Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Don't Breathe and Don't Move

The technician pushed and pulled and dragged what felt like the entire right side of my body into the machine.

"Hold it. Don't breathe and don't move. Okay, and one more time. Don't breathe and don't move" After a routine mammogram a week ago, the radiologist had seen calcifications in my right breast. A nurse called me last Thursday and after introducing herself, she opened with, "Don't freak out." She told me that this situation was common and was most likely not anything serious. Today I was back for a diagnostic mammogram and possibly an ultrasound.

"Okay you can relax and close your robe now." A nurse led me to an exam room to wait while a doctor looked at my new tests. In the waiting room out front I had magazines to chose from like Elle and Martha Stewart Living. In this small room my choices were three issues of a magazine called Cancer Today. Don't freak out.

Somewhere I read that the incidence of breast cancer in women my age is one in forty-four. Perhaps I read that statistic when I was Googling "breast calcifications" while I was not "freaking out" in the days leading up to my second round of tests.

My first tests of the day indicated that I would need the ultrasound. The ultrasound room had no magazines, just a white machine like the one at the gynecologist's office. After the exam, I waited again while a doctor looked at my results. I watched the minutes change on the computer screen and tried to think about anything but one in forty-four. One in forty-four of my female family members. One in forty-four of my women Facebook friends. One in forty-four of my mom friends from Bob's school.

Twelve minutes later the technician returned. The calcifications were not obviously malignant nor were they obviously benign, they were somewhere in the middle, not close enough to bad to require a biopsy at this time. I was to come back in six months for more tests to see if there was any change. I was told this was good news for today.

Today, right now I am a most fortunate one in forty-four.


  1. Oh sweetheart, I am so sorry you have to feel this weight. I had almost the exact same conversation nine years ago. I lost my tiny mind and had a growth removed because I couldn't handle the thought of waiting. It was benign, but the days, hours, minutes, and seconds of waiting to know for certain were excruciating.

    Sending understanding hugs.

  2. Oh man, that's gotta be the worst. I'm so damn glad you've got a community of support tucked in your pocket.

  3. Because, actually, you are one in a million. I love you.

  4. I've had one of those dealies in my left boob for 25+ years. Another friend of mine had one and doctors told her to STOP DRINKING COFFEE and it would abate. She did, and it did. I'm drinking enough coffee for her. To tell you how incredibly greedy and off base some doctors can be, when I was in Florida for surgery (10 years ago) a friend set me up with a gyno appt. I can't remember why since I was up to my eyeballs already in xrays and doctors but anyway, I went. They wanted to biopsy my left boob to see what the calcification was. I refused, saying I HAVE OTHER THINGS ON MY MIND RIGHT NOW and because I'd had it for so long and knew they were common. So the windbag at the gynos got mad at me and said, "Fine, I'll just list you as stage 4 cancer, in case you're wrong and you try to sue us." WTF?

    Stage 4 cancer when I had no cancer. They just wanted the money from the biopsy and ultasound. I've been going to doctors since I was 12. I hate them all. My motto is "Get a third opinion." xoo Happy Thanksgiving to you, your family and your pesky breast!

  5. Understanding the "guest " writer this week. Bob did a good job, but I'm thankful for you and your sense of humor. Try to keep it, as you go through these "bumps" in the road. So much advice comes at you, sometimes you just have to trust the doctors (14 yrs of school wasn't for nothing).

  6. Never the did the words "a day at a time" seem more appropriate than now. Love you and happy that today you are the the other 43.