This morning, I showed up early at St. Francis Hospital for my second mammogram in a week, and they were still talking as if the ultrasound was optional.
(I’m naming some names now to provide customer service feedback in case they ever Google themselves.)
After my last post and testimonials from a few women who have had iffy mammograms, I felt pretty sure a biopsy was in the cards.
When I questioned the necessity of the re-mammo, I was shown last week’s x-ray compared to last year’s. As it turns out, the white spot I noticed on the screen last week was at least a year old (but had earned the “all’s well” letter previously).
It looked to me like the lower left corner of the spot had shifted a bit. You know, the way a suspicious mole might — if it’s cancerous.
So, I let them mash and zap my right breast twice more, a little harder this time, and I was told to sit and wait for the results.
But instead of getting results, I was taken to the ultrasound room with no explanation. I could only assume the mammogram hadn’t been good.
Ultrasound is painless, but when the tech was finished, she laid a dry washcloth on my breast while I was still lying on the table and told me to wait like that for the doctor, in case he wanted to “watch her” scan some more.
So that’s how I received the next news: Flat on my back in front of a strange man with a face rag partially covering my naked, slimy boob.
He had an accent like Eric Ripert. He couldn’t say for certain what the spot was — “80%” sure it’s nothing — but it needs a biopsy to be certain. A “stereotactic” biopsy, he specified.
When they start throwing words like “stereotactic” around in conversation, you really feel as if they’re stuffing you like a dumb piece of meat down the rabbit hole.
The ultrasound tech was a nice young woman and acknowledged the scariness of it all when we were alone again. She gave me contact information for the Virginia Breast Center and said she’d notify my gynecologist. First good news I’d heard all morning — my primary care doctor and his minion who kicks patients to the curb seem to be out of the loop so I can deal with that situation later.
My biopsy is June 21. I think it’s going to be plain vanilla, on the advice of the Breast Center person I spoke to, a 10-year cancer survivor who has done and seen it all. She told me a stereotactic procedure would be much worse and possibly require stitches.
Here’s hoping I land in the 80% category and it really is nothing.