Jan 31

how I found out

I had a mammogram in December. On the day of, I did notice the tech look a little strange at the screen after the left breast. Then they made we wait in the waiting room while still in the gown. That was the first time this had happened to me. She asked me to come back to do pictures of the left only with a different machine. At the time, I asked a few friends (on FB obviously) if this had ever happened to them. And absolutely everyone told me it was nothing, it happened all the time, it could be cysts, etc. Part of me that day had a big moment of clarity that this was what happened to my mom…

Then it was the Christmas break and I didn’t think about it any more. Come January 7th and a not-very-bright receptionist calls me to ask if I have been called for an ultra-sound yet. What ultra-sound? Oh, never mind, we’ll call you back. As if. It was 6 pm so I couldn’t do anything, but the next morning I called my GP. By the end of the day, I had an appointment for a breast ultra-sound.

I asked my friend D to come with me. She is a very calm and very level-headed person. We ended up waiting a very long time, the Dr. was running very late. So D turned out to be a great choice because she didn’t have to chose between staying with me or going back to work. Finally I got the ultra-sound. He saw a mass. He said it could be a non-cancerous tumor. D wrote down the name. Then he offered to give me my 450$ back if I went downstairs for an MRI. I knew and D knew that the few private Drs who can operate privately are not likely to just give you back your money. So down we went for an MRI with injected contrast.

That was a Friday. And while we were spending hours there, my husband had taken the mammogram results over to another friend, Dr. X, who works in oncology and was able to pass my file on to a radiologist.

It was an unpleasant weekend. People were telling me to be positive, that it was very likely nothing, that it would be fine. Deep down, I already knew. On Monday afternoon, the secretary of the radiologist called me to say he wanted to see me at 8 am the next morning. This time, A. came with me – I wasn’t going to be needing a calm presence, I was going to need my most sarcastic friend to keep me laughing with highly inappropriate humor (She also threatened to break my legs if I asked anyone but her).

It went a lot faster this time. The radiologist was the big head honcho. He did an ultra-sound and biopsy, with 3 entry points. The good thing was that a cyst burst in the right breast. So there was only the one mass, 1.65 cm. He used the word ‘significant’ a lot: significant in size, significant in rate of growth (based on previous mammograms). It was very significant. It was also quite painful. Apparently the only part of my flabby body that is dense is my upper breast area. Lucky me.

And that was that. I was told I would wait 3 weeks. At the one week mark, lots of texts back and forth with my cheerleaders: 1 week down, 2 weeks to go. Except the very next morning, at 1 week and 1 day, my friend Dr. X called me at 10 am : ‘I looked at the results in the computer, they just  this second became available. It’s showing cancer. Please come at 1 pm, the surgeon will see you’.

That is how I found out.