taken care of. Her saying that was somehow helpful in my mind knowing that she was a two time breast cancer survivor herself. I dressed quickly when she left the room and made my way to the check-out area where they told me to go on down to mammogram. Off I went.
On my way down to the ground floor I called my husband with tears in my eyes and cracking in my voice. I was scared. I was unsure of what was about to happen. A mammogram isn’t something I had had before and truthfully didn’t know how I was going to have one. My boobs are too small to get squished. And how bad was this going to hurt. And what did all of this mean. I was confused.
When they called me back, the nurse spoke gently as she handed me a cloth shirt that tied in the front sorta like a maternity shirt but instead of showing off your belly I was about to have it opened up so some stranger could see my breast. Something told me to take the photo you see at the top of this page. What you can’t see is the anxiety. The tears. And my mind racing in a somewhat dark room in a quiet hallway that led to equipment that would take pictures of what was happening inside my body. A long few minutes passed and they came to get me. The technician explained the process and then helped me position myself at the mammogram machine as she took photos of both breasts, many times. She stated there were calcifications and that more photos would probably need to be taken. A short bit later she had me stand at the machine again as she gather more photos. Then I was off to have an ultrasound. This technician and I chatted pretty much the entire time I was lying there as she took the wand and ran it over the breast that was suspected to be ‘sick’. I could see the screen on the ultrasound machine as she continued scanning over a few of the same areas. It certainly was interesting but not near as interesting as seeing your baby moving around inside you, or seeing your baby’s heartbeat, or it’s mouth or little nose and checks. Instead these images were of dark spots that appeared hallow, sad, and dense. The Radiologist came in a little while later and looked at the same images and did her own scanning which led to her saying a biopsy needed to be done. They stepped out of the room while I called my husband and explained what they had said and were about to do. He was optimistic and supportive, but I could feel some fear in his voice too. I remained calm and collected. I knew I had to. I was almost finished and could leave as soon as this was over.
The Radiologist came in along with the technician and set up the tools and necessary items to perform the biopsy. They had me position my arm over my head and then they numbed the areas they were going to biopsy. Who knew that lidocaine stung like that. Yikes! They did what is called a core needle biopsy and thankfully I didn’t ask what was happening during the procedure and instead waited until after. More less, they placed a needle into my boob and cut off a piece of tissue but in a quick trigger like motion. I don’t want to do that again. Ha. Three biopsy’s were taken and I’d have the results in just a few days..
Over the next couple of days my husband and I told our parents what had been going on. My husband and I hadn’t told anyone other than my employer for doctor appointment purposes. We felt that if it were nothing then we’d have nothing to tell. If it were something we’d cross that bridge then.
On September 24th, at approximately 9:00am I received the call from the Radiologist that had performed my biopsy. I had Stage 3 Breast Cancer. My world stopped.