The Next Chapter

A couple of posts back I wrote about my “AB-normal” mammogram and the frenzied followup, complete with additional mammogram pictures and sonogram of my right breast. I left you all hanging with a suggested MRI looming for me in the very near future. As you recalled I had thought it over and decided to “tap the brakes” in regards to further diagnostic testing until my oncologist weighed in on the whole drama.

My appointment with the oncologist took place two weeks ago. It was actually 12 days ago because my life is a bit on the crazy side with work, awareness activities and writing. After all it was the month of March and my schedule was even more complex than usual. Dozens of moving pieces making it impossible to plan even the simplest of things like a doctor's appointment. Two days before my scheduled visit I was forced to make a choice in my crazy schedule and something had to give. I called the Cancer Center to see what, if any, options for moving my appointment to later in the day existed. There were none, but just as we were about to look at his booked out schedule a cancellation for the very next Monday occurred allowing me to take the coveted spot. Ten o’clock with a port flush to follow. I let my family and friends know the newly appointed time. My husband was a bit disappointed as he had wanted to attend with me and the new time and date were simply going to be difficult to manage. I assured him this was no big deal and that I could go it alone. After all, this was not my first rodeo by any means. This was a followup appointment and I had no reason to treat it as anything more. Even if my oncologist felt that I needed extra investigation into the “boob drama” it would take several days to get tested and then have an additional visit to discuss results. My husband and I have a policy of sorts about my appointments when it comes to my cancer. If the visit is simply routine than I can go it alone, but if there are going to be test results of any kind given then I needed him, or somebody like my daughter or bests, along with me. There would be no results this day, I assured him I could fly solo on this one. 

I arose on Monday morning, showered and dressed for my work day. I actually headed over to the Cancer Center early on the outside chance they could get me in early. I fixed myself a coffee for the drive over after toying with and dismissing the idea of stopping for Starbucks. I have Keurig and it’s almost as good...almost. I kenneled my pooches, slung my computer backpack over my left shoulder and stuffed my calendar and trusty blue notebook in my purse. After searching for my car keys for about five minutes I located them on the kitchen counter right where I had absently tossed them the evening before slid up under a stack of mail. Typical behavior for me. I got myself settled in the car and used my commute time to answer a few work phone calls that had come in just as I was leaving my house. With my work mischief managed, I turned into the drive that runs in front of the Cancer Center and was greeted by the security guard that was operating as a gate keeper for the attached parking garage. I rolled down my window, said hello and told him I had an appointment. He glanced at my work badge with a dubious glare. I was prepared for that and whipped out my appointment papers. He let me pass after looking them over. I found a parking spot on the second level and opted to take the stairs in lieu of the elevator. I about ran the security guard over as I exited the stairwell. He seemed surprised to see me again so quickly and I could feel him watching me as I headed in the direction of the Heritage Building. I am sure he was making sure I wasn’t trying to pull one over on him and sneak over to the hospital. I passed through the lobby and took the elevator to the fourth floor which is occupied in it’s entirety by oncology services. I checked in at the desk, took my med list and a pager and went directly to the business office to pay my “cover charge” of $40. I then made my way to seat in the waiting room which was two thirds full. I waited and waited texting my sister to pass the time. After 45 minutes the pager in my lap finally buzzed. I gathered my things and followed the MA back to get weighed and loaded into a room. She made the necessary adjustments to my med list in the computer and left me alone to wait for the doctor. 

