Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.


Appointment with the Surgeon Tuesday

I guess if I'm going to tell everyone about my breast sonogram, I might as well be forthcoming about all the rest. *taking deep breath*

Let me start at the beginning of this saga. My appointment was at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday last, (Hey, I'm talking like Yoda!) but I was told to be at the hospital at 8:45 a.m. to pre-register in the outpatient stuff. Whatever. I thought, how long can it take to copy my insurance card and ask me for money I don't have? So, I didn't get in a real hurry to get there. I still made it at 8:50 a.m. but then I had to wait because the only two insurance goobs were busy with other poor schmucks who had to get some procedure done, too. They actually gave me a pager like you get at Outback Steakhouse - you know the kind that vibrate and flash red lights. This was slightly amusing, but also made me hungry for a 6-ounce filet mignon, butterflied and cooked well done. Yeah, yeah, I know they're supposed to be bloody ... but they can still be tender when they're burned. Anyway. So, the pager goes off and I go back there and sign about 50 different papers. The woman actually printed off an entire sheet of stickers with my name, the doctor's name, etc. on it to peel off and put on all these papers. I thought about asking for a few to bring home for the kids, but that seemed sort of sick. So, that actually took a while and I didn't get done until 9:25, 10 minutes after my appointment time. The clerk sends me to breast imaging.

Off I walk to breast imaging. I sit down and fill out some more papers there while Rocky 48 or whatever, the one with Mr. T, is on the TV. I just keep thinking how ironic it is to watch Rocky before I have my boob checked. Anyway. I fill out the paper, put it on the lady's desk and sit back down to try and ignore Rocky and Mr. T and read my book on how to change my eating habits. About 9:35 a.m. the same woman who did my mammogram a few weeks ago leans around the doorway to tell me I'm in the wrong place. Go across the hall to radiology, she tells me. *sigh*

Off I am again to radiology with my orders in hand. One of the cute boys from 98 degrees or some other boy band takes my information and instructs me to have a seat. Suddenly, I feel my face flushing thinking that I'm in big trouble if cutie-patootey is the one doing my breast sonogram. How embarrassing to have stiff nipples at a time like that? I try to turn away those thoughts and turn back to my book. I must be getting ADD in my old age because I have trouble tuning out all three TVs around me on different stations. Fortunately, we've lost Rocky 48, but now one TV has Movie and a Makeover featuring some female cop getting a makeover by a very light-footed young man on the TV closest to me. On the other side of the waiting room was some kid's movie like Honey I Shrunk the Mailman or something equally brain-numbing. In the other room is Fox 4 news. I decided I ought to go back to my book. So, I try to tune out the rest.

An hour later, out comes Apu from the Simpsons. He is the technologist that is going to do my sonogram. *whew* The 98 degrees boy isn't doing it. Thank Alla. He was very nice, so I should be nicer about it. But, I'm a fan of racial profiling, so what can I say? He can do my sonogram and mess with my boobs, just don't get on an airplane with me and we'll all be fine. Back to my boob. I go put on another one of those godforsaken gowns that don't cover both boobs. I know my D cups are big and all, but they're supposed to be one size fits most. I'm not THAT big yet. So, I sit there and struggle to keep the non-"abnormal results" boob covered up. I lay down and he gets out the sonogram goo. Thank God the industry has made strides since my last sonogram almost two years ago now and it was not cold! He and I joked about the technology of heating the medium and then he showed me on the monitor what he was looking at - the top of my skin, the fat layers and the muscle. Then, he is roaming around and checking stuff out and there it is. Something that doesn't look right. A big black almond shaped thing. I can tell it doesn't belong because he keeps going back to it. He snaps a screenshot of it like my husband would do with a great game score in some shoot'em'up game online. Then, he goes back and measures it. 24x65. I'm thinking OHMIGOD, that must be huge. But, then I looked at CMs on my kid's ruler and decided that even MY boobs aren't THAT big. So, I have no idea what measurement tool he used, but it still seemed freaking huge to me. He scans around and takes multiple pics of the thing from different angles.

We're done. But he tells me not to get dressed until he shows the pictures to the radiologist to make sure he is satisfied with the images. He warns me that the radiologist may come in there, but he doesn't know for sure. So, then, I sit and wait in the semi-darkened room thinking about all the worst case scenarios. I've got breast cancer - like my mom - or maybe it is just a little cyst that can be drained. But, surely it has to be awful or he wouldn't go show the radiologist, right? 65 is a big number, it must be huge, right? It has to be huge or he wouldn't be showing the doctor? All of these thoughts race through my mind. I start to fight back the tears that I feel are right behind my eyes, shoving nerves, tissue, retina, whatever is in my eye out of the way to pour out of the ducts. Nope, it may be nothing. But, it is something. I'm starting to think more and more about how much I love my stretch-marked breasts. My left breast hurts now. Is it psychosomatic or did it hurt before? The more I think about it, the more I think it has been sore, but I've ignored it attributing it to too much caffeine. But, now I notice it more.

Apu (I don't think that is his real name, but it may be) returns and says the radiologist is satisfied with the images and a report will be sent to my doctor on Monday. So, I get to stress all day Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Lovely.

