After the mammogram adventure, they herded me over to a cold corner of the giant radiology center. They wanted to ultrasound some areas; I just wanted to go home. After 4 hours of being poked and prodded, I was on my way. They told me I would need a biopsy ASAP. Nathan was an hour and a half away in Melbourne, teaching middle schoolers how to code. Do I just go home? I didn’t want to call my mom or anyone until I knew what we were dealing with. The waiting, the lonely waiting weighed upon me.
I called my OB the next day for the full results and he said he wanted a second opinion. He was sending me to a breast surgical specialist. I couldn’t wait to get her business card. I wouldn’t have to wait long, the next day I sat in another waiting room to see the pink decor and tea sets. The business card matched the waiting room. Pink. Pink. Pink. It was just a second opinion. Nathan was teaching again. I was brought back to an exam room with more pink wall and tea sets. There was a silicone breast that looked as if it had seen better days. Posters about breast cancer. It seemed like I had a long time to learn more about cancer.
This doctor, my breast surgical specialist, is a tiny woman, of about 60 with thick glasses. I lay back and she begins feeling the lump. Then she squirts the cold jelly of the ultrasound and begins to map my tumor. The nurse and doctor kept exchanging looks. A few times she tells me that the lump is very “suspicious.” They are very concerned. Can we do a biopsy right now? Here in the office? Yes, we have all of the equipment here. I guess let’s just get this done now. They looked relieved.
They had looked at both breasts under the ultrasound: there was a large mass in the right breast and a small one in the left. In order to biopsy, they inserted a large needle with a numbing agent into the right breast first. The tumor was so large that they couldn’t fully numb the area. I got my hacky sack that I’ve used as a stress ball for 20 years, more a security blanket than lucky. It was incredibly painful when they inserted the next needle to collect the sample of the tumor. Staple gun. Yes, the noise it made was a staple gun thuh-wack. Five times the needle went in and five times the terrible noise.
Then it was time for the other side. I didn’t know if I wanted to keep going. The right side had been so painful. But I had to know. I had to know what these lumps were in my body. So they injected the numbing agent and it worked perfectly with a much smaller mass. The staple gun was still less than pleasant but the worst was over. I asked how long it would be before we would know the results. It was a Thursday; they said hopefully early next week. It was a very long weekend.
This is Part 4 of the story. Click Cancer Journey to read all of it.