The door to the little exam room that I was waiting in slid open and my grinning doctor entered wearing one of his famous plaid shirts. I have takes to referring to him as “plaid shirt” over the last year. I’ve never seen the same one twice either. Just sayin. Anyway, he reviews my latest visit to Houston with me and says how pleased he is with my wellbeing. I thank him and then inform him there may be a hiccup in my current state of wellness. I relay to him the whole mammogram saga and he listens intently to every word, smiling when I tell him that I had put on the brakes for furthering testing unless he thought I needed it. He then picks up the phone, dials a four digit extension. When his call is answered he requests my testing films and reports from the Women’s Center. I hear the voice on the line say “Yes sir.” After he requests the reports he beckons me to the exam table where he listens to my lungs. He then deeply palpates my armpits carefully feeling for lymph nodes. He then excuses himself telling me he is going to look at all the information he requested and talk to the radiologist and that he would be back in “a minute”. I wait 15 minutes. I text my husband telling him what had happened so far. My sister too...reporting the blow by blow so I felt like I was not waiting alone. Just as I am beginning to think maybe this “boob thing” was serious the door slides open and he steps back inside. I realize I am about to get “results” alone but before I can process what that means he starts to talk. He prefaces the whole thing by reminding me that a PET scan has no diagnostic value in breast cancer diagnosis and it’s why having a yearly mammogram remains important for me. “Okay.” I say. “Oh shit!” I think. Then he quickly waylays my fears and informs me that after reviewing all my tests he feels there is no reason to do an MRI. There is a density in my right breast that was identified but the testing that I had was an adequate assurance that it was not cancerous in nature. Just as I had suspected, the radiologist reading my tests was simply being over cautious because I am “cancer girl”. No need to raise the dread alarm, although I do like that I am being watched so closely. “Plaid Shirt” then dismissed me until December after reviewing my follow up schedule with Houston, assuring me that I could call him anytime I needed him and he would see me. 

So, now you know how all the mammogram drama played out. Next stop, Houston in July. Undoubtedly, I will have plenty of life to write about between now and then. This was simply the next chapter :)

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YESSS!!!
Stay well!!
Laurie, Michele like this comment
Thank goodness! What a relief! Caution is good...but what a weight to carry in the meantime! *hugs* And so happy for your great news!
Michele likes this comment
Good deal. One less thing to even think about!
Michele likes this comment
Wow! I know that was an emotional day for you. Prayers for good news always!
Michele likes this comment
Whew! So glad you decided to wait until you could check with the oncologist!
Michele likes this comment
Hallelujah! So happy that it turned out to be only dense breasts..
Michele likes this comment
Such good news! This "cancer girl" is also being watched closely by her med onc--that little thingy in my liver--which, if it was cancer, I don't think I'd be typing this comment right now. :) However, it's good that your docs are staying vigilant--and mine too--but the stress it puts us through is certainly no fun! I'm so happy you are doing well, my dear friend! Hugs!
Michele likes this comment
You had me scared I had to read ahead... Michele you have the best Easter ever...I pray for you every day my friend.. big hugs and love and always prayers Sabina
Michele likes this comment
Great news, Michelle. Now go back and get that Starbucks and have a well deserved mellow moment.
Michele likes this comment
Happy news!
Michele likes this comment
Great news! So relieved for you.
Michele likes this comment
Super great news Michelle, I can just imagine what a roller coaster ride the waiting must of been. Take care and STAY well :)
Michele likes this comment
Good to hear, Michele!
Michele likes this comment
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Vital Info

Posts

October 3, 2011

Click Here

January 31, 1963

Cancer Info

Anal Cancer

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the anus

February 5, 2010

Stage 4

2.1 - 3.0 cm

Grade 3

No

As much as possible

Proceeds from my published blog donated monthly

It is a thief

You have to live every day of your life and stay positive :)

Donate $$ to the anal cancer foundation. Raising awareness saves lives!

Is there anything good about poison?

Bone, lung recurrence 9/20/2012

Cancer Center of Kansas, MD Anderson

Bland diet, sitz baths, take your drugs...nobody gets extra credit for suffering.

Talk, talk, talk to somebody. I chose to write.

April 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Rectal bleeding, itching, sciatic pain. (thought my hemorhoid was acting up)

My blog has been published and proceeds go to The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation. http://tinyurl.com/72bjjfp

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