I'm watching our local NBC affiliate's news program when the co-anchor reminds viewers that "it's 'Buddy Check Day.' Call your buddy and remind them to do a breast self-exam." Nice public service statement. They do it every tenth of the month. Okay, I wasn't really doing anything anyway, I was alone so I thought 'why not?' I 'assumed the position' of left hand behind the head, right hand on the 'boobie' and circle the entire area with my fingertips. Nada. Nothing. Just as I suspected. As I began the same movements with my left hand to my right breast, something felt strange. Hey, wait a minute. Am I actually feeling a lump? No. Can't be. Probably just imagining it. Drama momma and all that. But dammit, something is definitely 'not right.'
The next morning, I called my doctor and in typical fashion I started with, "This may not be anything, and I'm probably just wasting your time but is there any way I could come and get a breast exam? I think I found a lump."
"Come right on in." the receptionist said. Wow, I thought, they must not be busy at all today--or they need the business. Either way, lucky me!
In the exam room, the nurse practioner asked me all the routine questions. No, I don't have any family history of cancer. Yes, I get a mammogram every year--well, not for the past two years but I'm pretty good about self-exams so not getting screened for two years isn't that bad, right?
After a rather prolonged and might I say thorough exam, the NP said, "I definitely feel something but I'm not sure. May not be anything but I'm going to schedule you for a diagnostic mammogram." Okay. No big deal. Any good doctor or NP would do the same thing. So I got dressed and waited at 'check-out' while the staff made my appointment. After about fifteen minutes the receptionist handed me a card and said, "You're scheduled for a mammogram at Tennova Imaging for this Friday." Great, I thought. I'm going to have a mammogram that could change my life on FRIDAY the 13TH! Wouldn't you know it?
Woke up that morning, did all the prep work I was allowed to do pre-mammogram (no lotions, powders or deodorant) and proceeded to drive--in the pouring rain--to the medical center. I arrived, checked in, gave all the routine info and waited in their lobby which just so happens to be named the "Peyton and Ashley Manning Center." For some reason, knowing the couple had made a donation to make a difference in people's lives made me feel better...and I'm a #18 fan.
The mammogram led to an ultrasound which led to the confirmation of a lump in my right breast and the discovery of one under my right arm so small it wouldn't have been felt in a self-exam for a long time. Wouldn't you just know it? What a Friday the 13th I was having!
On second thought, it might turn out to be the luckiest day of my life.
Next week, I am scheduled for two biopsies. My right beast 'gets a needle' and so does the area under my right arm. I'm a little scared. I'm also pretty much alone in this. Support from friends/family will be minimum at best and I know it. Besides, conversing about this with the blogging universe will give me all I'll need. Everything will be alright, right?
Now comes the first in what promises to be a series of "waits." I have to wait for the biopsies to be done, then wait for the results, wait for a consultation and so on. If you don't have anything else to do, want to wait with me?