The Waiting is the Hardest Part

7 Mar

So here we are. Me, back to telling the story and you, all sobered up (with possibly a slight hangover).

When we last left my boobs (put that drink down, the game is over) they were waiting over the weekend to get poked so a biopsy could be done. It was a stressful weekend in which I spoke with my oldest friend (ok, he’s not my oldest friend as he’s just 6 months older than me), uh longest friend (well, he’s not exceptionally tall or long), whatever. His name is Andrew and I told him what was happening and cried (hate admitting that as it makes me feel weak). It’s just waiting to have a biopsy over the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, when you have no family around and you’re leaving town for 4 months in less than a week well, it can be a bit stressful. Andrew was planning to spend Thanksgiving with his husband’s family in Boston. He immediately wanted to fly me out to be with them. While I would have loved nothing better, I was due to fly out to work 2 days after that and had to get myself and my house ready. What to do?

I called my boss, explained the situation and was told I could return to work a week late. Andrew booked me a ticket to Boston and before you can say Colonel Sanders, Thanksgiving plans were made. Now, I just had to find out if I had cancer.

Monday morning came and I drove myself to the imaging center. After taking off my shirt and being led out of the waiting area I was asked to lie down on a table that sort of looked like a massage table. The only difference was that the hole was not where my face was, but where my breast was. Oh, and there was no scent of lavender and no new age music playing. And her technique left much to be desired.

After a needle or two in my breast to numb it (sounds worse than it was), the tech did another mammogram squeeze (she really needs to start buying me a drink first) and the doctor did her stuff. I can’t really say what that was as my boob was numb and the table blocked my view. Some pressure and every once in a while a sound resembling well, a vibrator (from what I’m told, anyway). They’ve told me that they will be inserting a tiny piece of titanium to mark the location. Wow, I’ll have a bionic boob. I wonder what special powers it will have (as most women know, nearly every woman’s breasts have the special power of making men stupid). I am assured that I won’t set off airport metal detectors (darn, I could have had some fun with that). Within an hour or so I’m up with a little piece of gauze and a band-aid covering the spot on the bottom of my right breast. Now, as Tom Petty said, ‘The Waiting is the Hardest Part.’

I leave and head straight over to my friend Tandy’s to pick her up. We’re going to the hospital to visit our friend BreAnn who had successful surgery to remove her brain tumor. I pull up at Tandy’s place and she explains that her dog, who is up in age, has had a seizure this morning and, when her boyfriend  called the vet, he was asked if he wanted to bring the dog in to have him euthanized. So, let me sum this up: I just had a biopsy to see if I have breast cancer, Tandy’s dog may be dying (he did later that week) and we’re going to the hospital to visit our friend who just had a brain tumor removed. From the sublime to the ridiculous as they say. Not surprisingly, Tandy and I drove to the hospital, both hidden behind sunglasses to hide our red eyes. So pitiful, I found it funny.

Our visit with Bre was probably the lightest part of the day as she was just excited that she was able to put on underwear that day. We gave her our get well card, written on some Mickey Mouse ears, a few comfort items and had a little party in ICU.

Two days later I left for Boston. This was the day we hoped the biopsy results would be back. You’d think it would be the longest plane ride of my life but I was truly hoping for the plane not to land as I was sure there would be a message from the doctor. When I finally landed there was only a message from Andrew saying that they were caught on traffic and would be late. Not great news as we had hoped to be together when I got the results.

Soon after checking in to the hotel, my phone rang. From the caller ID I knew it was the doctor. I took a seat, and a breath, and calmly answered. The doctor said that the first thing she wanted to tell me was that it was not cancer. I exhaled for what seemed like the first time in five days. She went on to tell me it was called an Intraductal Papilloma (I don’t mean to get technical here, but I’m hoping my experience can help others who may have questions). It’s basically a wart-like growth (very glamorous) in the milk duct. I was told that surgery was recommended. What? I mean, I didn’t even know it was there until it showed up in a mammogram. Two doctors had felt me up and noticed nothing. I was told that even though the biopsy came back benign, there was a very small chance that this thing was hiding a cancer. Are you kidding me??? I decided to be thankful for current negative results and enjoy the holiday.

After an amazing holiday I returned home on the day I was supposed to head back to work. As I didn’t plan to be home to see Christmas lights, this time was a gift. You see, while I am officially a Jewish girl, my favorite holiday is Christmas. I love the music, I love the lights, I love the feeling of peace on earth and goodwill towards men. I spent the week watching traditional holiday specials and going out with BreAnn to see Christmas lights. In that week she and I had some wonderful meals during which we discussed life and death, cancer treatments and wishes for when we died. It turns out, we both want to be cremated. I will donate my organs and then have my ashes spread over the Angel’s Landing hiking trail in Zion National Park. Come visit me. Bre, well, she wasn’t sure where she wanted her ashes scattered. “C’mon Bre,” I said. “You don’t want to end up sitting on someone’s mantel.” I know, it sounds really depressing but it wasn’t. It was a very special time. We also talked about fear. BreAnn had chosen to stop treatments and try to get her body stronger after the chemo had taken so much out of her. I asked if she was afraid. She said that she had a moment each day in which she panicked. So, perhaps the waiting isn’t always the hardest part. Sometimes the hardest part is after the results come in.

Still to come – we fast forward the time machine to last weekend. Read it in, “Decisions – Life, Death and Shoes”


One Response to “The Waiting is the Hardest Part”


  1. Getting It Off My Chest | My Own Adventure - October 10, 2013

    […] Short drinking interlude. In fact, let’s make this a drinking game. Read this post again and, every time I use the word ‘boob’ (if you’re really thirsty you can also drink at ‘breast.’ Not a lot of rules in this game), take a drink. I will continue this tomorrow once you’re sober. You can read it in, “The Waiting is the Hardest Part.” […]

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