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Call backs…………..

July 10, 2009

My youngest daughter crawled into bed with me last night. I snuggled next to her and brushed a few hairs away from her face. She looked so peaceful and I wondered if this was the day that our lives would change entirely. Forever.

I got  a call back on my mammogram. They wanted to see me again. Earlier this week, I went in for my yearly exam. I have been going since I was 35. A great grandmother, a great Aunt, and an Aunt with breast cancer will send you to the big squeeze a littler sooner than later. I have never been called back. I have always checked that box and moved quickly on. That was, until this week. Until the summer that I am moving across the globe away from my entire support network (only minus my husband and kids).

It seems there was some extra tissue showing up on my left breast. Not enough to increase my cup size – just enough for a follow-up squish. If they had said it was on my arse, I would have believed them immediately – but seriously, extra tissue there? Not exactly the phone call you want to get. Ever.

Of course, it was the scheduling receptionist who called me to let me know. She had no (helpful) answers. Just available time slots and locations. Next week. As in 6 days and a weekend later. As in no answers later.

Yeah, that is not going to work for me. Something about moving back out of the country soon (8,000 miles away) and hoping for answers sooner than later. Her final offer – call back tomorrow – maybe something will open up. Okay then. I will call back tomorrow.

Honestly, I almost forgot to call back. I was distracted with a day at the water park with my kids and our neighborhood swim team and my dad’s birthday and my aunt and my cousin visiting. Dinner out with my family. Fun. Full of life things. Luckily on Friday it all worked out and I got to go in (again) before the weekend.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep great last night – except for snuggling with an Angel – it was not that peaceful of a night. I try to be good and not worry about something until I know what to worry about – but it is hard impossible not to imagine the possibilities. I saw my daughter sleeping next to me and wondered what she was dreaming about – I wondered if I would see her high school graduation, her wedding. A little dramatic, sure. But a possibility. Ick. I also thought about not being sick. And prayed for strength whatever happened.

Anymammo, I was given an “overbook” appointment which meant there was a. very. very. good. chance. I would have to wait for a. very. long. time. It turned out that I didn’t have to wait that long. The technician was great. She informed me that I would absolutely talk to a doctor before I left. I would leave with answers. I still don’t know if that made me feel better or worse. I have done this too many times to know that needing to see the doctor is not a great sign. While she was doing my exam, I saw my original film up on the light board. With a big circle around it at the top of my boob. That made me feel worse. It wasn’t that they did not get a good image and just needed to redo it – there was really something there. Circled nonetheless. With my name on it.

And the picture confirmed that my boobs are sagging. Well at least my left boob is. Just as an aside – really – if you are little bitty – you should not also have to sag. I am just saying – really, it’s not that fair. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, life ain’t fair.

When the technician was done, she told me again that I would see the doctor. Before I left. Today. I might also need a sonogram. I was torn between asking her a litany of questions and not wanting to know one more detail. Luckily for me, I have a couple of friends who have made it to the sonogram phase of a mammogram screening and still managed to walk out of the door minus a diagnosis of cancer. So, I did not completely panic. I was sent back to the waiting room. And waited.

And waited some more. With a lot of other women in gowns that opened in the front. I think we were all pretending and trying to be totally engrossed in our reading waiting material while our stomachs churned and our minds wandered and wondered.

I mean seriously, there is a room full of women – statistics are sure to say that at least some of us were in danger – who’s to say who it would be? We looked and did not look at each other and flipped empty pages.

Meanwhile, my husband called me with questions about what was happening at my appointment. When I did not have any answers yet, he moved on to questions about coming here to be with me and questions about school and questions about moving within India and questions about renting our house in America and holy crap – too many questions – I know he was nervous. Unfortunately, he was talking to the newly appointed President of the Nervous Club – the mammogram chapter. He was also probably trying to distract me. But distraction would not come easily today. They called my name and I hung up on him. Gotta go honey. Sometimes life needs to just happen one question at a time. Today I needed one question at a time.

The nurse walking me back simply said – you are getting a sonogram. You will see the radiologist. This way please. She did not look at me. That did not help.

I waited in the dark room by myself for about 10 minutes. And came up with a whole new set of possibilities. Some good. Some not so great. The radiologist walked in and introduced herself. She was lovely. Very soft spoken. Very gentle. Very aware that I had by passed nervous about 2 days ago and moved straight on to wondering what the possibilities really were.

She said something about not being worried. About me? Yes, about you. I started breathing again. Out loud. Deeply. In sync with myself. Finally. Whew.