I call the doctor's office Monday morning and leave a message for Priscilla, the British nurse. She is fabulous. She calls me back and tells me Dr. Tovar is on vacation till Thursday. My heart sinks at this news. But, she says, there is no report there yet and not to anticipate hearing anything and take it as 'no news is good news' approach. Easier said than done, I thinking. Then, she says, I know that is easier said than done. But, I'll keep an eye out for the fax from radiology and I'll have one of the other doctors look at it if it warrants it and then we'll call you. So, I labor under the no news theory.

Then, the phone rings a couple of hours later. North Texas OB/GYN on the caller ID. My heart jumps out of my chest and the anxiety takes its place within the empty cavity. Hi, this is Priscilla at Dr. Tovar's office, she says. Just spit it out, I'm thinking. The lump is not a simple cyst, she says, but probably a complex cyst. In American English woman ... what does that mean, I ask her. Well, she says, it is still abnormal with no clear diagnosis. It could be any number of things from a fluid-filled pocket to dead cells. The report says it is less likely to be malignant. Ok, now THAT I can understand. Less likely to be malignant. I let that part reverberate through my head. So, what happens now, I ask. Well, I'll hold on to this till Dr. Tovar returns from vacation to show him. He typically sends women to the surgeon for a biopsy in these instances, she says. Great. That was just what I was hoping to hear.

Wednesday, while I'm at Chuck E Cheese with my children, I get a call from Priscilla again. One of the other doctors has looked at the report and wants me to call the surgeon for a consult. Here goes the worst case scenario through my head again. Oh God, it must be awful if one of the other doctors has her call me and schedule this. So, I call the surgeon's office. I tell her that I had an abnormal mammogram and sonogram and my doctor referred me to the surgeon. Sept. 7 is the first available date we have, the receptionist tells me. You've got to be kidding? I have a lump in my boob and you're going to make me wait till Sept. 7 to have it looked at? Is there no way to get in sooner? I'm sorry to be rude to you, but this is stressing me out a little bit and I'd like to have it taken care of sooner rather than later. So, she asks me if I've had a sonogram or mammogram yet. After I'm done rolling my eyes and thanking God that I'm not there in person to wrap my hands around this woman's throat, I tell her yes, both were abnormal. So, she tells me she'll talk to a nurse and get back to me. To my shock, she actually called back 30 minutes later to tell me that the doctor's associate can see me Tuesday Aug. 10. Now THAT sounds a little better to me. No biopsy on that day. Thank God, I can put that off for a while.

So, now, we're all caught up. Hopefully I'll know something more on Tuesday. But, I am not going to hold my breath. I'm sure he'll say something about it being abnormal and requires further study. *sigh*


  • At 10:42 AM, November 03, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have one or two for you...first an oncologists office made a mistake on my chart and put "Breast Cancer:Malignent" (is that how you spell it?) They freaked...I forgave them...on to other tests so my radiologist could send me back to my doctors with ONE boob Magnified! I go to another Radiologist today because Doctors need TWO boobs to compare in order to see what the LUMP IS!!!
    How's that for the state of California and its fantastic
    health care! Should be a fun day!

  • At 10:55 AM, October 08, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just got the call a few minutes ago that I have to have one breast remammogramed and a sonogram. I woke up this morning feeling great. They gave me a new mask for my sleep apnea and it worked better. So I'm feeling great that maybe I'll finally get my sleep and the hospital calls. I went on line and found this delightfully written piece and it helped me related to how we get really nervous about all of this. The article helped me. Now I'm going to turn my computer off and crochet some more of the cat rugs I make for the stray cats they adopt out. Thank you for writing your has given me another womans episode and it will help me relax. I only have to wait a few days to get the retest. Atleast it is sunny out. thanks,Gail Goodman

  • At 11:16 AM, October 08, 2009, Blogger Army of Mom said…

    Good luck Gail. I'm glad it helped you feel a little better about things.

  • At 9:12 AM, October 27, 2009, Blogger Denice said…

    I had my mamogram on the 9th of October. On the 13th I got the dreaded telephone call that I need to have my left breast remamogramed and most likely a sonogram. I am scared to death. My mother died of breast cancer at 61, which I will turn in just a few days. I was told to call Baylor to setup the appointment. Baylor said I could get in on October 27th, today. I could not believe I would have to wait 2 weeks. I setup the appointment and then called back and ask for any cancellation that they might come up with. I was told that never happens and she was right, they never called with one. Anyway, I will go this afternoon and I was hoping the nightmare would end today. Now that I have read your comments, I am not so sure it will. They don't seem to understand the turmoil it causes to get this kind of news or how long two weeks can be. Thank you for writing. It helps to know you are out there. Good luck to both of you.

  • At 4:40 PM, October 31, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm not too sure when Army of Mom's sonogram took place. Has she had a biopsy yet? Has there been a determination as to the nature of the suspicious finding? On Thursday, Oct 29th I had a sonogram that confirmed the findings of a mamogram. A suspicious spot was found on my right breast. The radiologist was requesting a biopsy. She called my doctor and I was going to see him immediately until he had to leave for a birth. Now I can't see him until Monday. I'm sort of stressing a little about this but not much. In my case the radiologist said the suspicious spot was less than a centimeter and it seems there is a good outcome for cancers of that size in general. The issue here is having to deal with doctors and hospitals which Ireally don't like much. Who does? Blah. One of the bumps on the road of life.


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