March 27, 2008

More than nothing but less than something.

Today I feel compelled to turn away from knitting (only momentarily I assure you) to tell you a little story about my breast.

Back in January I had a mammogram as I do every January. About a week later they called and said they wanted to take another, closer look at the left breast. They detected small calcifications that were pointed out on the digital image. To me, the biggest of the group looked smaller than a grain of rice. It’s nothing I thought. A damn nuisance this whole procedure, I mumbled to myself.

A few weeks after that I ended up having a needle biopsy and let me tell you that was no walk in the park. I layed on my stomach on a table and was raised up like an old car at the auto shop. My breast fell through a hole and they worked on me from below, just like auto mechanics. My breast came out sore and bruised. Now there was a lump where before there had been none. Just a blood clot they assured me.

Thinking that was the end of it, they called with the results. There were suspicious cells and they wanted to surgically remove those cells and the surrounding tissue. A bigger sample would give them a better idea of what we were dealing with. They still weren’t using the c-word.

At this point I balked a bit. I was getting a little scared. They were going to remove a chunk of my breast now. I didn’t feel like enduring another uncomfortable and (in my opinion) bungled and possibly unnecessary biopsy. Reluctantly, petulantly I agreed and my last words to the surgeon were “Don’t mangle my breast.” It’s still nothing.

Well yesterday I learned the pathology results from that surgery. It’s more than nothing but less than something. Apparently the cells have the potential to develop into cancer and I will most likely be given a hormone, Tamoxifen, to prevent that from happening.

More than nothing but less than something, the woman on the other end tried to reassure me. Was she a nurse? I don’t remember. I was stunned.

I think I’m in denial. I continue to believe it’s nothing. I want to know: How can this be happening to me? There’s no family history. Cancer just doesn’t happen in our family. Never has as far as I know. Cancer is an abstract concept. It happens to other people but not to me.

Perhaps this explains my affinity for pink.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Denial is, after all, a survival mechanism. Looks as if this has been detected early enough to make a real difference in the outcome. This is one area where the doctors seem to be making some real progress. Stay positive.

My Mammogram is scheduled for Monday.