Thursday, April 14, 2005

So, they called me from the hospital, wanting to look at my right boob again. This is NOT the news you want to hear after your first mammogram and especially when you’re a manic-depressive hypochondriac like me. My original mamm-o-grammer had told me that callbacks are common, nothing to be concerned about, etc. Sure they are. Common as dirt. Still, I’m not one to miss an opportunity to panic.

Fortunately, they were able see me the very next morning (which, naturally, made me worry that it was Really Bad and URGENT!). Again, I had to show them my driver’s license and the reception clerk was again unimpressed with my ‘will driving be involved?’ remark. I sat down to wait. Unfortunately, no new magazines. . There’s a friend of my mother’s on the other side of the room – I don’t want to explain why I’m here, so I keep my eyes on the floor, and send silly text messages requesting songs of inspiration. The nurse finally calls me AND my mom’s friend back together (irony is NOT just a literary device). A new room with two changing areas, a coffee pot, cookies and the omnipresent television, all under some very soft forgiving lights. We put on lovely open-in-the-front gowns and sit down, neither one of us attempting the coffee and cookies. We catch up on family gossip. The nurse takes her into the other room. Time of reflection and dread for me. Let’s send some more text messages! This is when I start screwing up. Not Dark Yet is a beautiful song. A powerful song. But it’s a real downer. Not inspiring. Not uplifting. And uplift is what we want when our breasts are involved! My mom’s friend comes back with good news, and now it’s my turn. We’re only interested in the right boob today, so this very nice, efficient lady takes a measurement on the original xray with her finger and draws an X on my boob with a black Sharpie. I hate the smell of Sharpies. She takes several pictures and toddles off to a radiologist for an instant read. I go back to the changing room and check messages. I’m amazed they are even being sent – I’m two doors down from that big hunk of magnet called an MRI. I’m likewise amazed there aren’t any signs telling me to shut it off. Anyway, I’m dressed again and here comes Nurse Efficient to call me back into the x-ray room. There’s a doctor in there. I don’t know much, but that looks like trouble to me. He gives me a watered down smile. There’s this little patch of calcification that, given my mom’s history, ought to be biopsied. Fuck me! This is my first mammogram! A BASELINE mammogram. I wait for him to tell me they’ll want to keep an eye on it on my next one. Instead he says, we can do a core biopsy on Monday, what time is good for you? Fuck me again! I’m supposed to be in Florida! Is it that urgent?? First good news is that it isn’t. It can wait a week or two.

Can I?

Sure I can, with the right medication. Which, in this case, was a week in not-so-sunny Florida with the offspring trying to read a stack of books and working (unsuccessfully, I should say) on improving my guitar playing. John Prine I’ll never be. However, if you need somebody to play a tediously slow Kumbaya, and you’ll spring for drinks, I can make myself available.

The actual biopsy was remarkably painless. My old friend, Nurse Efficiency, was the master of ceremonies. This was what is known as a stereotactic biopsy – and scientifically speaking, it was impressive. Like launching the space shuttle. My boob got Sharpied again, this time with an R – god knows I need all the help I can get telling my right from my left, but sad to say, it wasn’t permanent – somebody ought to let the Sharpie people know. Anyway, I lay on a table with a hole in it for boob R. The table is elevated and more mammography is done to guide the needle to the exact spot they want to biopsy. When everything is in place, the doctor comes in and does the biopsy. He asks Nurse E to get it x-rayed, I get a band-aid and an ice-pack. The doctor looks at his x-rays, gives me some post-procedure information and his card with his cell phone number on the back. That freaked me out. Doctors don’t do that. Unless it’s bad news. Can he see something already?

The wait begins.

While we’re waiting, let me attempt to describe the Strange Behavior. Not mine this time. Or maybe it was my Strange Perception of other people’s behavior. Judge for yourself. I got cards. Not playing cards. Thinking of You and Praying for You cards. Hell, as far as I knew, I wasn’t even sick! Did I look sick? Can they see something I can’t? And these people that sent them to me – I wouldn’t describe them as friends.

My hypochondriac paranoia ran amok. I teetered on the edge of a big Drama Queen meltdown.

The biopsy was on Monday, and the doctor said it could be as late as Friday before they had the results. Naturally, I didn’t hear until Monday and by then I was convinced I was in my Final Moments.

I was wrong.

All good news and nothing to worry about.

Thank you Jesus!

But, I’m kind of pissed. Not that I want to be sick, but I had the title of a lifetime: This Old Boob.

I could get them lifted…