I had my MRI on Monday. It was not much fun, but it was all right. I was working on a quilt for my best friend's unborn daughter, and managed to finish it while I was waiting, which was pretty cool. I was able to give it to her later that day - my first quilt for her first child! Then said friend arrived in town and we went to... My bridal shower! We helped with some little things getting ready (my wonderful aunt and mom had pretty much pulled it together), and while we were doing that, I got a call from the radiologist saying that the MRI was all normal. Hooray! What a reason to party! And party we did: I felt completely showered with love and blessings, spending the evening with some of my favorite ladies in Rochester. My heart felt like it might burst by the end of the evening.
Then today I had my appointment with the nurse, as well as a mammogram. I was feeling much less anxious about this after my good news on Monday, until last night, when I said aloud to Michael, "Well the reason I have to have both scans is that they pick up different things." And suddenly I realized: oh, the clear MRI is really no consolation.
Still, I went in with high spirits. Michael had planned to take a personal day today anyway, so we went together, and he drove. We planned on a brief visit - two hours tops. After my mammogram, I ended up waiting more than half an hour, growing increasingly anxious. If it was clear, they'd look at it and know. Last time it took a while, it was bad. But I just kept reading my magazine, resolving not to worry until I knew there was something to worry about. The tech came back and said I have a lot of history to look through, so it was taking a while. Then they wanted more pictures. Then I went to another room to wait, then was told the doctor wanted to see me. Uh oh.
Turns out, I have yet more calcifications in the same breast, which is what originally alerted them to a problem back in July. It's in the area that they biopsied several times before and finally only found atypical hyperplasia...and now there is more of what looks like the same, but they can't be sure. So I had an ultrasound. (My friends were just talking about baby ultrasounds - this is far less cool.) But they still couldn't be sure, so the doctor wanted to do a biopsy - that's #5 for me, folks. Someone jokingly asked if I brought my punch card, so I could get my free one soon. While I waited, Dr. Skinner stopped by to check in with me. It was fun to see her! We gave her a save-the-date for our wedding, as well as one of the nurses - both were very touched. We told her about the terrible experience with the plastic surgeon. She said, "He's a very good surgeon, but he is young, and needs to learn how to be with patients. I'll talk to him." Good.
So, I had the biopsy. They were very sympathetic ("I was hoping we wouldn't be seeing you again!" Yeah me too...) and I was reminded how much I like the people in the breast care center. They are so kind and caring. I've been very lucky with my care there. And now Nurse Michael has been taking care of me. So much for going back to work today, though I have done a lot of reading at least. I skipped out on three meetings tonight, as I figured that didn't fall under the category of "take it easy the rest of the day." Of course I feel bad about that, but what am I supposed to do?
Dr. Skinner told me, "Try not to be too anxious about this. It could very well be nothing." I said I'm less anxious than I am mad. Again. This is stupid. It sucks, frankly. All I could think as I was lying face down on that darn table ("just hanging out," as Dr. Skinner said), facing the wall, was: I'm getting married four months from today, and I want to look pretty in my wedding dress. I started imagining if I have to get a mastectomy sooner than I planned, and how that would work with my dress, and whether we'd have to move the wedding or what. All of this thought process was quite calm, under the circumstances - again, I don't know anything yet, so no need to get my undies in a bundle quite yet. But I did shed a few tears that only the wall could see. I'm feeling resentful. Do I wish I'd just gotten the mastectomy? No, not really. Do I see why people would, if this comes up every stinkin' time they go to the doctor? Definitely. Does this change my earlier non-decision to wait until something else happens before doing something so drastic as getting a bilateral mastectomy? Not sure yet. I guess I'll wait until Friday to answer that, when I will hopefully have some results. I actually feel pretty okay about this, not expecting the worst at all. But if it is the worse, well, then we'll cross that bridge then. I'm just going to live right now, today, and not think too much about it.
Radiation therapy: the gift that keeps on giving.