‘Twas the Night Before Biopsy…

By Karen

Just when you think it can’t get much worse, you get that phone call…

Me: “Hello?”

Mom: “Daddy and I just read your blog.”

WHY??!! My father won’t touch computers. Just last week, I tried to give my mother my Nook (so I could get the color upgrade) and she SWORE she NEVER reads. They’ve never shown more than a passing wisp of interest in Cats Working, and I could probably count on one hand the number of times, combined, they’ve ever read it. Yet suddenly they’re curious. 

I must have been acting suspicious at their house on Father’s Day. It couldn’t have been anything I said, because I said very little. My sister was there.

My mother’s slightly confrontive tone instantly flashed me back to a day in the ‘70s when my father announced he’d been reading my diary and advised me to burn it because it wasn’t exactly brimming with praise for my mother.

Me: “Yeah, so?”

Mom: “What’s going on?”

Were my last few posts in Chinese, or did she really expect me to recite it all AGAIN for her benefit?

I gave her the Reader’s Digest version, which turned into a third-degree about what the doctors told me, what I asked the doctors, are the doctors any good, yada, yada.

The fact is, all the players in this game are total strangers. My gynecologist’s office is getting the results, which will probably go straight into my file because he doesn’t know me from Eve. The first time he’ll see them will be in those seconds he stands outside the exam room door before he does next my Pap smear some day.

Then my mother said the thing I most dreaded…

“When’s your appointment? I think I should go with you.”


Subconsciously, I’ve been on edge since the ultrasound. I wake up every morning having dry heaves, and my blood pressure yesterday was 150/90-something. Thanks to the sketchy grasp of the situation I’ve been given so far, and its leisurely timeline, I want to scream whenever I think of it. And now I should be subjected to my mother embarrassing me like a 5-year-old in front of the breast cancer specialist (who may be someone I’ll need on my side if this doesn’t go my way)?

Well, I squashed that idea like a cockroach. However, I will give my mother credit for one thing: I feel calmer. Compared to dealing with her (don’t get me wrong, I know she means well, but we don’t have a good track record), this biopsy now seems like a piece of cake.


9 Responses to ‘Twas the Night Before Biopsy…

  1. marilyn says:

    i’ll be thinking of you all day, sending you strength and hope. take plenty of time to recover and don’t overdo it.

  2. adele says:

    Oh, Karen, I know your sister (or her cat) reads the blog sometimes, so I wondered how long it would take for the news to get on the family telegraph. Glad your mom made you feel calmer, even if it wasn’t in the classic nurturing way.

    Actually, it would be good if someone went with you. I was reading a little on stereoactic biopsies, and the good news is that you wouldn’t see the needle because, you’d be on your stomach on a raised table, boob in hole, while they do it. But you might be given something, probably a pill to relax you, and if you’re not used to tranquilizers, you might be a little groggy after. I know Keri is your younger sister, but could she or a friend go with you?

    As many of us have said, I wish we were in the same city, I’d take you, have a list of questions, and ply you with alcohol after, if you felt like it.

    Alice and I are hoping that tomorrow is but a minor annoyance, with very good news.

  3. cheray smith says:

    Did you copy that straight out of my August 1986 diary???

    Oh wait….I didn’t keep a diary….

    I found that my mother’s “care and concern” helped take my mind off the possible outcome of the biopsy….she drove me nuts and I spent much of my “worrying about cancer” time “worrying about ducking my mother’s hysterics” instead.

    Having been there myself, and looking back at my mother’s reaction, I wonder if they think back to their day and the possible outcome of a lump/biopsy then.

    We’ve come a long way baby in the last 50 years!

    You will be fine….I’m not telling you to relax….that’s not possible….but stay positive….(and hide from your mother like I did).

  4. Noel McWormald says:

    I am wondering WHY I didn’t see blog updates on my email. (Was I deleted from the roster of followers?) I am Keri, the sister who admittedly was on a verbal tear about the sad state of education in the U.S. on father’s day–it’s true.) I DO read this blog unless it’s about Anthony Bourdain (no offense to Anthony, but the “foodie” stuff’s just not in my wheelhouse). Obviously I am very concerned about this mammogram/biopsy situation! And while I know that my sister doesn’t care that her mother and I CARE or she doesn’t like the WAY we care or whatever… the truth is that we do and will be here for her when and if she needs us. (I hope she doesn’t need us and can happily continue to write mean things about us on her public blog!) I’ve had the multiple mammograms and scares as well. Not the biopsy though so I’m scared to death on Karen’s behalf!) Sad situation when strangers on a blog are more comforting than one’s own LOCAL family. Loyal followers, I’m sure you will continue to virtually help Karen in this time of need. But the real family is right here and ready to jump in if Karen needs someone to lean on in REALITY.

  5. catsworking says:

    Keri, thanks for checking in with the show of support. Much appreciated, truly. And I’m sure you didn’t mean to insult my readers. The blog is only “public” to those who read it, and that’s not as wide an audience as you may think, so never fear.

    No, I don’t have any way of deleting blog followers (that I’m aware of), so I don’t know what happened with your subscription. Occasionally, the comments of long-time readers here will suddenly start going into the blog’s spam folder for no reason. I once had 30,000 hits disappear, never to be recovered. WordPress can be quirky in a bad way.

    Just called Mum to let her know how the biopsy went, but nobody was home.

    I’ll be posting the next exciting installment on the breast cancer scare shortly. All I’ll say for now is that I think it’s OK for me to renew magazine subscriptions.

  6. Noel McWormald says:

    I didn’t mean to insult your readers of course!… but I would like you to know that your actual family isn’t as distant as you think! (Your stuff was in my spam folder indeed!) Hope you’re resting comfortably… and I’ll check in w/ you tomorrow.

  7. Sherrie says:

    I found your blog tonight when surfing for information on abnormal mammograms. I am so appreciative that you are sharing your journey.

    I got that call this evening that something on my mammogram has changed from last time and I need a repeat mammogram and ultra sound. Please continue to share it all…

    I hope you are recovering well. My thoughts are with you.

  8. zappa says:

    Karen,Zappa and I are sending you lots of purrs…virtual,maybe,but we really feel for you right now


  9. catsworking says:

    Sherri, welcome! I just posted details of the actual biopsy, and I think my results were atypical because my suspicious place is deeply embedded in a large Italian breast. For women with visible lumps, I bet stereotactic biopsy is no worse than getting a tooth filled.

    Good luck with your next round. As everyone has told me here (and studies all over the Web say) 80% of this crap is false alarms, so the odds of it being nothing are very much in your favor. Come back and let us know how it goes for you. I’m sure I and my readers will be sending you good thoughts.

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