Apparently, I had a spot on the original mammogram. (Oh yes, I might have seen something about that in the other room – you mean the one with the. big. circle. around. it – and MY. name. on. it? I was a little distracted by this machine squishing me and by me not sure I wanted to know all the scoop – can you fill me in on the details, please?) That’s what was in the circle. A suspicious spot. But that spot did not show up today. Something about compression. She did the sonogram just to be sure. I am now clear for another year.

I am not unaffected though. I am reminded that life can change in an instant. It can come and go so quickly. Without notice.

Last night I was careful not to pray for selfish things like health. I did not want to be unrealistic. A prayer would not change what might already be. So, I just asked for strength. Whatever happened. Strength. I found it, and was blessed with a side dish of health, and I am grateful for it. Every ounce of it.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2009 2:20 pm

    Wow, I was on pins and needles reading this… I’m so glad to hear that everything turned out OK!!

  2. July 15, 2009 8:07 am

    It is amazing how many people get “call backs” for all sorts of medical issues. It can be so scary and it is so hard to not imagine the potential diagnosis. I am sure the doctors and nurses do all they can do reduce the level of anxiety we all feel – but it is nearly impossible not to hold our breath until we know for sure that we are okay.

    The radiologist apologized for “worrying” me. My response was simply that I was thankful the tests were available and a little worry was not so bad given the potential to catch something early and treat it.

    The bottom line in all of this – take advantage of the technology that is available and schedule those checkups! My prayers are with everyone who is waiting for results or who have gotten scary answers!

  3. Tottsmom permalink
    July 14, 2009 11:38 am

    I think the worst part of things like this is the waitng. They call you and say the test results are in, and btw could you wait another week and a half before you see the doc.

  4. Tina permalink
    July 14, 2009 6:56 am


    Good that nothing turned up.. It is nice to be ‘Better safe than sorry’…
    Good luck.

    Liked ur statement…”Unfortunately, he was talking to the newly appointed President of the Nervous Club “..Can just picture you saying this …
    Take care

  5. July 13, 2009 2:51 pm

    My sister is going through something similar, only they found something in each breast. She has to keep going back to have US and exams every 6 months.

  6. July 13, 2009 1:45 pm

    By the way E, are you coming back to India? or have moved back permanently?

  7. Settlers permalink
    July 13, 2009 8:30 am

    Hey, that was very scary. Please put a disclaimer before such posts.

    I am glad that you are OK.

  8. Lynn permalink
    July 12, 2009 7:15 pm

    I was holding my breath the whole time I was reading this. Glad everything is ok. Very scary. Hope to see you before you go back to India.

  9. July 11, 2009 4:09 pm

    Oh, I’m so glad it turned out to be a false alarm. Stressful false alarm, for sure. Sadly, my friend/neighbor had her mastectomy yesterday, so this post had me crying right from “I got a call back.”

    Scary business, this aging is.

  10. Girlsmom permalink
    July 11, 2009 2:57 pm

    I got to play that mammogram spot / follow up sonogram game while my husband was deployed to Iraq and I was home alone (with 3 small children) 3,000 miles from family. Really……. try not to worry, we can fit you in in 10 days for a follow-up. Oh, OK I can get along for ten days with no sleep—no problem.

  11. pamj permalink
    July 11, 2009 2:14 pm

    OMG!! I started crying at the end!!

    I had a lump removed 3 months ago so yes it’s very scary!!

    today, my parents told me that my dad has cancer. i look to haven for answer! still waiting…..

  12. July 11, 2009 6:31 am

    I am SO glad to hear that you are okay. That is some scary stuff for sure, and I appreciate you sharing it.

  13. July 10, 2009 8:10 pm

    BTW – I bet I’m little bittier than you are. Wanna bet?

    I’ll bet … um … a bottle of wine on it.

  14. July 10, 2009 8:08 pm

    Pshweeeeeew! That was a rough ride reading that post. Nothing compared to the rough ride of the past days for YOU …

    Glad you are A-ok …

    (not that I think this actually helps in the moment of despair and hardship, but it’s a good quote regardless :

    Worry does not take away tomorrow’s troubles … it only takes away TODAY’s strength)

  15. Bee permalink
    July 10, 2009 7:11 pm

    I went through the same procedure last week…mammogram,sonogram and even a biopsy and a permanant clip in my sagging boob. We both survived…yahoooooo…

  16. Tottsmom permalink
    July 10, 2009 7:08 pm

    I started crying about half way through and had to force myself not to skip to the end. Thank God you are ok, for now. I’ll pray for your health, that way it won’t be selfish. Now go cuddle a little more with your kiddos.

  17. Nancy permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:55 pm

    Yikes. I didn’t breathe until I finished that. Love you.

  18. Jennifer permalink
    July 10, 2009 5:55 pm

    So thankful you had a Doctor that saw a small flicker and wanted to search for the full spark. I’m so happy you’re OK.

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