Tuesday, February 14, 2017

They Found a Lump??!!??

This all began with my very first routine screening mammogram on December 22, 2016.  Nothing out of the ordinary...never felt anything...just the "you're 40 now and need a mammo" mammogram. The tech was very friendly and explained everything she was going to do.  She also explained to me that as a first timer, I would not have anything for the radiologist to compare to so I shouldn't be surprised if I received a call back asking for more images.  She assured me that most of the time it was nothing. 

Sure enough, I received a call back within a few days asking me to come back for more images.  The imaging center couldn't get me in for almost a month....I figured that definitely signified that this was nothing to worry about.

On January 18, 2017, I went back to the imaging center. The plan was to be in-and-out in under an hour because I had lunch plans with some girlfriends that afternoon.  I walked in and the same tech was in the room. As she was setting-up, she started explaining how they just wanted images of my left breast.  This was the first twinge of nervousness I felt. After the images, she had me wait saying:  "I'm just going to show these to the radiologist.  If he is okay with them, you are free to go.  If he wants more, you'll get an ultrasound."

Within a few minutes, another tech came and got me for an ultrasound.  "Ummm....so...he saw something?", I asked.  She responded: "Oh, yes, we want a closer look. But, don't worry, Dr ____ is great about talking to patients.  He will come in when we are done and talk to you."

I tried to act cool, but I was feeling a little confused.  The room was darkened and I was told to lay on the table with my left arm above my head.  She rolled the wand all around my left breast concentrating what seemed like forever on my armpit.  As a nurse, my mind started clicking away at everything I knew about lymph node locations.  I could not see the screen where I was positioned so I stared at the ceiling while the speaker played "Hotel California". I remember thinking what an odd song that was for this office.  Anyway....

Moments later, the radiologist walks in.  He takes my hand in both of his and gives me this very sad and concerned look........pretty sure, my heart stopped for a moment.  

Long story short, he told me he found a 3cm lesion that was "very unusual in someone my age" and "very concerning" and "needs to be biopsied and removed" and "it's VERY concerning" and  then the two-handed handshake again and "I'm so sorry."

I was further informed that a biopsy appointment would probably take 2 weeks and results another week after that. But, he threw in "it's a slow growing kind, so it's okay. Don't worry".  It didn't seem "okay" to me, but everything was a bit foggy at the moment and i really just wanted to get outside.

I made it out to my car.  I shakily picked up my phone and called my mother....the tears started before she answered and it took me a few minutes to gain control.  She called my Dad who turned around and called me right back. My girlfriends insisted that I still needed to come to lunch.  Within a couple of hours, my brother and grandmother knew and my OBGYN (my referring physician) had called me because he had received a message from the imaging center.  

I picked up my son after school and told him the news.  He is 14 and such a calm, even-tempered kiddo.  His response was quiet and full of wisdom:  "Well, Mom, there's nothing worrying is going to do.  All we can do is pray and trust that it'll be okay.  You're young and healthy, it'll be fine."  He was right about the worrying, of course,  but it is definitely easier said than done.

That night, I posted what had happened on Facebook asking my friends and family for prayer support.  Needless to say, I didn't sleep much.  The next morning I got up and went to work in a fog.  As soon as the Breast Center opened, I called to get scheduled for a biopsy. They were busy and were not sure when my report would be read and approved by the radiologist.  There are many blessings in my job as a nurse....one being the close proximity to the Breast Center, the physicians, and being a part of the hospital family.  My friends helped me (and thanks to a patient who cancelled), my biopsy was scheduled the next day.  

Immediately, a small sense of relief washed over me.  I'm a planner.  If I have a plan, I can deal. Now, a plan was forming....get the biopsy, get the results, get moving.

My amazing coworkers rallied behind me and sent me home that night with a sweet card and a goodie bag of snacks, candy, a candle, puzzle book, etc.  I am so blessed to be back "home" in my NICU.

I'll tell you what to expect with the biopsy (or at least how mine went) in a separate post.

Ready for the biopsy....get used to pink gowns, you wear them a lot!
12/22/16  Routine Screening Mammogram

01/18/17  Repeat Imaging and US of left breast; LUMP found.
01/20/17  Core Needle Biopsy

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